How to Find Out What Places Are a Specific Distance From You

Sometimes you want to find out what’s within a certain number of miles of a specific location. Maybe you want to know what area a cell tower covers or what would happen if a nuclear bomb got dropped on your in-laws’ house.

To find this information, we’re going to use FreeMapTools’ Radius Around Point tool.

Finding the Radius Around a Specific Map Point

Head to FreeMapTools’ Radius Around Point tool to get started. For this example, I’m going to find out the maximum area the cell tower on top of the hill near my house can cover.

In theory, a cell tower has a range of over 40 miles, but in practice, the maximum distance you’ll be able to get cell service from is about 22 miles—and that’s under ideal conditions. Under “Options,” I’m going to set the “Radius Distance” to 22 miles. You should enter whatever value you want to test; the tool will work with everything from a few feet to a significant fraction of the earth’s circumference.

Next, you need to set the location of the circle’s center. You have four options for doing this: clicking on the map, entering a location name, inputting coordinates, or drawing your own location.

Each one works exactly how they sound. I’m going to go with the simplest option and just click roughly where the cell tower is on the map, although you can dial in an address or input latitude and longitude values if you’d like.

And just like that, the tool draws a circle for you. You can see that the cell tower I selected covers the entirety of Dublin City, which makes it all the more annoying that I have bad cell reception in my house.

With the Radius Around a Point tool, you aren’t just limited to one circle. You can add as many as you need. This means you can look at areas where different circles overlap. I’m going to add another circle in the centre of the Irish Sea to see what would happen if there was a hypothetical cell tower out there.

Well apparently, not much. The ferry to Wales might get cell service for a bit longer, but that’s about the height of it. To remove a circle you’ve added, right click the blue location marker in the circle’s center. I’m going to do that now.

Changing the Appearance of the Circles

You also can change the appearance of the circles you draw with the Radius Around Point Tool. This is useful if you’re tracking the areas covered by different classes of things.

To change the appearance of the circles you draw, click the “Colours and Line Thickness” section, and then select the values you want for line thickness, line color, and fill color. You can’t change the appearance of a circle you’ve already drawn, so make sure to set these values before you add the circle.

Here are some different circles I’ve added to the map.

Adding Labels to the Circles

If you want to add a label to any circle, select “Map Options” and in the dialog box, type the label you want to add.

Then, just click the circle to which you want to attach the label.

Sharing the Map

If you want to share a map you’ve created, scroll down to the “Output” section. You’ll see two options: “URL to Last Radius” and “URL to All Radius.”

The “URL to Last Radius” link takes people to a map that shows only the most recent circle you’ve drawn. The “URL to All Radius” link takes people to a map with all the circles you’ve drawn. Here’s the link to my map.


There are plenty of reasons you might want to find everything that’s within a certain radius of a point, like perhaps to see what cities you can drive to in two hours when you’re travelling or work out where you could walk to in a day. With the Radius Around a Point Tool you can do it.

Harry Guinness writes occasionally when he’s not busy skiing, sailing, partying, lifting weights, or otherwise dodging responsibility. His main areas of interest are himself, gin, and crazy people with interesting stories to tell. When people won’t pay him to write ill-thought-out opinion pieces, he covers photography, technology, and culture. You can follow him on Twitter.