Geocoding is the name of the process that puts your data onto the map, so to speak. Geocoding creates and captures an x and y coordinate for every record on a database. This facilitates the overlay of the dataset onto the map, allowing for geospatial analysis of the data.
Geocoding – Automated:
Automated geocoding runs a database through a geocoding engine, allocating x and y coodinates to each record based on its physical address fields. For each record a search is run on the street number, street name, suburb, town, province and postal code and the data records are populated with x- and y-coordinate fields.
Automated geocoding is very fast, and the resulting accuracy of the x,y coordinates is highly dependant on how clean the data is. If you suspect the integrity of the data capture method manual geocoding is recommended.
Geocoding – Manual:
This method of geocoding is obviously slower than the automated method, however it is the recommended method for less clean data. Data that has been generated through on-the-ground-capture by semi literate operational staff should rather be geocoded manually.
Large databases may require a combination of automated and manual geocoding.