Before answering “What is Geocoding?”, let’s briefly explain what are GPS coordinates. Each and every location is uniquely identified by its GPS coordinates. We usually express them in alphanumeric characters. You can think of GPS coordinates as points of intersection in a grid system. They are expressed as a combination of latitude and longitude. Latitude is nothing more than an angle ranging from 0 degrees to 90 degrees. The latitude is going be larger the further away from the Equator a specific location is placed. At the poles, the latitude is 90 degrees.
Longitude is also measured in degrees east or west from an imaginary line that links the North Pole to the South Pole through the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, England. Thus, we can measure the longitude of a specific place as the angle from this imaginary line (known as the “Prime Meridian”). Longitude ranges westward to +180 degrees and eastward to -180.
Now, let’s circle back to your question- “What is Geocoding?”
In a few words, geocoding transforms an address into GPS coordinates which can be used to put a marker on a map. Note that, geocodes are not human-readable. Let’s take the Statue of Liberty as an example. Its coordinates are “40.6892° N, 74.0445° W”. Yeah, good luck memorizing that! Luckily, we can use reverse geocoding which is the process that takes the GPS coordinates and translates them into a human-readable address.
How do I find a Geocode
The most reliable way of acquiring a geocode is to travel to that destination and use your GPS device to capture the exact geocode. Many argue that this is the most accurate approach. But is also impractical. Imagine that you’d like to “geocode” a few hundred or maybe a thousand of locations. How long would that take and how much would it cost?
Happily, there’s a better way. One that involves more math and uses something called “interpolation”. Sounds complicated?
Let me explain.
In this method, a software breaks down every street into several segments. For each segment, it assigns a range of addresses. Then, it calculates the location of an address based on where it is likely to be located inside a specific segment. An interpolated address is not as accurate as physically geocoded one, but you can acquire it easier and faster.
Since this method uses math and computers, it can be automated and scales better.
Why Geocode Accuracy Matter?
The importance of geocoding accuracy emerge from the need to precisely identify a location that is important to a business process. However, most businesses don’t need the highest level of accuracy. This is why most address validation applications provide data computed via interpolation.
But what separates a specialized address validation software like WinPure from Google and Bing Maps?
Glad you ask.
Both Google and Bing provide accurate GPS directions that help you get to a location. However, what they don’t do is very important also. In a nutshell, they don’t check if an address is valid. Thus, if you rely on Google or Bing for geocodes, it is perfectly possible that you are requesting the software to drop a pin for a location that is not an active mailing address.
Why use WinPure Enterprise with Address Validation?
WinPure Clean & Match Enterprise with Address Verification is does something that other applications don’t: it validates your list of addresses. Next, our software standardizes addresses, completes them, and check if they are valid. This way, you are sure that your addresses are accurate before you match them against geocoded data. Furthermore, WinPure Clean & Match Enterprise with Address Verification extracts lots of useful information:
- Latitude: This field holds the WGS 84 latitude in decimal degrees format.
- Longitude: This field holds the WGS 84 longitude in decimal degrees format.
- GeoAccuracy: This field holds the GeoAccuracy code.
- GeoDistance: This field holds the radius of accuracy in meters, giving an indication of the likely maximum distance between the given geocode and the physical location.
Try WinPure Clean & Match Enterprise today and discover why large companies such as Bank of America, Vodafone, McAfee, Hewlett-Packard, and Emirates are happy to use our leading address verification software.