HERE Geocoder News: Starting 2015 with new features, country improvements and map updates

05 February 2015

The winter months are great to go out and enjoy the snow ... or stay warm and write code. And that is exactly what we did in the Geocoder team. This week we released a new version of the Geocoder API with fresh maps, new features, and country improvements.


Distance Markers

Another item we added is the output of Distance Markers information to reverse geocoding results. With this we are better supporting connected car, e-call, and fleet management use cases. Let me give you an example. Let's say you are driving down a lonely highway and your car breaks down or you are even involved in an accident. Resolving your car's location into "I-94, Sanders, MT 59076, United States" is not very precise and a dispatcher will have a hard time sending help to you quickly. This is where the Distance Markers data product comes into play. It is a representation of distance marker signage along highways. For example on a highway connecting two cities that are 300 miles (or kilometers) apart, these signs will let you know where mile or kilometer 1, 2, 3… 300 is located along the highway. A reverse geocoding response can now include nearby distance markers, direction, and distance to each from the input position. Use the following parameters in a reverse geocoding request: mode=retrieveAddresses&additionaldata=includeDistanceMarkers,true&prox=[latitude, longitude, radius]. Click to run the example reverse geocoding request.

Using our example above "I-94 E MM 78.14 - I-94, Sanders, MT 59076, United States" gives a dispatcher a very precise location to act on.
This of course only works where distance marker information is available. This is currently the case for selected roads in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the USA.

Address Details

We built an option to include address details like language information and street name details in the results. The language information helps users who want to get results in another language than the local language. While country, state, and selected city names are often available in translated languages, not all address details are. If you are searching for "Calle Aqua" in Seville and you want the results back in English, the label in the result for this road will be "Calle Agua, 41004 Seville (Seville), Spain" – a mix of Spanish and English. Our map content doesn't have a translation for "Calle Aqua" to "Water Street" and it doesn't make sense on street level in Spain. But for the country, state, and city names it has English translations. Now with the optional address details output a language indicator is included for each address element. To use the feature simply add the additional parameter value combination "locationattributes=(one of dt, addressDetails, all). You can see this in the example below. What you can also see there is the also new output of the street name details like base name, street type, prefix, suffix, direction. Providing this information helps customers understanding the normalization of addresses and guides them on how to format, display, or store an address.

addressDetails: {
         countryCode: "ESP",
         country: {
            value: "Spain",
            language: "en"
         state: {
            value: "Andalucia",
            language: "en"
         county: {
            value: "Seville",
            language: "en"
         city: {
            value: "Seville",
            language: "en"
         district: {
            value: "Santa Cruz",
            language: "es"
         street: {
            value: "Calle Agua",
            language: "es"
         streetDetails: {
            baseName: "AGUA",
            streetType: "CALLE",
            streetTypeBefore: true,
            streetTypeAttached: false
         postalCode: "41004"

Click to run an example request for the above example

Normalize Street

Last but not least we also added an option to return normalized street and admin names in Geocoder responses. Quite a few roads have more than one name. To avoid confusion on the user side the Geocoder returns the variant the user requested in his search request. Consumers that search for "1260 Avenue of the Americas, New York" expect a result that reflects their input. But in address validation use case the preference is to get results with the normalized name, i.e. the officially preferred or postal name. For the example above the normalized result is actually "1260 6th Ave, New York". To get normalized names with Geocoder API responses please use the following additional request parameter "additionaldata=normalizeNames,true". Click to run the example request


In Singapore postal codes are on a very granular level often describing a single address unit. We integrated the full Singapore postal codes and linked them to our Point Addressing data. This now allows users to search for either or a combination of postal code, street, and house number and always get an address plus the full postal code back in the response.
Remember that in Hong Kong it is common to use building names with or without address information to search for a location? That is why we had added over 100,000 names of buildings/locations across 39 non-business POI categories to the Geocoder's address search index earlier last year. Now we also added a display coordinate to these POI location results. Now these locations are displayed closer to the buildings instead of just at street level.

For Australia we improved the house number parsing of complex unit/house number notations and by this increased the Geocoder's match quality and accuracy. Another optimization we implemented is a preference of address results from central districts over results that are outside of the city center.

We hope this inspired you to use HERE Geocoder for your geocoding needs. There are several ways to get started. Read more about the Geocoder highlights or dive right into Geocoder API documentation.

Free as well as paid plans for the Geocoder API are available, for details please visit the Plans page where you'll also find a way to get in touch via the contact form.