Gary Gale

Geocoding; the Missing Link for OSM?

Geocoding isn't easy and yet it's vital to the success of OSM


So many uses of maps need some form of geocoding. Geocoding is simple, just strip out known stop words and look up the place or address in a gazetteer and hey presto, instant coordinates. The same applies for reverse geocoding, it's easy. Right? But it's not easy and it's not trivial. While OSM continues to make massive strides towards being the definitive source of open mapping data, geocoding has ... languished a bit.

This talk will tell you why geocoding isn't easy. It will tell you about why once you can geocode in one country it doesn't mean you can automatically geocode in another country. It will also tell you about why Nomimatim isn't the only open source geocoder that's out there. And this talk may have something exciting from Lokku and OpenCage Data to announce, which may just be related to geocoding.

Geocoding shouldn't be the missing link for open maps and for OSM; this talk will tell you why.

About the author

A self-professed map addict, Gary has worked in the mapping and location space for over 20 years through a combination of luck and occasional good judgement. Currently consulting with Lokku as Geotechnologist in Residence, Gary is helping to advance open geospatial technologies and bring them to new markets. A Fellow of the RGS, he tweets about maps, writes about them and even makes them.