Find out everything you need to know about geocoding API and its advanced alternatives to streamline your business operation.
What is Geocoding API?
Geocoding API is a tool that enables businesses to find the geocode or latitudinal and longitudinal coordinates of a location/address. Geocoding APIs are relatively new, and businesses are yet to find their full potential for business applications.
Right now, geocoding is generally used by businesses for streamlining their marketing efforts. Once fully evolved, geocoding API can accommodate meaningful functions that will allow them to serve businesses better and in a more holistic manner.
Reverse geocoding uses the same principle as geocoding except that, in geocoding, the process is done in reverse. Here, the input is given as geocodes or latitude and longitude coordinates, and the system returns the address of a location.
Google is the easiest geocoding tool that you can get access to but not necessarily the most reliable one. Google Maps sometimes tend to show the wrong geocodes, and this is highly undesirable for a business as they depend on accurate tools for their successful business operation.
Accuracy is without question the number one requirement of a good geocoding API. The accuracy of the geocode can vary depending on the geocoding system or API you use. There are mainly four geocoding systems, and each of them has a different geocoding accuracy. The four major geocoding systems are ZIP+4 Centroid Geocode, Interpolated Geocode, Parcel Centroid Geocode, and Rooftop Geocode.
Among these, the ZIP+4 Centroid Geocode and Interpolated Geocode provide only the general area or street of the location/address you are looking for. The Parcel Centroid Geocode is relatively expensive and has low accuracy. The Rooftop Geocodes is the best among the bunch, as it provides highly accurate, rooftop-level geocodes even though it is expensive.
Reliability or Uptime
After accuracy, the most desired aspect of a geocoding API is reliability or uptime. Reliability or uptime refers to how long your geocoding system can stay up and running. It is also important to note how consistent the geocoding system is with its performance.
The performance test is a direct indication of how reliable the API will be under stress. Although this may not be a significant consideration factor for businesses or users that are only looking for one-time use, it can be crucial for businesses that intend to use geocoding API regularly.
Your next consideration when it comes to geocoding API is its speed. Systems such as geocoding APIs are sometimes not allowed to run at full throttle because, as humans, we may not be able to catch up with them.
Hence, it is important that the geocoding service provider you choose can meet your requirements, especially if your business requires heavy geocoding capacity. You must also check whether your business demands batch geocoding capability as it can significantly affect the speed of geocoding APIs.
The most convenient way to evaluate whether a geocoding API is right for you is not to check what it can do but to look at things the geocoding API can’t do. The restrictions of a geocoding system reveal what it can’t do for your business, and if this includes one or more major business functions being hindered, then it is best that you don’t use that API.
Tech Support and Documentation
As we have mentioned before, geocoding is relatively new in the business circle, and the expertise of businesses that do use geocoding API is limited. Hence, it is always best to go for a well-reputed geocoding API that comes with commendable tech support and documentation.
Good tech support means you can easily have any technical issues fixed concerning the API. Similarly, good documentation can give you good actionable DIY solutions to problems that you may face with their system.
Geocoding And Its Applications
Geocoding shines best when it comes to commercial or marketing operations. Geocoding enables businesses to directly factor in the geographical aspect of business and then have it incorporated into the business analytic process. Below we list some of the major marketing operations that are optimized by using geocoding API.
- Location-Based Personalization
- Distance-Based Marketing
- Advanced Insights for Intelligent Business Operations
Geocoding plays a significant role in the health industry today. Geocoding is used to assess the accessibility level to healthcare facilities in most localities. Furthermore, geocoding is also used in epidemiology, particularly for tracking the patterns of an epidemic disease.
Geocoding can help you find the lending activity in a specific community. This means it includes important demographic data that can be crucial in assisting financial businesses with fair ending efforts. Furthermore, the data can also be used for marketing purposes later on.
Geocoding also plays an important role in the public safety sphere today. They are meticulously used to direct emergency response. For accomplishing this, it is typically seen that street files and E911 points are used.
One of the most important applications of geocoding is in the military. The NATO military has been known to use the Military Grid Reference System (MGRS) as their standard geo-coordinate system. This enables the military to have the edge over navigational operations.
Benefits of Geocoding
Identify Geographic Patterns
After successfully geocoding a certain number of locations, you will be able to identify patterns in demographics useful for marketers, law enforcement authorities, and sometimes even scientists.
Manage Customer Data
Geocoding can help businesses manage their customer data better by mapping their customers’ locations and using the same for advanced targeted marketing strategies.
Analyzes Address Data
Government officials usually turn to geocode technology for analyzing address data that can help them track the population growth of a specific geographic area.
Why You Should Not Use Geocoding API For Your Business
Geocoding is a great blessing for businesses without question, but it is still in its infancy and yet to realize its full potential. For the time being, a dedicated geocoding API is not necessary for the smooth running of businesses as there are other tools like address validation APIs.
An advanced address verification API may incorporate a geocoding feature and (if they are SERP-certified) give you access to Canada Post’s official address database. So, it is best to choose a better effective marketing tool for your business other than geocoding API for now.
Alternative For Geocoding API
We have already stated that geocoding is yet to evolve into a solution that can serve businesses in a holistic manner. Furthermore, there are much more advanced tools that can have the same effect as geocoding. The most prominent alternative for Geocoding API is an advanced address validation API.
Advanced address verification APIs can be used for geocoding, and furthermore, they are optimized for getting the best results for your marketing efforts. An advanced address verification API like PostGrid can ensure that the address database of your business has only real and deliverable addresses in it.
Address Validation API Trumps Geocoding API
Geocoding API has numerous applications but is majorly focused on the commercial and marketing goals of businesses. However, the truth remains that there are much more advanced tools like address verification APIs that can just about accomplish everything geocoding APIs can and more.
Advanced address verification APIs such as PostGrid can provide you with verified addresses that are classified as real and deliverable by the Canada Post. The clean data obtained via SERP-certified software like PostGrid can ultimately help you create more effective marketing campaigns for your business.