Pitney Bowes
MapInfo Pro™ Monthly Journal
Geocoding for all! Introduction to the PB Cloud Geocoding Service

Eric Robinson New for MapInfo Pro™ v16, we have provided a limited amount of free access to our cloud geocoding service that provides geocoding for over 140 countries worldwide. With a simple signup process that takes only a minute, you can be geocoding almost immediately. And you can easily upgrade to a paid subscription to get additional geocoding capacity. This article will show you how to effectively use these new capabilities.

Signing up

Click on the PRO tab in MapInfo Pro and then on the Geocoding page. From there, just click the Sign Up Now button to get started. After submitting your sign up information, you'll receive an email that contains your license information which you can use to activate your geocoding subscription.

The PRO tab

Geocoding sign up dialogs

Once your subscription is activated, you'll see some additional information and options become available. You should now see the credit meter indicating how many credits you have available and also have the ability to upgrade your subscription level.

Activated subscription

How credits work

With a MapInfo Pro v16 license, you'll receive a number of free credits to use for geocoding. A standard license comes with 1000 credits per month and advanced licenses come with 2000 per month. Paid plans are available that provide for an additional 10,000 or 20,000 credits per month. Pricing and more info can be found by clicking the Upgrade Plan link.

** Note that unused credits do not roll over to the next month.

There are two levels of geocoding accuracy that are dependent on both your needs and what is currently possible in different countries. These accuracy levels use different amounts of credits:
  • City/Postcode level -- 1 credit per table row processed
  • Street/Rooftop level - 5 credits per table row processed
Every MapInfo Pro user can sign up for their own account. It is not possible to combine accounts together, each user must have their own. Organizations can share credits on different computers by using the same license info (Customer Key & Secret) from your registration email.

Getting more credits on the subscription plan

To get additional credits, click on the Upgrade Plan button which will bring you to our Geocoding web page where you'll find instructions for purchasing a subscription. Once purchased, your account will be automatically upgraded and should be reflected in the credit meter on the Geocoding tab. There is no additional configuration required to use the additional credits. Subscriptions can be cancelled at any time.

Interactive Geocoding - Find Address

This function provides for the ability to interactively enter a single address and then mark the location on the map. This is performed using the Find Address function on the MAP tab in the Selection group. You have a choice of markers and other match settings in the Options section.

Find Address dialog

Geocode Server (Accuracy):

When choosing the Street/Rooftop level option, the level of accuracy is the best that Pitney Bowes has to offer for any given locale. In some countries this is an individual address point dataset while in others it is an interpolated street address location. For further information, read our document on the levels of geocoding accuracy available for each country.

If choosing the Basic City/Postal level, you will get a lower level of geographic resolution. In this case, you only need to provide the city, state/province or postal code components of the address. Choose this option if you do not need higher resolution as it will minimize the amount of credits that you consume.

Batch Geocoding

This function provides for the ability to geocode an entire table or selection at one time. This is accomplished using the Geocode using Server function on the SPATIAL tab. Tip: It is a good practice to first geocode a small set of the input records and check to ensure you got the expected results before doing the entire table. To do just a sample, select a few records from an open table browser window and then use that Selection as the input in the "Geocode from Table" field.

Geocode dialog

There are a number of other options available that control the outcome of the geocoding operation. Each of the important options are available as you step through the Geocoding Wizard. The options are described at a high level on the pages below.

Accuracy (Geocode Type):

When choosing the Street/Rooftop level option, the level of accuracy is the best that Pitney Bowes has to offer for any given locale. In some countries this is an individual address point dataset while in others it is an interpolated street address location. For further information, read our document on the levels of geocoding accuracy available for each country.

If choosing Postal centroid or Geographic centroid, you will get a lower level of geographic resolution. In this case, you should also choose the Basic option in the Geocoding Server selection, as this will minimize your cost.

Input & Output Files Field Mapping

When geocoding a table, you can insert the resulting location coordinates into the table that you are geocoding or create a new table to hold the results. Make sure your output table can accommodate the output coordinates. MapInfo Pro will attempt to automatically map the fields to the Longitude & Latitude fields in the output file, as shown here. Several combinations are acceptable: Long/Lat, Longitude/Latitude, X/Y, etc.

Geocode Properties dialog

IMPORTANT: In order for that mapping to take place, these fields in the output table must be either of type decimal or floating and must have a number of decimal points defined for the level of precision needed: Typically, this would be 6-8 decimal places.

If you are unsure, you can view the table structure before geocoding. The table's field structure can be viewed using the "Table Structure" feature shown here:

Table structure

Handling Ambiguous or Incomplete Addresses (Table Options)

These options control how the geocoder will respond in the event that you have multiple matches or no matches due to some ambiguity in some of the input address.

Geocode Properties-Table operations

You can choose either an automatic rule or manual (interactive) mode.

In interactive mode, you will see the dialog shown at the bottom of this page. From here you can repair the address by changing pertinent fields in the address or you can choose between the available candidates if there are multiple matches.

Interactive Geocode dialog

Address Matching Behavior (Common Options)

These options control how the geocoder determines there is a match on an input address, what to do in the event that there is no match (fallback) or how many candidates to display in the event that there are multiple matches.

You can reduce multiple matches and false positives by requiring an exact match on certain address fields. The more options that you select for exact matching:
  • the less likely you are to have any ambiguity in the matches
  • the more likely you get records that don't match automatically
In both of these cases, you may have to address with Automatic/Interactive rules described on the previous page. There is a bit of knowledge required of the data sometimes in order to find the optimal balance that minimizes manual intervention.

Geocode Properties-Common Options

The Fallback options are also provided so that you can still get an approximate location even if the geocoder cannot find a match on an address.

The geographic centroid would be the centroid of the city/town or state/region.

If one or both fallback options are selected, these will take precedence over the settings in the Table Options tab.

You are now ready to do a batch geocode!!

Press the Geocode button and off you go. If all goes well, you should see the selected output file show up in the list of open tables in MapInfo Pro. You can then browse the data in table form or display it on a map.

Don't have the latest version of MapInfo Pro?

You can try the latest version of MapInfo Pro free for 30 days. This includes the ability to try the geocoding service detailed in this article.

http://www.pitneybowes.com/us/mipro-free-trial.html

Article by Eric Robinson, Principal User Experience Architect
When not writing articles for "The MapInfo Pro" journal, Eric enjoys talking to MapInfo Pro users and working on the next MapInfo Pro release. When not working he likes skiing and hiking the beautiful Adirondack mountains of upstate New York.