GeoCoding capabilities are now found in most business applications. PDSA has a rich
experience in designing, building and/or integrating GeoCoding into many solutions.
In particular, PDSA has built a GeoCode engine that uses specialized business rules,
a geocode repository and multiple geocode search engines to produce high quality
What is Geocoding
Geocoding is 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).
Why Geocoding is Critical for Business
Many companies have found geo-location or geo-targeting technology to be of value
for many reasons: store locators, insurance companies, retail, appraisal companies
needing to see where all the sales comparables are located relative to the subject
property, target marketing, transportation routing, and the list is endless. Are
you getting the most out of geocoding for your company?
Using Geocoding Intelligently
Geocoding my sound easy but it has many complexities. Difficulties arise when distinguishing
between ambiguous addresses such as 742 Evergreen Terrace and 742 W Evergreen Terrace
or you are attempting to geocode new addresses for a street that is not yet added
to the geographic information system database. Hence, it is important to use a company
such as PDSA which has a rich experience in producing the highest hit rate possible
based on your particular needs.
Leveraging the Provider Model
PDSA leveraged the object oriented software design pattern known as the provider
model. The pattern itself is exceedingly simple and is given the name "provider"
since it provides the functionality to a Geocode vendor, such as Google. The access
to the functionality provided is also known as the application program interface
or API. Defined, a provider is simply a contract between an API and the Business
Logic/Data Abstraction Layer. The provider is the implementation of the API separate
from the API itself. Each Geocode vendor, like Google, has an API to their engine.
PDSA has created provider architecture so we can leverage multiple Geocode vendors
through the provider architecture.
By using the provider model mentioned above, PDSA has created an engine to produce
geocode results based on an intelligent set of rules. The ‘engine’ has a web service
interface so it can be accessed by one or more applications needing geocoding. The
web service interface simply passes the request to the request processor. The request
processor has all the ‘brains’ to get the job done. It in turn will utilize one
or more mapping vendors, such as Google, to provide the geocode itself.
Tracking and Improving Geocode Usage
PDSA believes you should track your ‘success rate’ of geocoding. What is the quality
of your requests to your vendor’s Geocode service? Are your success percentages
going up? Down? How does the success of Google compare to another vendor? PDSA can
help you answer those questions.
What is Level of Accuracy?
How close can you get to the lat/long you are seeking? For each address, can you
limit the amount of incorrect addresses that can occur? When the mapping vendors
(Google, etc.) cannot find an address you will need to attempt to find the closest
approximation. Some levels of accuracy will be address level (bingo you got it),
street level (the address you are seeking falls within the range of addresses for
that street), city level, and zip code level. It is important that you understand
the levels of accuracy for EACH mapping vendor and its implications for your application.
PDSA has designed and implemented several applications with Geocoding requirements:
- Allergan’s Botox site for “Find a Doctor” (http://www.botoxcosmetics.com).
- An appraisal workflow application.
- An appraisal repository application.
- A transportation application.
- A provider model geocode engine web service application.