Tips for Setting Up a Geocoding API Recap

Andrew Townsend
Andrew Townsend
November 2, 2023
Tips for setting up geocoding API

Geocoding is converting a physical address into geographic coordinates with latitude and longitude. Accurate geocodes are critical for many applications—routing deliveries, analyzing insurance risk, mapping utilities, and more.

In a recent webinar, Smarty's customer service specialist, Ben Rivera, outlined best practices for maximizing geocode accuracy using our APIs and tools. Here are some of the key takeaways:

The Problem of Inaccurate Geocodes  

Many common geocoding services provide ZIP Code or centroid-level accuracy at best. This can mean geocode coordinates that are far from the actual rooftop location. It’s even worse if a provider labels a geocode as "rooftop level" when it is not actually rooftop accurate.

Smarty has invested heavily in rooftop-precision geocoding data for the US. Our benchmarks show 85% rooftop accuracy and 11% parcel accuracy—far beyond competitors. And geocoding results are always labeled accurately, whether that's rooftop, parcel, or just ZIP Code accurate.

Enabling Rooftop Geocoding   

The US Rooftop Geocoding license parameter must be passed to the US Address Validation API to enable rooftop-level geocoding. Without the license parameter, you'll get ZIP Code-accurate geocodes only. Many users forget this step and then wonder why the geocoding level isn't rooftop.

Rooftop geocoding is available through both the Address Validation API and the bulk address tool. The license provides full address correction in addition to latitude/longitude coordinates. Usage costs are identical—it's just a matter of enabling the license.

Use Cases for Precise Geocodes

Why does rooftop precision matter? Several examples:

Delivery routing - ensuring drivers arrive at the correct building entrance

  • Insurance risk analysis - identifying property exposure to environmental threats  
  • Utility mapping - accurately locating buildings to reduce installation costs
  • On-site services - pinpointing exact building locations like apartments or offices

Without rooftop-level accuracy, nearby coordinates could lead drivers, technicians, or data analysts astray. The difference of just a few feet matters.

International Geocoding Support  

While focused on the US, Smarty also provides geocoding for international addresses. Accuracy varies by country based on available data. Rooftop precision is available in Canada, Australia, the UK, and other developed nations. As a fallback, they provide centroid or ZIP Code accuracy globally.

If you'd like to learn more about US Rooftop Geocoding and access it through the API, visit our US Rooftop Geocoding page. And if you'd like to view the full webinar recording, you can do so here:

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