By geocoding their addresses I

Get geocode from address

Geographic Information Systems help us to associate information from various sources based on spatial references. Fundamentally, the spatial references that are required are X, Y coordinates in a documented geographic or projected coordinate system. Nevertheless, we often have useful information about locations that are referenced according to street addresses (e.g. 48 Quincy Street, Cambridge MA, 02138.) Transforming this sort of reference into a simple X and Y, is a process known as Address Matching, or Geocoding. Thanks to a nation-wide GIS database of streets and address ranges and GIS applications such as ArcGIS, the procedure for geocoding a table of 50 addresses is far simpler than the alternative of finding them yourself.

These days, address matching is embedded in many web search tools that return spots on a map as an answer to a web query that includes an address. Some web map providers such as Yahoo offer open interfaces for geocoding. Here is an example of an application from Juice Analytics uses Yahoo's geocoding interface to geocode an excel spreadsheet . When we are using geocoded addresses for research purposes it is critical to understand how the process works and they types of errors that can be expected. ArcGIS provides an interface that provides a decent level of control and transparency to this process.

Address-match geocoding requires a database of properly-formed addresses, a reference database of streets, and a set of rules for matching them. In ArcMap, this set of rules is known as a Geocoding Service. Within the GSD, we have a commercial national streets database product, ESRI Streetmap shared on the network as l:\public\geo\esridata_9\streetmap. ESRI Streetmap includes a ready-made geocoding service, so if you are working in the Design School, and your U.S. addresses with zip codes are formatted correctly in a dbase table, getting started with geocoding should be fairly easy.

Our COnceptual Model

It is really not very interesting to go through an exercise n information transformation without a purpose. Today our purpose is to try to represent Coffeeshops and Laundromats in Somerville Massachusetts as best we can. We will see many ways of doing this, and we will try to evaluate them all, and choose the best one for (for example, exploring the distribution of income (median household income, aggregated at the Blockgroup Level).

Geocoding Tutorial

The premise for the first part of part a is that we want to experience the joys and sorrows of Address-Match Geocoding. We will take a list of businesses in our study area, geocode and think critically about the results.

Explore the Sample Dataset

This is our familiar Somerville dataset. But your attentiuon is called to

Doyle Park...just up the street from my

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Office on Sonoma Avenue (towards Farmer's Lane).
Be great if you can bring a kid. We'll talk before then, but I'm pretty sure I can get my whole family to come.

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