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How to Convert an Address to Coordinates

Map of the US with pushpins showing addresses that have been converted to coordinates

The process of converting an address to geographic coordinates such as those used in GPS systems or GIS software is known as "address geocoding, or simply "geocoding," which enables more precise geographic analysis and interpretation of location data.

Geocoding is used widely in insurance, ecommerce, telecom, and real estate industries (to name a few) to improve services and operations.

Smarty's APIs provide a seamless experience to convert addresses to coordinates with support for single address entry, batch, and programmatic processing.

Our plugins provide support for converting addresses to geographic coordinates directly in Google Sheets, QGIS, browser upload, and from the command line.

Feel free to explore our tools for the accuracy and efficiency your projects require. Whether you need US geocoding, reverse geocoding, or internationally-based geocoding, we're the geeks to map your course.

US & International Addresses to Coordinates Bulk US & International Address to Coordinates US Address to
Coordinates API
International Address to Coordinates API

In this article, we'll cover:

How To Convert an Address to Coordinates

Convert a Single Address to Coordinates

Let's go through this with you step by step:

  1. Go to https://www.smarty.com/products/single-address.

  2. Determine whether your address is US-based or international.

  3. Enter the address in whichever way you would like: address components or freeform (single field entry) and click "View results".

  4. On the right side of your screen, view the magical geocode as it appears in lat long coordinates. We will also tell you whether the address you entered is valid, and if not, we will suggest ways to change it for it to be considered valid. YAY!

If you are more of a visual learner, click here and watch our nifty video explaining the freeform geocoding process. Don't worry; it's short.

Convert a Batch of Addresses to Coordinates

  1. Go to https://www.smarty.com/products/list

  2. Now, choose between "Validate US addresses, "Match ZIP Codes to US cities and states," or "Validate international addresses" based on your needs.

  3. Choose a file or drag and drop your file for upload. Supported file types are: .xls,.xlsx, .csv, .tsv, .psv, .txt

  4. If you'd like, feel free to check your formatting as well as download an example file under the Step 2 section.

  5. Hit that "Process My List" button, and you're on your way!

  6. Your validated address file will show up below for you to download

The demo returns up to 10 addresses at a time with ZIP9 accuracy. For rooftop accuracy, sign up forUS Rooftop Geocoding. The full version of the bulk validation tool can return up to 500,000 addresses per upload.

If 500k won't float your boat, check our Command Line Interface (CLI), which can throw millions of validated, accurate addresses your way per upload!

If your boat still isn't afloat, use our US Rooftop Geocoding product via API. With it, you can process unlimited records at 75,000+ per second.

If we're honest, we can get you any address you need. So if by the end of this, your boat isn't planing across the water, find a good mechanic cause something is terribly wrong with your boat.

What is Geocoding?

Geocoding is the process of translating a location through Latitude and Longitude (lat-long). The word "Geocoding" can be used synonymously with the phrase "address-to-coordinate conversion."

Challenges Associated with Address-to-Coordinate Conversion

A common challenge encountered by businesses is when they are determining the current location in areas with complex postal codes. That's why geocoding is necessary for many businesses. Fire and rescue crews utilize the information to find the exact location of a disaster.

The Telecom industry uses geocoding services for resource management and network planning. Retail and ecommerce arenas would sink without accurate location services for delivery of goods and services. All industries benefit from the targeted marketing and customer segmentation through reverse geocoding APIs and geocoding services.

While address-to-coordinate conversion provides valuable benefits for businesses, there are several challenges associated with the geocoding process:

  • Accuracy and Precision: Areas with complex addressing systems, ambiguous addresses, or frequent changes in infrastructure prevent accurate geocoding.

  • Incomplete or Inaccurate Address Data: Geocoding relies on accurate and complete address components. The geocoding process may produce inaccurate results if the entered addresses are incomplete, misspelled, or contain errors.

  • Privacy Concerns: Geocoding involves the processing and storage of location information, raising privacy concerns. Businesses might not be mindful of data protection regulations, resulting in failure to implement measures to ensure the safe handling of location data, especially when dealing with customer information.

  • Cost: Depending on the scale and frequency of your business's geocoding needs, costs can become a consideration.

  • Handling Ambiguity: Some addresses may be ambiguous or have multiple potential matches. Geocoding systems need to be equipped to handle and resolve such ambiguities accurately.

  • Dynamic Nature of Data: Location data is dynamic, with changes occurring over time due to urban development, road expansions, etc. Geocoding systems need to be adaptable and update their databases to maintain accuracy.

  • Legal and Regulatory Compliance: Geocoding often involves dealing with sensitive location information, and businesses must comply with legal and regulatory frameworks related to data protection, privacy, and geospatial data usage.

