Picture Geocoding Guide

Geocoding service Google Maps

Geocoding - finding the geographical location of a given address - is one of the most popular features of the Google Maps API. Both the JavaScript Maps APIs and the Maps API for Flash include classes that enable applications to perform geocoding, and there is also a RESTful web service that offers the option of making geocoding requests from server side applications with output in both XML and JSON.

The Google Maps JavaScript API v3 introduced a new format for geocoding responses that offers a number of improvements over the format used in the v2 API:

  • A flatter response format for address components that is easier to parse
  • The ability to tag an address component with multiple types
  • Both full names and abbreviations for countries and states
  • Differentiation between rooftop and interpolated geocoder results
  • Both the bounding box and recommended viewport for each result
We're happy to now announce a new Geocoding Web Service that adopts these improvements.

The Geocoding Web Service is intended to enable precaching of geocoder results that you know your application will need in the future. For example, if your application displays property listings, you can geocode the address of each property, cache the results on your server, and serve these locations to your API application. This ensures that your application does not need to geocode the address of a property every time it is viewed by a user. However we do ask that you regularly refresh your cache of geocoder results.

Note however that it is a requirement of the Maps API Terms of Service that you use the Geocoding Web Service in conjunction with a Google map. This means that when it comes time to use cached geocoder results in an application, the application must display the results or any data derived from them on a map generated using one of the Google Maps APIs or Google Earth API.

If your application needs to geocode arbitrary addresses that are entered by your users while they wait we recommend that you use the classes in the appropriate client API. This ensures that the requests your application generates reach Google directly from your users, which will improve the performance of your application and ensure it is resilient to unexpected spikes in use. For more details, I highly recommend this excellent blog post by our very own Mano Marks.

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Probably Tiger Line

by navel

The US Census has a free database called TigerLine. It's not always accurate. I've worked with it and field surveyed some glaring anomalies.
Now, I'm not sure MapQuest and MSN Maps are derived from TigerLine, but chances are they are. I recall researching some commercial geocoding services that purportedly enhance the accuracy of TigerLine.
If you email me your address, I could check the TigerLine for the bay area and see if the anomaly you noticed correlates.
If you're in the Castro or UpperMarket, I could help you with a very accurate map. My maps are based on the San Franciso GIS Department's CAD maps.

Get information about traffic conditions. Check traffic reports, freeway closures.

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