Going Paperless: 3 Ways I Capture Where I’ve Been with Evernote

Last October, I posted my framework for searching in Evernote. The framework illustrated the four most common questions I ask when I’m trying to find something in Evernote: who, what, when, where. If you haven’t seen the framework, here is the high-level illustration from that post:

Evernote Search

I’ve talked about how I use tags for the “who”, and the date fields in Evernote for the “when.” I’ve talked about how I title my notes, which helps me find the “what.” But I haven’t written much on the “where” part of the question, so I thought today, I’d provide 3 ways I capture where I’ve been using Evernote.

1. Automatically capture location with location services

Every note in Evernote has a “Location” field. If you have location services enabled on your device, the location where the note is created is captured automatically as part of the note. I have location services enabled on my iPhone, iPad, and my iMac at home. When I’m traveling and using my iPhone or iPad, notes that I create automatically get a location based on where I happen to be at the time. For instance, last summer, when I was in San Antonio for the World Science Fiction convention, I notes I created all automatically received a location:

Evernote Location

Location is actually captured as a set of latitude and longitude coordinates. Evernote will then look up those coordinates for a location and try to make the best possible match. On the back end, however, the data is stored as the actual coordinates. This is useful because you can use Evernote’s Almanac feature to see where your notes have been created on a map. When I looked at my Atlas this morning, here is how it looked:

Evernote Atlas

By clicking on any of those location, I can drill down into the set of notes that were captured in that location. So far, it looks as if about 1,100 notes have a location, out of a little more than 8,100 notes total.

The Evernote Atlas will also organize the notes by location in neat little blocks, like this:

Evernote Atlas Groups

You can also use the Search bar to search by location. It is even easier on a Mac, where you can type plain English searches like “Notes from Chicago” to find all of the notes created in Chicago:

Notes Location Search

Manually add a location to a note

Sometimes, you may create a note for which no location is captured, but for which you want to add a location manually. To add a location manually to Evernote you need the latitude and longitude coordinates of the location. It is actually pretty easy to get this information using Google Maps. Let me give an example. I work near the Pentagon City mall. Suppose I wanted to add a location to a note for the Pentagon City Mall. Here’s what I’d do.

  1. Go to Google Maps and search for Pentagon City Mall.
  2. Right click on the part of the map for which you want the coordinates.
  3. Click the What’s here? option on the popup menu.
  4. The coordinates will appear at the bottom of the information box for that location. Copy the coordinates.
  5. Open the note in Evernote, and go to the Location field.
  6. Paste the coordinates into the Location field.

Getting Coordinates

Now, when I look at the note, I see that Evernote’s translates the coordinates into a location:

Location Info Result

2. Automatically send Foursquare check-ins to Evernote with IFTTT

Sometimes, I just want to remember that I was at a place, for one reason or another. I like capturing this information on in my Timeline notebook, where I keep odds and ends that don’t fit anywhere else. Maybe it’s a restaurant, maybe it’s a museum, and maybe it’s someplace I just want to remember the name of later.

I will check-in to the location using Foursquare. I do this because it is quick and easy. It takes just a few seconds to do this from my iPhone. Foursquare usually figures out exactly where I am, and all I have to do is click “Check In.”

I have an IFTTT recipe that sends all of my Foursquare check-ins to Evernote automatically. I don’t have to take any additional action. I just check into Foursquare, and a few minutes later, the note appears in Evernote. Here is what a Foursquare check-in looks like in Evernote:

Foursquare check-in

This does not fill in the Location field in Evernote, so these notes won’t show up on the Atlas unless I manually add the location, but these notes also serve a different purpose from notes I want to be able to see on a map. Also, since all of these posts are tagged “Foursquare”, I have an easy way of narrowing them down to find what I am looking for when I need it.

Here is the recipe I use to send my Foursquare check-ins to Evernote:

IFTTT Recipe: Capture check-ins on foursquare in Evernote connects foursquare to evernote

3. Automatically capture where I’ve driven in Evernote with my Automatic Link and IFTTT

Back in May, I wrote a post on how I use my Automatic Link and IFTTT to capture my business mileage in Evernote. A nice little side-effect of this automation is that I can see where I’ve driven, and when. And I even get nice little maps that show the route I drove: Automatic Link

You can check out the post from a few weeks ago to see how I have automated this, but I’ll include the IFTTT recipe below for easy access: IFTTT Recipe: Track all business trips in Evernote. connects automatic to evernote

These are a few of the ways I remember where I’ve been with Evernote. Have suggestions for other ways of remembering where you’ve been? Drop them in the comments.

If you have a suggestion for a future Going Paperless post, let me know. Send it to me at feedback [at] jamietoddrubin.com. As always, this post and all of my Going Paperless posts is also available on Pinterest.

Last week’s post: 10 Ways I Used Evernote to Plan and Track our Kitchen Remodel.

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  1. I use Placeme app on my iPhone. It creates a daily note with a list of the locations I’ve been in (and at what exact time) and also adds links to all the new notes I created during that time. This is very useful for logging what I was doing every day. The only problem is that it is battery intensive.

    I also start exploring IdeaPlaces – this app lets you change/add/edit the location data of your notes (on a map) and also create location based reminders for your notes.

    1. Amir, thanks for the IdeaPlaces mention.
      We’ve build IdeaPlaces to give Evernote users a whole new dimension to their notes, the place. IdeaPlaces maps out all of your Evernote notes with location info and instantly makes them searchable by the context of place (eg. the name of the place instead of the address).
      The app automatically detects the place you’re currently in using the Foursquare API and links your notes with it and much more.

      Here is a whole feature list on the Evernote forum discussion: http://goo.gl/nqbM0q
      or the AppStore:


  2. The Mac Desktop version of Evernote will let you input an address for the location and perform the geolocation for you, instead of having to input lat/lon coordinates. It’s also exposed to AppleScript, so I’ll often search all notes with a specific address in the text and update the coordinates via AppleScript.

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