New option: Geocoding addresses

Background

Solve’s Report Builder provides the ability to access data directly from your Solve account, from Google Spreadsheets to easily generate powerful personalized reports and maps.

What’s new

We’ve added a unique and helpful address field option to Solve’s Report Builder called “Geocode addresses”. This option uses Google’s Geocoding API to split a single-field address into a multi-field address while simultaneously verifying the address and filling in missing fields. It also generates longitude-latitude coordinates and a map links for each address.

Benefits

With address elements accurately split into separate fields, you can meet the requirements of mass-mailing services, have more formatting flexibility when printing labels to physical addresses or mail-merging for an email campaign. This feature is even smart enough to resolve incomplete addresses, automatically and intelligently filling in the blanks where needed. With complete data, analysis and charting becoming much more accurate. Not to mention all the GPS and mapping mischief you’ll get into using longitude and latitude coordinates and Google Map links.

What is Geocoding?

Geocoding is the process of converting addresses into geographical numbers that represent a position on the planet. These numbers can accurately record hiding places for the treasure you’ll want to bury and subsequently dig and up once the pirates are taken care of. Some people even use geographical coordinates for mapping and GPS purposes.

Working within Google’s API limits

Google’s API is established to work with small sets of addresses at a time. Google imposes limits to how fast and how many geocoding requests your account can make per day. This would normally create a problem when working with larger reports, but we recognize the value of geocoding and the reality of working with larger lists and implemented a robust solution.

  1. After the report is complete and shown on the screen the “Geocode addresses” option starts geocoding addresses in the background, one-by-one, separated by a very short delay between each request. A list of 100 addresses should take less than a minute. This avoids the “bursts of request” that Google doesn’t like and makes the report available without having to wait for the address work to be complete.

  2. Google’s API limit allows you to geocode 1,000 addresses per day (this may be different for you depending on the type of account you have with them). To accommodate larger reports, Solve will cache previously converted addresses in a hidden sheet so subsequent report refreshes will only need to geocode addresses currently not in the cache yet.

    For instance, if you have a new report with 2,000 addresses, 1,000 of them will be geocoded today, then simply refresh the report tomorrow to convert the next 1,000, completing the entire set.

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