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US Geocoder

GeocodingIs the process of finding associated geographic coordinates (often expressed as latitude and longitude) from other geographic data, such as street addresses, or ZIP codes (postal codes). With geographic coordinates the features can be mapped and entered into Geographic Information Systems, or the coordinates can be embedded into media such as digital photographs via geotagging.

A geocoder is a piece of software or a (web) service that helps in this process.

Address interpolation[edit]

A simple method of geocoding is address interpolation. This method makes use of data from a street geographic information system where the street network is already mapped within the geographic coordinate space. Each street segment is attributed with address ranges (e.g. house numbers from one segment to the next). Geocoding takes an address, matches it to a street and specific segment (such as a block, in towns that use the "block" convention). Geocoding then interpolates the position of the address, within the range along the segment.

Example[edit]

Take for example:

Let's say that this segment (for instance, a block) of Evergreen Terrace runs from 700 to 799. Even-numbered addresses fall on the east side of Evergreen Terrace, with odd-numbered addresses on the west side of the street. 742 Evergreen Terrace would (probably) be located slightly less than halfway up the block, on the east side of the street. A point would be mapped at that location along the street, perhaps offset a distance to the east of the street centerline.

Complicating factors[edit]

However, this process is not always as straightforward as in this example. Difficulties arise when

  • distinguishing between ambiguous addresses such as 742 Evergreen Terrace and 742 W Evergreen Terrace.
  • attempting to geocode new addresses for a street that is not yet added to the geographic information system database.
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