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    Comparative Analysis of the Best Geocoding and Reverse Geocoding Services

    We've already talked a lot about geolocation tools and their most sought-after providers. However, the topic is too extensive and important, and a single article can't address all its key issues (at least, properly). And this time, we're going to discuss geocoding and reverse geocoding and the companies offering these services.

    Difference between direct and reverse geocoding

    Let's deal with the basic terms.

    Direct geocoding refers to the transformation of a certain address into geographic coordinates. That is, we have a certain address (city, street, house number, etc.), and we need to get a geographical point on the map. So far, everything is clear, right? 

    But what is reverse geocoding then? And what is its difference with a direct one?

    Reverse geocoding is the transformation of coordinates to an address or place name. As you see, we’re talking about a process opposite to direct geocoding.

    A system that provides geocoding is called a geocoding service (or just geocoder).

    To assess the effectiveness of a geocoder, you need to use two basic parameters:

    • The size of the database. The fuller the base, the more accurate and detailed the response to the request will be. With a large database, the address can be specified up to the house even in a small town. 

    • Geocoding speed. The speed of a geocoder is determined by the number of requests processed per second. The more requests the geocoder is able to handle, the more users the system can service. 

    Direct and reverse geocoding examples (or rather, how GPS monitoring systems use these tools) are everywhere: we take advantage of such services when building routes, filling in reports, assigning tasks, sending notifications, and so on.

    Of course, the most famous provider is Google. And such glory is well deserved: Google maps' reverse geocoding tools (as well as direct ones) are off the charts, above and beyond. 

    But Google has become quite expensive... what to do if you're scant in the budget?

    Of course, the solution is to find a decent alternative. 

    Let's talk about this at length.

    Best Geocoding and Reverse Geocoding Services 

    Now it's high time we discussed the most popular platforms providing services in question (compared to convincing Google (reverse) geocoding examples).

    Our Agilie experts have done a great deal of work, thoroughly testing these platforms. And we're happy to share with you our findings and observations.

    We've analyzed providers of geocoding and reverse geocoding tools by the following parameters... 

    Coverage

    This parameter is quite clear and reflects the completeness of the address database. That is, what territory does the company cover? As you understand, such a factor is of great importance.

    Restrictions and Limits

    Before ordering certain services, you're likely to want to find out if there are any restrictions (or limitations of all sorts) accompanying the usage process. Well, we're ready to answer your question, so that you'll know what you're going to face.

    Pricing

    For many, the price issue is a matter of priority, and we could not abandon it in the process of our research. 

    Can one use the batch reverse geocoding and geocoding services for free? Are there trial versions? What packages are offered? There are a lot of questions of the same kind, and we've made every effort to touch upon each of them.

    Integration convenience

    Now we're talking about a rather subjective parameter: namely, our assessment of such a factor as integration convenience.

    The rating includes the following components:

    • open-source availability: of course, the available code facilitates the system integration process;

    • mobile SDK (iOS, Android): it’s about whether the company has thought through an effective way of integrating technology for different platforms (that is, geocoding and reverse geocoding for iOS, Android);

    • web js / ruby / PHP modules. This means working with the web version.

    • examples. Availability of geocoding and reverse geocoding examples (regarding integration and even further usage) make the whole process much easier. 

    • good explained tech documentation. We think this item doesn’t require further clarification.

    • any other additional parameters worth mentioning.

    The maximum rating is 10. 

    Access to support

    Almost all providers claim around-the-clock support, but do they really? We've checked whether their promises are true. 

    SLA

    SLA stands for Service Level Agreement. It is an external document (valid between the customer and the contractor), describing the parameters of the provided service and their allowable fluctuations (SLA level). For example, in the agreement, it can be stated that a support specialist has the right to respond within 4 hours, and not instantly.

    The SLA also contains information on when the service is considered to be completed (when the contractor’s responsibility ceases).

