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Geocoding: What it Is, Software, & Applications

Every Thing You Need To Know About Geocoding

Geocoding is the process of converting addresses or other geographic data, such as place names or latitude and longitude coordinates, into a standardized format that can be easily understood by computers. This is often done in order to enable spatial analysis or to display geographic data on a map.

Geocoding is typically performed using specialized software or online services that are capable of converting the data into a standardized format. For example, an address such as “123 Main Street, Anytown, USA” could be geocoded to a set of latitude and longitude coordinates that could then be used to display the location on a map.

For example, the geocode for the Empire State Building in New York City is 40.748440, -73.985664. This geocode can be used to locate the Empire State Building on a map or to perform spatial analysis using geographic information systems (GIS) software.

Reverse geocoding is the process of converting geographic coordinates, such as latitude and longitude, into a human-readable address or place name. This is the opposite of geocoding.

One of the key challenges of geocoding is dealing with the many different ways that addresses and other geographic data can be expressed. For example, an address may be written in different formats depending on the country or region it is in, and some addresses may be missing important pieces of information such as the city or state. To address this challenge, geocoding software and services use algorithms and other techniques to “clean” the data and ensure that it is in a standardized format.

What is geocoding used for?

Geocoding is an essential part of many different applications and industries, including transportation, retail, and real estate. For example, in transportation, geocoding is used to create accurate maps and routing instructions, and in retail, it is used to identify the location of potential customers and target them with relevant advertisements.

Geocoding is a powerful tool that enables us to make sense of the vast amount of geographic data that is available today. By converting this data into a standardized format, it allows us to analyze, visualize, and make decisions based on this data in ways that were previously impossible.

What is a Geohash?

A geohash is a method of encoding geographic coordinates into a short string of characters. It was invented by Gustavo Niemeyer and Stefan Schröder, and is a hierarchical spatial data structure which subdivides space into buckets of grid shape, which is one of the many applications of what is known as a Z-order curve.

Geohashes are typically used to index and query geographical data, such as the locations of businesses or points of interest. They have the advantage of being short, easy to generate, and convenient for use in URL parameters.

To generate a geohash, the geographic coordinates of a location are first converted into binary values. These binary values are then divided into groups, and each group is converted into a base-32 character. The resulting string of characters is the geohash for the location.

For example, the geohash for the Empire State Building in New York City is dr5ruzy4. This geohash can be used to quickly and easily index and query the location of the Empire State Building, and to compare it with other locations that have been geohashed.

Overall, geohashes are a useful tool for working with geographic data and performing spatial queries. They are easy to generate and use, and can be a valuable addition to any application or system that deals with geographic information.

About the Author
I'm Daniel O'Donohue, the voice and creator behind The MapScaping Podcast ( A podcast for the geospatial community ). With a professional background as a geospatial specialist, I've spent years harnessing the power of spatial to unravel the complexities of our world, one layer at a time.