Geocoding refers to converting the physical location or description of a location, such as a city name or address, into geographic coordinates, namely latitude and longitude. It is a super helpful technique with several use cases. For example, businesses use geocoding data to streamline operations, keep track of key locations that are relevant to their business, recognize patterns, and manage customer data. In the past, geocoding used to be a challenging process, but thanks to advancements in technology, we can now quickly get the geographical coordinates of an address using a Geocode API. Several Geocoding APIs are available today, such as Google API for Geocoding or ipstack.
Read on if you want to learn more about geocoding and the best free Geocode API that provides accurate results quickly.
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What Does Geocoding Mean, And How Does It Work?
Geocoding means turning the physical location names or addresses, such as city names, street addresses, or zip codes, into geographical coordinates, more specifically, latitude and longitude coordinates. It is also sometimes called forward geocoding.
Geocoding is often confused with geolocation. However, these two are different concepts. Geolocation refers to finding the physical location of an internet-connected device, such as a laptop, smartphone, or smartwatch. It is usually done using an IP to Geolocation API. We can also get geolocation data through GPS and cellular networks.
When we use a geocoding service or geocode API, we typically have to enter the location we want to geocode. It can be a city name, street number, or address. The tool will then convert it into spatial or numerical data (latitude and longitude). For example, if we enter 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, CA, we’ll get latitude: 37.423021 and longitude: -122.083739.
However, there are two types of input data, relative and absolute input data. Relative input is a vague description of a location or address component that can’t be geocoded. For example, if we enter ‘the building near the main boulevard,’ it isn’t specific enough to be geocoded. On the other hand, absolute data is a specific location that a geocode API or tool converts into coordinates.
Many tools only enable single-address geocoding, which means you can geocode only one address with one request. However, there are tools and geocoding APIs that also support batch geocoding requests, allowing users to geocode several locations simultaneously.
There is also reverse geocoding, which involves converting geographic coordinates into human-readable location data, such as street address, street name, city name, or house number. It is mostly used in tracking applications.
What Are The Benefits Of Geocoding?
Geocoding is a super useful technique. For example, whenever we use a mapping service, such as Google Maps, we use geocoding to pinpoint a location. Here are the benefits of using a geocode API:
Identifying Geographic Patterns
Businesses can collect the location data of their users within a specific area and geocode those addresses. They can then display those locations on a map to identify patterns. Similarly, law enforcement agencies can use geocoding data to recognize crime patterns in a specific area. Additionally, geocoding is also helpful to environmental scientists studying a changing landscape.
Targeted marketing enables businesses to promote their products or services to a specific segment of the audience. It also helps attract high-quality leads and build deeper customer loyalty. With Geocode API, businesses can map the locations of their customers and then target a specific segment of customers.
Analyzing Address Data
With geocoding, government officials can analyze address data for different purposes. For example, they can analyze population growth in a specific area and then decide if they need to build a new school in that area. They can also assess public access to healthcare facilities.
Which Is The Best Free Geocode API?
If you’re looking to find the location and geographical coordinates of your website customers, ipstack is the best option. ipstack is a leading IP Geolocation API that provides the location data of users based on their IP addresses. Additionally, it offers a free plan that you can use to try and test the API features.
Thousands of companies around the globe use ipstack for IP geolocation. These include Samsung, Microsoft, Airbnb, and many more. Additionally, many developers worldwide also integrate the ipstack API into their web applications.
The main features of ipstack include:
Ipstack uses reliable data sources, such as large ISPs, to provide highly accurate and consistent IP geolocation data. The API returns detailed information in JSON format, such as country name, city name, country code, region, latitude and longitude coordinates, and more.
Real-Time Geolocation Data
Ipstack allows you to look up any IPv4 and IPv6 address using its ‘standard lookup’ endpoint. You can generate an API request by simply attaching an IP address to the base URL of the API. The API response includes several parameters, such as country, city, region, zip code, and country code, as well as currency and time zone information.
Here is an example code for making an API request:
? access_key = YOUR_ACCESS_KEY
Below is an example API response:
"continent_name": "North America",
"country_name": "United States",
"city": "Los Angeles",
"capital": "Washington D.C.",
With ipstack’s bulk lookup endpoint, users can request data of multiple IP addresses (up to 50 IPv4 or IPv6 addresses) simultaneously. With this time-saving feature, you don’t have to make multiple API requests for different IP addresses.
Inaccurate geolocation data can have a negative impact on your marketing campaigns and businesses. That’s why it’s essential to use a highly-accurate IP geolocation or geocoding API, such as ipstack. Ipstack uses rock-solid data sources to provide real-time and accurate geolocation data.
Time Zone Information
Ipstack offers a time zone module that automatically provides the time zone information of the location retired against an IP address. When you use this feature, you don’t have to ask your customers to fill out forms to get their time zone information. This module returns several parameters, including current time, GMT offset, and code of the location. With this data, you can enhance user experience on your website by displaying events in customers’ local time.
ipstack also comes with a currency module that provides the currency information of the location returned against an IP address. This information includes the symbol, name, and code of the currency. This data is helpful in displaying product prices in the local currency of a user.
ipstack is highly scalable, which means you can use it as per your business needs. The API is capable of processing millions of requests.
You can use ipstack’s security module to identify the threats and risks originating from a particular IP address, and protect your website or web app from potential threats.
The ipstack API comes with extensive documentation that consists of all the details regarding the API key and authorization, API endpoints, methods, and parameters. It also consists of several code examples in different programming languages.
If you’re looking for a geocode API that can directly convert the description of a location into geographical coordinates, positionstack is a good option. Posistionstack covers more than 2 billion addresses worldwide and provides accurate real-time geocoding data. Additionally, it’s also a reverse geocoding API and supports batch geocoding requests as well. The geocode API provides results in JSON format and is highly scalable.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the difference between geocoding and geolocation?
Geocoding means converting the physical location or description of a location into geographical coordinates, whereas geolocation means finding the location of an internet-connected electronic device.
Is geocoding accurate?
It depends on which tool you’re using for geocoding addresses. Some tools like ipstack provide highly accurate location data.
Is there any free geocode API?
ipstack comes with a free plan that gives you 100 requests per month to find the location data of any IP address.