in OmniFocus

“Was that a train?”

On a road trip this week, my wife thought she saw something in passing.

We didn’t think there were any trains in the region. I looked up from my iPad, but whatever it was passed out of sight before I could spot it.

I could have easily bookmarked the spot in Rego or Google Maps, but I wanted to actually be reminded to search for the item on our return journey.

So I did the sensible thing and quickly

  1. Created a tag in OmniFocus and assigned it the location “Here”
  2. Set the tag to alert me of any available tasks on arrival
  3. Created a task to “Look for the train”

Now, on the return journey, OmniFocus would alert when we approached the location in question.

Everything was in place for the perfect train-looking-landmark heist… until we took a different route home. D’oh!

Time to check Google Street View, I thought.

But alas! When I viewed the tag in OmniFocus, its location coordinates had been replaced with the generic road name “Highway 6”.1

Back at my Mac, I was able to dredge up the coordinates using BBEdit to search the OmniFocus database.2

A quick Google Maps search brought me to the spot. I did find a rather disturbing billboard in the vicinity, but no evidence of a train (or train imposter). So the end of the story is that, while it was a fun process, we still have no idea what the landmark actually is.


Props to BBEdit for best-in-class search capability, which didn’t blink at the hundreds of compressed XML files in the OmniFocus database.

And props to the driver, who found a faster way home.


  1. Normally a friendly location name would be more helpful than a latitude and longitude, but in this case it left me with little to go on.

  2. Open the OmniFocus database in BBEdit, then use Multi-File search. Be sure to enable the “Search compressed files” option, which will traverse the OmniFocus database’s compressed XML documents. This quickly landed me at <location name="National Highway 6&#10;Cambodia" latitude="12.3435" longitude="105.101" notificationFlags="1"/>

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