Understanding the PB Cloud Geocoding Service found in MapInfo Pro 64-bit

Products affected: MapInfo Pro™
MapInfo Pro™ Monthly Journal
Geocoding for all! Introduction to the PB Cloud Geocoding Service 
User-added imageNew for MapInfo Pro™ v16, we have provided a limited amount of free access to our cloud geocoding service that provides geocoding for over 140 countries worldwide. With a simple signup process that takes only a minute, you can be geocoding almost immediately. And you can easily upgrade to a paid subscription to get additional geocoding capacity. This article will show you how to effectively use these new capabilities.

Signing up 

Click on the PRO tab in MapInfo Pro and then on the Geocoding page. From there, just click the Sign Up Now button to get started. After submitting sign up information, users receive an email that contains  license information which can be used to activate the geocoding subscription. 

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Once your subscription is activated, users will see some additional information and options become available. The credit meter will indicate how many credits are available and also have the ability to upgrade the subscription level. 

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How credits work 

With a MapInfo Pro v16 license, users receive a number of free credits to use for geocoding. A standard license comes with 1000 credits per month and advanced licenses come with 2000 per month. Paid plans are available that provide for an additional 10,000 or 20,000 credits per month. Pricing and more info can be found by clicking the Upgrade Plan link.

** Note that unused credits do not roll over to the next month. 

Every MapInfo Pro user can sign up for their own account. It is not possible to combine accounts together, each user must have their own. Organizations can share credits on different computers by using the same license info (Customer Key & Secret) from the registration email. 

Getting more credits on the subscription plan 

To get additional credits, click on the Upgrade Plan button which will bring users to our Geocoding web page where instructions can be found for purchasing a subscription. Once purchased, the account will be automatically upgraded and should be reflected in the credit meter on the Geocoding tab. There is no additional configuration required to use the additional credits. Subscriptions can be cancelled at any time. 

Interactive Geocoding - Find Address

This function provides for the ability to interactively enter a single address and then mark the location on the map. This is performed using the Find Address function on the MAP tab in the Selection group. Users have a choice of markers and other match settings in the Options section. 

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Geocode Server (Accuracy): 

When choosing the Street/Rooftop level option, the level of accuracy is the best that Pitney Bowes has to offer for any given locale. In some countries this is an individual address point dataset while in others it is an interpolated street address location. For country wise detail, please refer  to 

If choosing the Basic City/Postal level, users will get a lower level of geographic resolution. In this case, users only need to provide the city, state/province or postal code components of the address. Choose this option if one does not need higher resolution as it will minimize the amount of credits that are consumed. 

Batch Geocoding

This function provides for the ability to geocode an entire table or selection at one time. This is accomplished using the Geocode using Server function on the SPATIAL tab. Tip: It is a good practice to first geocode a small set of the input records and check to ensure the expected results are returned before doing the entire table. To do just a sample, select a few records from an open table browser window and then use that Selection as the input in the "Geocode from Table" field. 

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There are a number of other options available that control the outcome of the geocoding operation. Each of the important options are available as you step through the Geocoding Wizard. The options are described at a high level on the pages below. 

Accuracy (Geocode Type): 

When choosing the Street/Rooftop level option, the level of accuracy is the best that Pitney Bowes has to offer for any given locale. In some countries this is an individual address point dataset while in others it is an interpolated street address location. 

If choosing Postal centroid or Geographic centroid, users will get a lower level of geographic resolution. In this case, users should also choose the Basic option in the Geocoding Server selection, as this will minimize cost.

Input & Output Files Field Mapping 

When geocoding a table, one can insert the resulting location coordinates into the table being geocoded or create a new table to hold the results. Make sure the output table can accommodate the output coordinates. MapInfo Pro will attempt to automatically map the fields to the Longitude & Latitude fields in the output file, as shown here. Several combinations are acceptable: Long/Lat, Longitude/Latitude, X/Y, etc. 

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IMPORTANT: In order for that mapping to take place, these fields in the output table must be either of type decimal or floating and must have a number of decimal points defined for the level of precision needed: Typically, this would be 6-8 decimal places. 

If unsure, the table structure can be viewed before geocoding. The table's field structure can be viewed using the "Table Structure" feature shown here: 

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Handling Ambiguous or Incomplete Addresses (Table Options)

These options control how the geocoder will respond in the event that there are multiple matches or no matches due to some ambiguity in some of the input address. 

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Users can choose either an automatic rule or manual (interactive) mode. 

In interactive mode, users will see the dialog shown at the bottom of this page. From here users can repair the address by changing pertinent fields in the address or they can choose between the available candidates if there are multiple matches. 

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Address Matching Behavior (Common Options)

These options control how the geocoder determines there is a match on an input address, what to do in the event that there is no match (fallback) or how many candidates to display in the event that there are multiple matches.

Users can reduce multiple matches and false positives by requiring an exact match on certain address fields. The more options that are selected for exact matching:
  • the less likelihood of any ambiguity in the matches
  • the more likely records will be returned that don't match automatically
In both of these cases, users may have to address with Automatic/Interactive rules described on the previous page. There is a bit of knowledge required of the data sometimes in order to find the optimal balance that minimizes manual intervention. 

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The Fallback options are also provided so that users can still get an approximate location even if the geocoder cannot find a match on an address. 

The geographic centroid would be the centroid of the city/town or state/region. 

If one or both fallback options are selected, these will take precedence over the settings in the Table Options tab. 

The system is now ready to do a batch geocode!! 

Press the Geocode button and the process begins. If all goes well, the selected output file should show up in the list of open tables in MapInfo Pro. The data can be browsed in table form or displayed on a map. 

Don't have the latest version of MapInfo Pro?

Users can try the latest version of MapInfo Pro free for 30 days. This includes the ability to try the geocoding service detailed in this article.

Article by Eric Robinson, Principal User Experience Architect 
When not writing articles for "The MapInfo Pro" journal, Eric enjoys talking to MapInfo Pro users and working on the next MapInfo Pro release. When not working he likes skiing and hiking the beautiful Adirondack mountains of upstate New York.
The Location Intelligence (LI) API's utilize the HTTPS communication protocol. HTTPS communication is by default encrypted using Transport Layer Security.

For more information, users can view this video found at the MapInfo YouTube channel.
UPDATED:  May 15, 2019