Geocoding

Approximately 85% of all databases have a geographic element. Geocoding is the process of assigning latitude and longitude (x;y coordinates) to individual records of a database based on locational data such as physical adresses. Through this process is geospatial analysis enabled.

A geocoded database can be analysed within the electronic geospatial environment against other relevant sources of information based on geography.  This functionality is what we refer to as location intelligence.

As with all systems, technological or otherwise, the quality of the output is directly correlated with the quality of the input.  The unfortunate bald fact of the matter is that in South Africa,  compromised levels of literacy among the operational staff compliment means that organisational data that is collected at the operational level is often not clean, or easily geocoded.   This is why it is important to assess data collection processes, and if necessary structure them.  This may mean providing operational staff with predefined drop down boxes for the capture of physical address data.

In the meantime dirty data can be cleaned, and geocoding levels adapted to enable the geocoding of less-than-clean data.  The important thing is that organisations dont ignore this source of valuable organisational insights, as its in the internal data that streamlining, cost saving, and wastage eliminating potential is found.