Although there are several obstacles involved with geocoding, the future outlook of address-to-coordinate conversion is bright and expansive. Thanks to advancements in AI and other technology, data analytics, and the increasing importance of location intelligence, geocoding is here to stay.

A report done by MarketsandMarkets reported that location-based services and real-time location market size are anticipated to increase from 22.3 billion in 2022 to 50.2 billion by 2027. We couldn't agree more.

Why Address-to-Coordinates Converters Are Crucial for Businesses

Employees in an office

Without an address-to-coordinates converter, many of us would be lost. How many times have you, unfortunately, needed to use Google Maps to find a coffee shop, a party, or the way to Uncle Frank's house? Geocoding utilitiesplay a crucial role in this process, converting addresses into precise geographical locations. On a personal note, geocoding services make life so much simpler.

Furthermore, address-to-coordinate conversion, or geocoding, is more than a simplicity factor for business. It should be an essential part of your business life.

From location-based decision-making, targeted marketing, and customer insights, to risk management, compliance/regulatory requirements, and emergency response, geocoding ensures that your business is putting itself on the map.

By transforming the contents of address fields into precise geographic coordinates, businesses can enhance their operational efficiency and customer targeting strategies.

In Corporate America, the benefits of having an accurate way to convert addresses to coordinates, or visa versa, provide opportunities for increased profits, improved safety, reduced risk, and much more.

Businesses often make decisions based on geographic information. Geocoding is particularly important for site selection, market analysis, and expansion planning activities. The more precisely you convert addresses to coordinates, the more you can reduce costs and increase profits.

Practical Applications of Geocoding

Here are just a few of the many practical applications businesses incorporate geocoding data.

For businesses involved in transportation, precise map coordinates converted from the contents of an address field are vital for logistics and delivery services. Geocoding is crucial for precise mapping and navigation. Converting addresses to coordinates facilitates accurate route planning, reduces delivery times, and optimizes overall logistics operations.

Warehouse logistics workers

Similarly, companies with field operations, such as service technicians or sales teams, benefit from geocoding by efficiently planning and optimizing routes. This improves field service operations, reduces travel time, and enhances the overall productivity of field personnel.

Insurance companies often benefit from geocoding through improved risk assessment of specified areas by evaluating factors such as proximity to natural disaster-prone areas, crime rates, and environmental risks. Catastrophe modeling is regularly based on this information and helps insurers understand the exposure of their portfolios to these events.

Additionally, insurance businesses can more easily detect fraud, demonstrate adherence to regulatory guidelines, diversify portfolios, and adjust claims with ease knowing the exact addresses and or Latitude Longitude of their clients.

In the real estate industry, geographic coordinates are essential for property valuation, site selection, and portfolio management. Businesses can use geocoded data to analyze property trends, assess market conditions, and make informed investment decisions.

Smarty's Geocoding APIs

So, why Smarty? What makes our APIs shine brighter than the rest?

Speed: Smarty's claim to fame is our speed. You won't age waiting for your geocoding process to complete, even if you're batching multiple addresses at a time. We're ludicrously fast.

Speedy cheetah with rocket on its back

Fresh: We collect correct location data from several authoritative sources and update our databases continuously.

Rooftop Accuracy: We can help you identify individual shops in a strip mall or locate particular offices in a business park. Our geocoding API has the capability to go beyond getting you to the general area. However, if accurate generalized area info is what you're after, we also offer ZIP +4 geocoding.

Minimizing False Positives: No company can claim that they remove false positives altogether, but here at Smarty, our address validation APIs and autocomplete can help the geocoding process to seriously minimize those false positives.

Affordability: Our services are robust yet affordable and fully customizable to your company's needs. We also offer our free trial so you can test drive it before buying. We like to give the people what they want. We also publish most of our pricing online because we're open like that.

Too Long, Didn't Read (TL;DR)

You just skipped down to this section to read it in a nutshell, didn't you? We won't tell.

Address-to-coordinates conversion (otherwise referred to as geocoding) is a process that's becoming increasingly necessary for businesses to employ to combat issues arising from high-density housing and business populations.

Using the right tools can help you make better business decisions moving forward, essentially reducing risks, operational costs, and fraud. Simultaneously, businesses using Smarty's geocoding APIs are increasing business profits, customer satisfaction, and data accuracy.

Ready to elevate your address game? With Smarty's Geocoding API, converting addresses to precise coordinates is as easy as pie—minus the baking part. Say goodbye to the guesswork of pinpointing locations and hello to the sweet certainty of data accuracy.

Give your business the Smarty Edge and Try our US Rooftop Geocoding demo because when it comes to locations, we're not just smart; we're Smarty!

Ready to get started?