Location Intelligence | Pitney Bowes

Four Critical Considerations for Sourcing and Leveraging Geodata

Close to 80 percent of data produced today has a location component. That means one of the most important questions data can answer is “where?” Getting that wrong happens more often than you think, which can be a costly mistake.

For example, the FCC reports that more accurate location data could save thousands of lives annually. According to their report, “Fifty-four percent of 911 professionals said that the latitude and longitude data provided by carriers is ‘regularly’ inaccurate.”i Check out this Last Week Tonight segment to learn more. 

This is just one glaring example. The risk is broad, cutting across many industries and applications. And while APIs allow you to source data in a timely way, it’s important to understand the source of that data, how it is compiled and maintained, and how frequently it is updated.


Boost your precision, boost your results.

The quality of your outcomes depends on the quality of your data.

Every year, more than half a million new businesses open and within a year, approximately 20 percent of those new businesses closeii. In 2015, the USPS processed 37M address changesiii. The next time you ‘check-in’ on a social app, see how many inaccurate and obsolete choices are offered for your location. If you want your data to be complete, timely and precise, you need to carefully develop and continuously improve data quality.

The APIs you choose make a difference. To optimize inputs and outcomes, you’ll need to harness the power of “where”. Here are some helpful hints on how and why this is so important.


Get coordinated with geocoding first.

Location provides the most consistent way to link people, places and things. While other things may change, the locations themselves stay the same. However, the stuff that defines locations can get messy. Addresses are often inaccurate or incomplete, and boundaries, such as ZIP codes and tax jurisdictions, change frequently.

For reliable location data, your data sources should add fixed coordinates to each address (a process called geocoding). Geocodes provide a solid point of reference despite the shifting landscape. They’re the foundation for ensuring the accuracy of related data. They make it easy to connect across datasets and contribute to data quality.


Be purposeful.

You have specific objectives for your applications and workflows. You shouldn’t have to rely on data that only approximates the purpose you have in mind. Nor should you have to spend a lot of time searching for what you need.

Critical decisions require fast, precise inputs. Purpose-built APIs that provide specific, distinctive datasets will help you to eliminate guesswork and workarounds. Well-crafted APIs save time and can help to ensure that you’re getting the insight you require.


Choose a data partner.

The quality of your results depends on the quality of the data behind the APIs you choose.  Things change, and often the risk associated with errors can be high.

Curation is vital to keeping your data as current, complete and accurate as possible.

Providers should deliver support and detailed documentation on location-based data sources, not just ‘how to’ content. Choose a partner that’s committed to caring for both its data and its clients, and you’ll smooth your way to quicker, better outcomes.

Delivering on the promise

Pitney Bowes is an industry leader in geocoding, geodata and Location Intelligence, and our APIs are now available in the AWS Marketplace. With 80% of the Fortune 100 using our software in the most critical use cases, the data behind our APIs is carefully built for quality and purpose and backed with curation and support. This data is also increasingly used in mobile and IoT (Internet of Things) applications worldwide. 


With thousands of unique datasets spanning hundreds of geographies, we provide powerful GeoEnrichment worldwide.


Get the Pitney Bowes advantage

With Pitney Bowes API and AWS infrastructure like Beanstalk you can quickly build and deploy a highly scalable application with location intelligence functionality. To illustrate how this work, we will explain below how one would build a Java web app that utilizes the Geocode APIs for converting an address into X,Y coordinates for precise locating, something you might do to add more context to your customer or prospect list.


Our AWS Marketplace Foundation

Before you begin, you’ll need to visit AWS Marketplace and Subscribe the GeoCode API from Pitney Bowes. Once you’re subscribed, you’ll want to create a new application using the Java web application template. To get started:

  1. Go to Pitney Bowes GeoCode API on AWS Marketplace
  2. Click on Continue to Subscribe to GeoCode API
  3. Subscribe to Pitney Bowes GeoCode API
  4. Setup Your Account
  5. Sign Up for GeoCode API on Pitney Bowes Registration Page
  6. Get your API KEY and SECRET to access the Geocode API
  7. Create a sample Java web application project.

You will have to download LocationIntelligenceSDK for Java. This SDK facilitates you to build innovative location-rich Java-based apps using Location Intelligence APIs. Include LocationIntelligenceSDK into the Java Starter Project.

Update SimpleServlet class in the Java Starter project as here.

Now that our code is complete, we can deploy .war file on the AWS beanstalk. Once our application is deployed we can see the response message where we are getting the Geocoded Address response back by hitting the servlet with address (https://< DNS >/SimpleServlet?mainAddressLine=<value>&country=<value>).


What’s Next?

Combining AWS and Pitney Bowes APIs is a great way to enrich an application with location data, or to build a completely new application from the ground up. Now that you’ve got the basics, the sky’s the limit!

You can visit GeoCode documentation to get into details of features offered by APIs here.

iAssociation of Public Safety Communications Officials Survey, as quoted in Federal Communication Commission Docket 07-114, 2015

iihttp://www.bls.gov/bdm/us_age_naics_00_table7.txt, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Establishment Age and Survival Data, Table 7. Survival of private sector establishments by opening year