Geocoding

Submit Ireland’s famous “Blarney Stone” to Bing Maps’ and Google’s geocoding APIs and both will return its map coordinates, rather precisely too. Bing Maps geocodes it’s location to Latitude 51.929092, Longitude -8.570564; and Google to Longitude 51.929019, Latitude -8.570338. That’s a difference of about 14 meters. Neither is accurate enough to kiss it, but both do at least get you to the front door. Try that with a traditional enterprise geocoder and you’ll get nowhere.

This kind of outcome is quite possible. When working with spatial applications, it’s routine for me to “validate” and “geocode” addresses. People often use those terms interchangeably. Yet they are two distinct processes, which can sometimes yield contradictory results. Neither process can be said to be better than the other. It’s a matter of context.

Be careful not to repeat my mistake of naïvely assuming Power Map handles “counties” in Puerto Rico and other US territories the same way as it handles counties and county equivalents in the US states.

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