    Geocoding and Reverse Geocoding API policy

    The next parameter concerns the services of interest (geocoding and reverse geocoding), or rather, the policy of the provider in this regard.

    Localization & Language

    The localization of the services provided and the languages supported are factors which also characterize the level of the company and the convenience of working with it.

    Stackoverflow Requests

    This item on our list is a kind of popularity indicator derived from the number of requests on the stackoverflow site, a system of questions and answers about programming, developed by Joel Spolsky and Jeff Atwood in 2008. StackOverflow is one of the hundred most visited online resources rated by Alexa.

    As with other systems of the sort, Stack Overflow provides the possibility to rate questions and answers, which raises or lowers the reputation of registered users (to assess the competence of the answers).

     In one of our articles, we've already touched on the issue of the location-based services providers and described each of them in detail: its history, features and so on. Follow the link to learn more!

    Now let's talk more specifically.

    Mapbox

    The service began its history in 2010; during this time, the company has achieved great popularity: Mapbox (reverse) geocoding tools are increasingly in demand.

    Restrictions and Limits

    The standard limit includes about 600 requests per 1 minute. However, if the mentioned number doesn't meet your needs, the Mapbox company offers to contact its representatives and discuss the ways to increase the default rate. It's quite possible for large corporate clients.

    Pricing

    A big advantage of Mapbox is the availability of a trial period for each service provided. In addition, there is the possibility of auto discount with an increase in the number of users.

    If we talk about pricing, the cost depends on active users. 

    mapbox reverse geocoding

    Integration convenience

    Now let's talk about the Mapbox (reverse) geocoding system in connection with our estimate of the convenience of its integration.

    • open-source availability: there is only a beta version (mapBox SDK). 1.5 points;

    • mobile SDK (iOS): available. 1 point;

    • mobile SDK (Android): avaliable. 2 p.;

    • web js / ruby / PHP modules: : available. 1.5 p.;

    • examples: available. 1 p.

    • good explained tech documentation: available. 1.5 p. 

    Final rating: 8.5 points.

    Access to support

    To access support, the user should take a look at a special table. We've used it in the process of our analysis of the system and received an answer after 3 days.

    Additional parameters:

    • API policy: geocoding and Reverse Geocoding services are both free;

    • SLA: 99.9% availability:

    • Stackoverflow Requests:

      • Mapbox: 17472

      • Map box: 10053

      • Mapbox iOS: 207

      • Map box iOS: 1568

    ArcGIS

    ArcGIS managed to conquer its niche in the geocoding and reverse geocoding market and find loyal customers who appreciated all the advantages of its services.

    Pricing

    google reverse geocoding

    Integration convenience

    So, how easy, in our opinion, is the process of integrating ArcGIS direct and reverse geocoding tools? Let's get a look!

    • open-source availability: available. 1 point.

    • mobile SDK (iOS): available. 2 points.

    • mobile SDK (Android): available. 2 p.

    • web js / ruby / PHP modules: available, 1.5 p.

    • examples: available, 1 p.

    • good explained tech documentation: available, 1.5 p.

    Final rating: 9 points.

    Access to support

    The company offers a special form to contact support, but ArcGIS team didn't respond to our request. You might be more lucky, though.

    Additional parameters:

    • SLA: all SLA conditions are here

    • Stackoverflow Requests:

      • ArcGIS: 6,523;

      • Arc Gis: 72;

    Travel Time platform

    Discussing (reverse) geocoding Android/iOS examples and methods of their implementation, we cannot fail to pay attention to the website with a very promising name Travel Time platform. What exactly does it offer to its clients? 

    Coverage

    The company claims that the scope of its services covers the whole world. Wherever you are, you can feel free to refer to its geocoding and reverse geocoding tools.

    Restrictions and Limits

    If you’re willing to pay, you won’t meet any restrictions or limitations (let's talk about the issue price a little lower). You just need to find the option you like most.

