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Use the Tiny GeoCoder API to turn a location, such as "San Francisco, CA," into a latitude and longitude pair, such as 37.775196,-122.419204. This is useful in mapping applications. The API can also handle reverse geocoding in cases where you know the lat/long but not the location name.
The public service has been discontinued, but the geocoder is now available as open source.
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New functionality also includes JSONP and reverse geo-coding as well.