Geocoding is the process of converting a location description, for example, coordinates, address, or place name, into a location on the surface of the Earth. One way to obtain geodata from address information is a geocoding operation. Geocoding allows you to get the coordinates of objects whose addresses are known. Due to the large volume of address databases, this operation is usually performed by geocoding services.

You can use geocoding software only by entering a description of one location at a time or by entering a summary of several places in a table at once and geocoding mapping results in geographic features with attributes that can be used for mapping or spatial analysis. For operation, a geocoder requires a layer with addresses located in one or more attribute fields. The component form of recording addresses (city name, street name, house number, etc. are in separate areas) is preferable and usually allows you to achieve significantly better results when using any geocoder.

What is geocoding used for?

The most known example of geocoding usage is to display online maps on a site. For example, to show where on the map, your office is located. Or where you can pick up the thing that the creator of the ad sells. Well, or your designer drew a layout in which a map is used instead of the background – loading full JS cards for such a task seems redundant. Also, a static image can be used as a preview to speed up the loading of a page by the user – and by making it interactive.

Using geocoding mapping, you can find locations of many types, including points of interest or names from a geographical guide — for example, mountains, bridges, and shops. Besides, you can coordinate your movements and business ventures using longitude and latitude or other geolocation markers as points of reference. For example, the U.S. Military uses a Grid Reference System, called “MGRS” or the U.S. national coordinate system called “U.S. National Grid.”

There is a wide range of applications for which geocoding tool can be used, from simple data analysis for business and consumer services management to determining sales planning methods. Using geocoded addresses, you can display their locations and recognize the structure of information.

Use case examples

While gathering information for an annual theft report, a theft database was created by geocoding. In these online maps, the address of each crime was recorded. Now using these online maps, law enforcement can interpret how these occurrences are distributed by time, season, day of the week, to prevent such crimes in the future. Additional analysis tools can be used for a more detailed analysis of information and identification of patterns. Many real estate firms take advantage of the dissemination of information about available properties via the Internet. By combining real estate database information and web services, you can distribute spatial and non-spatial data to a wide range of users.

User data management

Geocoding is one of the key points in managing user data. After all, each organization has information about the address of each user or client. As a rule, it is presented in the form of a table containing the customer’s name, address, purchase history, and some additional working data that we managed to collect. Geocoding allows you to get information from your customers and create online maps of their locations. With the help of various applications, this information can be used in many ways: from building marketing strategies to highlighting individual target classes of customers or creating online maps and travel instructions. The geocoded locations of your customers can provide invaluable information to you.