    Pricing

    As we’ve said above, choose a package of services convenient to you, and use geocoding and reverse geocoding completely free (namely, without limitations).

    The most affordable option is the basic package for £ 600 per month (100K searches per month). The most expensive option costs £ 7,500 per month and increases the monthly search limit to 2 million.

    Integration convenience

    • open-source availability: zero points;

    • mobile SDK (iOS, Android): zero points;

    • web js / ruby / php modules: available, 1 p.;

    • examples: available, 1 p.;

    • good explained tech documentation: available, 1 p.;

    Final rating: 3 points.

    Access to support

    The company's support service pleased us with its promptness: we were answered within 4 hours. This is impressive, isn't it?

     

    reverse geocoding

    Additional parameters:

    • SLA: 98.5%;

    • Geocoding and Reverse Geocoding API policy: both free;

    • Localization & Language: only English is available;

    • Stackoverflow Requests: no matches found for tags (all tags relate to other topics).

    TomTom

    Another item on our list of providers of geocoding and reverse geocoding services is TomTom.

    Coverage

    TomTom offers its services in almost all points of the globe. Judge for yourself: Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe, Middle East Africa... To find out the coverage area more precisely, follow the link.

    Restrictions and Limits

    5 calls per second: that's what they provide you with by default. However, if such a limit doesn't satisfy your needs, you can always sign a contract with more convenient conditions.

    Pricing

    what is reverse geocoding

    Many of you might be interested in the process of counting 1 API transaction. So, 1 API request is equivalent to 1 transaction. However, in the case of batch (reverse) geocoding, the situation is slightly different: the number of transactions is equivalent to the number of individual requests.

    Integration convenience

    • open-source availability: zero points;

    • mobile SDK (iOS): zero points;

    • mobile SDK (Android): 2 p.;

    • web js / ruby / php modules: 1 p.;

    • examples: avaliable, 1 p.;

    • good explained tech documentation: 2 p.

    Final rating: 6 points.

    Access to support

    Faced with certain problems in the process of using direct and reverse geolocation services, you clearly want to be able to get help from the provider. We’ve checked the company's support team in this respect: we were answered, yes, but only after a week and a half. Is it a lot or is it a little? It's up you to judge!

    Additional parameters:

    • SLA: 99,9%;

    • Geocoding and Reverse Geocoding API policy: both free;

    • Localization & Language: unfortunately, they don’t personalize their services for a particular location;

    • Stackoverflow Requests. TomTom: 472. Alas, the requests are intertwined with other directions, so it’s difficult to name a certain number.

    Jawgmaps

    If you ‘re interested in effective work with geolocation data, then Jawgmaps is a good solution to your problem.

    Coverage

    The company is proud to provide its direct and reverse geocoding services in the USA, Asia, and Europe (including Eastern).

    Restrictions and Limits

    All restrictions are associated with the chosen tariff plan: the more you pay, the more discretion you get. However, the next paragraph of our review will clarify the situation.

    Pricing

    google reverse geocoding limit

    Integration convenience

    • open-source availability: zero points;

    • mobile SDK (iOS): zero points;

    • mobile SDK (Android): zero p.;

    • web js / ruby / PHP modules: zero p.;

    • examples: available, 1 p.;

    • good explained tech documentation: available, 2 p.

    Final rating: 3 points.

    Access to support

    As in the case with TomTom described above, the answer to our request came only after a week and a half. Sometimes such a period is too much (say, if you need a reverse geocoding tool right now and you have difficulty using it).

    Localization & Language

    If we talk about languages, the company offers a very convenient mode of operation. Using the tool you need (be it bulk reverse geocoding or something else), you can be sure that the result will be displayed in the language of your location (the national language of a particular country). Of course, there are some exceptions, but, in general, the system is working properly.

    Additional parameters:

    • SLA: 99,9%;

    • Geocoding and Reverse Geocoding API policy: both free;

    • Stackoverflow Requests.

      • Jawgmaps: 0.

