One of the most popular things we are asked to do is map out large lists of addresses. This is known as geocoding in the GIS world. Or better said by Wikipedia…
While this can be a fairly straightforward task and generally an everyday occurrence, there are two key things that drive the success rate. How accurate/complete is your list and how current is the geographic network you are using to locate your list to.
First things first and really the one that you have the most control over is your list of locations. Does it contain a full mailing address? Including a full mailing address is key to getting close to your address. Address, City, State & Zip are needed to up your match rate accuracy when geocoding. We prefer this information be split up into multiple fields to make things faster and easier. Ensure your data is complete and not missing any information.
Second is what geocoder service are you going to use? There are many out there and some are better than others. Some are free, some have some level of cost associated with them. You can geocode a list on different platforms and get different match rates so it’s good to know what you are getting into and that no provider is perfect.
Once the list is processed your locations are now points and can be displayed on a map. You can overlay more than one list together if you need to, possibly to see patterns between datasets. Or display locations based on information in the associated list like sales or SF. Lots of options here overall.
Now you have a better idea of the process of geocoding and what you need to succeed. Need some help with a geocoding project? Contact us.