Evaluating a custom address locator built from public data to improve geocoding results

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Issue Date
2023-12
Authors
Ly, Vinh
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Abstract
In addressing the limitations of online geocoding services, particularly in rural, remote, and newly developed areas, this study focused on developing and evaluating a custom address locator using public data for British Columbia, Canada. The study was proposed to achieve three objectives: Identify and evaluate suitable data sources from various levels of government and Statistics Canada to create an address locator. The evaluation criteria focused on public availability, essential attributes, currency, and supported formats. Build a custom address locator to improve geocoding results. The custom locator was built using multiple datasets with different geometry types, allowing for a single locator that can search for address point locations, interpolated street locations, and points of interest. Evaluate the quality of the geocoding results from the custom locator and Google Maps, focusing on match rate and spatial accuracy in various geographical settings, including urban and rural areas. The custom locator performed well compared to Google Geocoding API in match rate and spatial accuracy, particularly in rural areas. In urban settings, the custom locator maintained a competitive accuracy level, suggesting its broad applicability across different geographical contexts. These results highlight the potential of locally tailored geocoding solutions, leveraging public datasets, to surpass conventional online services in accuracy and reliability. The study contributes to a deeper understanding of geocoding processes and underscores the value of custom geocoding tools in improving geocoding services within British Columbia and potentially other similar regions.
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