Geocoding – conversion of addresses to GPS coordinates
The process of assigning GPS coordinates to objects, whether physical locations or photographs, is called geocoding. In traffic planning, we use it to convert customer addresses to GPS coordinates to determine where cars should go. It may not seem so, but it is a very important part of the whole process.
How to get GPS coordinate values
There are two basic ways to convert a postal address to GPS coordinates:
- “Manual” – when we enter the address into the application and it returns the GPS coordinates. The websites www.mapy.cz or https://www.google.com/maps are often used for this purpose. In addition to the fact that this process is very laborious (pasting and copying coordinates back), we also encounter the limit of the legality of use for commercial purposes.
- Automated – data, in our case addresses, are processed in batches. So there is no need to rewrite the addresses you have in the table. The program extracts the data and returns the GPS coordinates. Compared to manual processing, this method is faster. Human strength is needed only in cases where there was insufficient or poor input data. For example, the SolverTech geocoder is operated as a web service – meaning you can access it from anywhere. It can also be used as part of your applications.
What parameters should a proper geocoder have?
The basic reason for automating geocoding is to simplify and refine your work. So what do we want from a geocoder: to be fast, reliable and best to solve everything without the need for our intervention.
The moment you need to assign tens and hundreds of addresses, manually obtaining gps coordinates becomes an unsolvable problem. One of the parameters that determines the quality of the geocoder is the speed at which it can assign GPS coordinates to one address. Usually it is less time than it would take to read it at all.
The main advantage of speeding up your work is that the geocoder can process the data in batches and return them back where you need them (for example, to your spreadsheet or directly to a program that will continue to work with them).
To give you an idea, Geokoding SolverTech geocodes at 150 address locations per minute.
The quality of the input data is a very important element. The result of 100% correct data should be absolutely accurate. But what happens if the input data is insufficient or there are errors in it?
A useful part of modern geocoding algorithms is the ability to get usable results even from incorrectly entered data. Remember how many times a day you type over to tap the keyboard. Olomouc can easily become Loomouc, which you will not find on the map of the Czech Republic. Really good algorithms think of this as well and can detect with high accuracy that it is a typo and still return the relevant result. A similar principle is used by the algorithm when processing data with or without diacritics.
Some geocoders are limited by the amount of information they can process per day, or the inability to use their outputs for commercial purposes, even if you are happy to pay for the service.
How SolverTech Geodding works
SolverTech’s geocoding works with the full address. It is able to find relevant address data among data that is not related to the address. Sorts individual elements according to importance. If a valid postal code is entered, but it does not correspond to the specified city, it will offer the user the possibility to determine on the basis of detailed information (region, district, location, etc.) how to misinterpret the entered address. However, user intervention is required in extreme cases where the address is very incorrectly and illogically defined. After geocoding, it is a matter of course to obtain the address form in the correct form.
If you want to use our service and save time and money, contact us at the telephone number +420 775 865 185, or at the e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org