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Geocoding: Adding Another Dimension to Non-Spatial Data

Presenter 1
Peter Peller
University of Calgary

The big difference between non-spatial and spatial data is the absence of geographic coordinates; however, non-spatial data frequently does have some kind of geographic reference embedded in it such as an address, postal code, place name, etc. Geocoding is the process by which non-spatial data with this type of implicit geography is converted into geographic coordinates or linked to a geographic space. Geocoding enriches non-spatial data because it provides researchers with additional possibilities for visualization and analysis. This paper reviews the current methods being used to geocode both structured and unstructured data as well as some of the tools, including open source ones. It also documents the ways in which researchers are repurposing their original non-spatial data through geocoding. Finally, it discusses the importance of geocoding as a service offered by data centers and libraries.

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