I was reading David Loshin’s (@davidloshin) blog Refinements to Location Standards: Geocoding yesterday afternoon. David says geocode is an answer to finding locations that do not map directly to an address.
Geocoding, as most of us know, is the process of finding geographic coordinates which are expressed as latitude and longitude. For example: [13.746076, 100.540073] represents an address – Thanon Ratchadamri, Pathum Wan, Bangkok 10110 in Thailand.
It’s a truly amazing process which serves as a great guide for people who want to get to their destinations faster. We are seeing geocoding being commonly used on web today for services like finding driving directions, locating geographically nearest gas stations, restaurants or service locations when on road. (Heck, there are 1000’s of location service based apps today which wouldn’t have existed if this process wasn’t there).
Extending David’s discussion further – In future, we would like to see employment of geocoding in the way we store the location information in our Master Data Management systems. Today, MDM products provide provision to store address attributes like – street name, street number, city, state, postal code, country etc. This will have to change eventually as we will be using only 2 attributes to represent the location of our customer with accuracy at its finest.
The biggest advantage which we can gain with geocoding is identifying duplicate addresses.
The missing zip codes and non-standard representation of address fields are some of the issues we have with address formats today. Added to this, each country has its own way of representing addresses. These aspects of address lead to a wrong matching no matter how powerful our algorithms are, causing significant number of false positive (different member – match) and false negative (same member – don’t match) scenarios.
Geocoding resolves these issues as it provides a consistent location format across geographies and is compact and accurate.
So, few decades down the line, if someone asks you your address, act like miss smarty pants and tell them the coordinates.
I can’t wait to get a rebirth & be in 22nd century! If only nature permits!! How about you!?