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Accurate Geocoding Enables Enrichment

Authors Photo Precisely Editor | March 9, 2021

Big data/cloud and integration capabilities are unlocking a world of insight for business leaders across all industries. Location intelligence (LI) provides a critical link between the outside world and the data that businesses currently have about customers, prospects, and competitors. LI connects an organization’s existing data to a vast catalog of external information about demographics, income levels, traffic, crime, weather, competitive dynamics, and more. The process of unlocking that contextual information begins with geocoding.

What is geocoding?

Geocoding is the process of associating data points (such as addresses or the locations of specific weather events) with geographic coordinates. For example, geocoding will translate a specific street address into precise latitudinal and longitudinal coordinates.

While there are a wide range of products on the market that can resolve street addresses to a geographic location, they are not all created equal. Many are limited to specific geographies and lack the sophistication to operationalize addresses across multiple countries or continents.

Having the right algorithms can make a big difference as well. Address information can sometimes be extraordinarily cryptic. Here is a real-life example; a visitor to one of our customers’ websites entered their address in an online form as follows: “1 100 #1 10025”.  Precisely’s geocoding algorithms were able to determine the correct address as “1 W 100th Street, Frnt 1, New York, NY 10025-4857.” Most geocoding services are simply not capable of deciphering those kinds of anomalies.

Precise geocoding is vital, because accurate resolution is the first step toward enriching data with an array of location-based variables. That, in turn, provides a wealth of additional value by driving better decisions based on a substantially better-informed view of reality. Data-driven decisions that are based on a high degree of data integrity ultimately lead to greater profitability.

If you don’t get that first step right, though, your data enrichment efforts could go awry . You could end up linking the wrong address to the wrong externally-sourced data. Just as high-integrity data can drive good decisions, poor-quality data can drive bad ones.

For enterprise customers, geocoding must be capable of discerning nuanced details. One of Precisely’s customers, a large financial services organization dealing with home mortgages, was seeking to improve its property valuation algorithms by more accurately determining which homes are multifamily dwellings.  In addition, they sought to improve the positional precision of their housing data, which would further improve the accuracy of their property valuation tools.

Precisely’s Spectrum Geocoding software and Master Location Data solution provided a basis for recognizing billions of additional value, including a 34% uplift in multi-family dwellings.

Read our eBook

Geocoding for Business

With so many factors affecting the geocoding process, rational assessment of geocoding solutions can be an overwhelming task. This eBook provides some tips on what to look for in a geocoder.

What is geo-enrichment?

The previous example focuses on increasing the accuracy and precision of a company’s existing data. But geocoding does much more than that; it provides a critical link between internally managed data (such as customers, vendors, and competitors, for example) and a vast amount of externally sourced data.

Precisely helps businesses make the vital connections that amplify the value of their existing business data by adding context through location intelligence. For every location, we assign a unique identifier, which we call the PreciselyID. That identifier is the key that unlocks value in your business data by adding context from our catalog of more than 9,000 attributes. Whether you want to add demographic or lifestyle data, risk profiles, weather, or crime data, the PreciselyID provides the critical link that opens up new possibilities for your data.

A major insurer, for example, may wish to assign attributes to insured property using externally sourced data. That may include the distance or drive time to the nearest fire station, or whether or not the property is located in a flood zone. By enriching their property data with this additional location-based context, insurers can better assess the risk factors associated with each property.

Geocoding can help organizations connect their customers to the locations where those customers live, shop, work, commute, and recreate. It provides the critical first step toward adding context to your data.

By adding richness and context to your data, you can begin to explore relationships. An insurance company that sells both commercial and personal policies, for example, will be better positioned to understand the relationships and locations of covered individuals within the same family. They will also be more capable of identifying a customer with homeowner and automobile policies who has recently opened a new business. That translates to revenue opportunities that might otherwise have been missed.

Getting started with geo-enrichment

At Precisely, we work with businesses in retail, telecommunications, insurance, banking, the public sector, and more. Virtually any industry can create value and unlock new insights with geo-enrichment.

Buyers should proceed with caution, though; not all geocoding solutions are created equal. Many vendors offer “black box” software products that provide little or no transparency to their underlying geocoding methodology. Those products tend to take a one-size-fits-all approach, which means that they may not be a good fit for many businesses and industries.

Even greater caution should be taken with entry-level or “free” geocoding solutions. Inevitably, these are poorly suited for enterprise applications. The total cost of ownership for these bargain solutions tends to increase quickly and unexpectedly, as significant internal resources are required to effectively leverage them in an enterprise environment.

Precisely offers a wide range of location intelligence products. We have worked with businesses in many industries, so we have experts on staff with detailed knowledge of the specific business processes and practices employed in each of those industry sectors. We work extensively in the broader context of data management and data governance, so we understand very clearly how location intelligence fits into the bigger picture.

Map of streets and roads.

As a leader in geospatial data, Precisely understands the importance of accuracy and precision. We work with some of the largest, most demanding customers in the world, so we have built our product portfolio to meet the highest standards for volume and throughput.

Finally, we understand that every enterprise has unique needs. We offer flexible deployment options to suit virtually any customer. Whether you prefer to embed geocoding on premises, deploy it in a private cloud, hybrid cloud or SaaS environment, Precisely can tailor a solution to meet your needs.

To learn more about how location intelligence can help your business unlock the value of your data by adding context, download our eBook Geocoding for Business.