    Sygic Maps

    The company's achievements are impressive: more than a dozen years in the market, several thousand eminent clients, an excellent level of geolocation services, and so on. There is something to be proud of!

    Pricing

    To determine the pricing policy, select the operating system you need (let’s say, you need direct or reverse geocoding for Android) and the region. The cost of services varies depending on these parameters.

    Integration convenience

    • open-source availability: 1 point; 

    • mobile SDK (iOS): zero points; 

    • mobile SDK (Android): zero p.; 

    • web js / ruby / php modules : 1 p.;

    • examples: avaliable, 1 p.; 

    • good explained tech documentation: avaliable, 2 p.

    Final rating: 5 points.

    Access to support

    If we compare Sygic Maps with 2 previous providers, we can say that its support team works more quickly: we received an answer to our request after 24 hours (which is a good indicator if we recall the one and a half week waiting in the cases of TomTom and JawgMaps!).

    Additional parameters:

    • SLA: 99,99%;

    • Stackoverflow Requests

      • Sygic Maps: 31.

    Here

    The company's journey started in 2016. Its scope of the geolocation services provided is truly extensive and includes geocoding and reverse geocoding either. And even the name itself (Here) is very eloquent and reflects the brand's essence.

    Coverage

    The coverage area is truly huge, and you can recite the available countries indefinitely. Let us just say that this list includes, among other things, Russia, Ukraine, and Poland. Follow the link to find out all the details.

    Pricing

    A big advantage of the company's services is the opportunity to use the free trial period (by registering as a developer on the HERE website).

    bulk reverse geocoding

    Integration convenience

    • open-source availability: zero points; 

    • mobile SDK (iOS): 2 points; 

    • mobile SDK (Android): 2 p.;  

    • web js / ruby / PHP modules: 1 p.; 

    • examples: available, 1 p.; 

    • good explained tech documentation: available, 2 p. 

    Final rating: 8 points.

    Access to support

    The support team works impressively quickly: we received our answer within 24 hours. Assuredly, the HERE owners want the users of their direct and reverse geocoding services to be fully satisfied.

    Additional parameters:

    • SLA: 99,9%;

    • Geocoding and Reverse Geocoding API policy: both free;

    • Stackoverflow Requests:

      • here-API: 1696.

    LocationIQ

    Our list of geolocation service providers is coming to an end, and it remains to analyze a company called LocationIQ. Let's do it right away!

    Coverage

    Speaking of the coverage area, we have to mention 2 key aspects:

    1. street recognition works well everywhere in the world;

    2. recognition of individual buildings is only available in a number of countries (in most demanded ones).

    Restrictions and Limits

    API restrictions are depended on the selected service package. And the company is open to discuss the issues of limits in a more individual way.

    However, when it comes to how conditions are comparable with Google (reverse) geocoding limits, the result won't be in favor of the LocationIQ company (fewer points of interest and lack of a traffic API).

    Pricing

    As already mentioned, the pricing policy is quite flexible. Overall, you need to pay about $600 a month to access 5 million daily requests. Of course, more needs lead to more financial investment. Fair enough!

    Integration convenience

    • open-source availability: zero points; 

    • mobile SDK (iOS): zero points; 

    • mobile SDK (Android): zero points; 

    • web js / ruby / php modules: 1 p.; 

    • examples: available, 1 p.; 

    • good explained tech documentation: available, 2 p. 

    Final rating: 4 points.

    Access to support

    We were really impressed with the efficiency of the LocationIQ support team. An extended response within an hour is a great result, isn't it?

    Additional parameters:

    • SLA: 99,95%;

    • Geocoding and Reverse Geocoding API policy: both free;

    • Stackoverflow Requests: 

      • LocationIQ: 10.

    Conclusion

    We hope our review turned out to be useful for you, and you decided on the choice of the best provider (in exchange for expensive Google reverse geocoding tools). If you have any questions left or need the help of our experts, please contact us without delay!

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