If you want to plot cities on a map, for example to show locations of law schools on a map of the United States, you need to have the longitude and latitude of each school’s city.
The brute force way to get those geographic intersections of longitude and latitude, which I call “coordinates”, is to search one at a time on a web site that provides them when you enter the city’s name. This takes a long time if you have hundreds of cities.
A second way to do it is to find some compilation of coordinates and extract the ones you need and merge that information with the appropriate law school. This, too can be a long process prone to errors.
A third way is to use an application programming interface (API) to the vast resources of Google. If you give Google a list of city names, it will return the coordinates. The trick on doing this however is that the cities must be appropriately identified. Berlin, Connecticut cannot be put in just as “Berlin” or you will get back the German city.