One of the first steps in any OpenCounter workflow is choosing a location. Users are able to either type an address or drop a point on a map to indicate the location of their proposed or existing business.
Geocoding is the process of reading a street address (like "1 City Hall Square, Boston, MA 02201"), and finding a latitude-longitude point on a map (like [-71.0580, 42.3605]).
Reverse geocoding is the process of finding an address from a given point.
Geocoding and reverse geocoding are performed by a geocoder, which is a piece of software that knows how to convert between address and point.
OpenCounter provides three options for geocoding. We can configure your address search to use one of these options.
Why provide options?
Why not just use one geocoder?
Geocoding is as much art as science, requiring both sophisticated math and judgment calls on the part of the software and its designers. As such, geocoders can differ in behavior and performance, even given the same geographical area. Highly urbanized and data-rich areas typically experience more accurate and consistent geocoding, while rural areas and areas about which there is less data can see wider fluctuations.
You may find that your city responds best to one geocoder, or that there's no noticeable difference between the three.