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Quality assessment of online street and rooftop geocoding services

Roongpiboonsopit, D and Karimi, HA (2010) Quality assessment of online street and rooftop geocoding services. Cartography and Geographic Information Science, 37 (4). 301 - 318. ISSN 1523-0406

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The widespread use of Internet-based mapping and geospatial analysis has caused an increase in the demand for online geocoding services. Although such services provide convenience, low (or free) cost and immediate solutions, their characteristics, sometimes, overshadow the expectation of producing quality of geocoded results. In recent years, several geocoding techniques have emerged, including rooftop geocoding, but they have yet to receive much attention in the literature. This paper examines and compares the quality of online rooftop and street geocoding services based on match rates and positional accuracy. Six geocoding services by five providers (i.e., Microsoft Virtual Earth, Google,, MapQuest, and Yahoo!) were evaluated using addresses in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Results of the comparison indicate that rooftop geocoding produces slightly lower match rates but significantly higher positional accuracy than street geocoding. The hybrid service, which combines the two techniques, produces match rates as high as other street geocoding services but improves in positional accuracy close to the level of rooftop geocoding. Geocoding services employing reference databases with similar quality trend to produce compatible match rates and positional accuracy. This paper examines the sensitivity of different address types on geocoding quality. The results reveal that both rooftop and street geocoding produce high match rates and high accuracy for residential addresses. However, positional accuracies of agricultural and industrial address types are not very reliable due to the small sample sizes. With these, it is recommended to use online rooftop geocoding services if high positional accuracy is the priority, use street geocoding if high match rate is the priority, and use the hybrid approach if both high match rates and high positional accuracy are required.


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Item Type: Article
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Roongpiboonsopit, D
Karimi, HAhkarimi@pitt.eduHKARIMI0000-0001-5331-5004
Date: 1 October 2010
Date Type: Publication
Journal or Publication Title: Cartography and Geographic Information Science
Volume: 37
Number: 4
Page Range: 301 - 318
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1559/152304010793454318
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Information Sciences > Information Science
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 1523-0406
Date Deposited: 05 Jul 2011 15:34
Last Modified: 11 Apr 2020 01:55


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