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What are Geocodes?

Understanding the importance of geocodes and their use cases

Updated 24 Jul 2020

Geocodes are the GPS coordinates of a location. A geocode consists of longitude and latitude units.

What is Geocoding?

Geocoding is the process of converting an address into geo-spatial data, by showing the coordinates for that address.

For instance, the postcode EC1A 2BN, has a longitude of -0.104733 and a latitude of 51.516947.

Searching the latitude and longitude first to receive an address is known as reverse geocoding.

Ideal Postcodes provides a free, open-source sister API called Postcodes.io that allows conversion between postcodes and geocodes.

Postcodes.io has a public API, which does not require authentication or payment. It also can be hosted reliably, quickly and cost effectively using Docker containers.

How Can Businesses Benefit from Geocoding?

Companies can use geocodes for various reasons depending on their needs. Below are a few examples:

  • Shipping companies need to transport commodities and cargo to a number of different locations. Using geocodes can help the agents and drivers deliver the merchandise to the accurate place. This will save time and money on fuel and maintenance costs.
  • Insurance companies need to make risks assessments on a daily basis. Geocoding can help assess potential earthquake risks or other natural disasters. Analysing the area properly would allow an insurance company to price its coverage appropriately.
  • Breakdown services need geocodes to be able to locate vehicles. There may be situations where a vehicle is parked in a rural area, or an unknown location.
  • Ambulance services need to travel to save lives. Getting the correct longitude and latitude would help them reach victims promptly in the correct location.
  • Construction companies work with many industrial sites which have not been allocated an address yet. They require geocodes to locate the precise land spot.
  • Banks can use geocodes to prevent credit card fraud. It will show exact transaction locations and if a card was stolen, they can follow the purchases and investigate further.

Geocoding as a Marketing Tool

Getting your hands on geocodes is a great way to improve targeted marketing strategies.

New Customers and Tailored Messages

Finding new clusters of deliveries can help discover new areas to focus on. Businesses can attract new customers and plan products according to the area. It is also a perfect way to find new suitable locations for stores or distribution centres.