Geocoding Canada

By Jeff Koncz

When you are developing applications that need geocoding, you have many options for handling U.S.addresses.But what about other countries? Many countries do not have a standard system for gathering and storing the street data required for geocoding, so little is available.Canada is a country that does have good data.Let me show you how to add Canadian geocoding to your web apps using GeoPinpoint, a product from Desktop Mapping Technologies, Inc..

GeoPinpoint is an ActiveX control that enables you to get the x/y coordinates for a standard mailing address.Matching is done against a Microsoft Access database based on their CanMap street data line.

The price for GeoPinpoint ActiveX is $15,000 Canadian, which includes the georeference database for all of Canada.Smaller geographic areas are available upon request.

Installation is straightforward.GeoPinpoint uses a good installation program that will register the OCX and put all support files in their correct places.You will have to manually copy the geo-reference database(s) to your hard drive.The only thing that bothered me was that it installed a sample Visual Basic application without asking me.I talked with Desktop Mapping Technologies about this and they will set this as an option for future releases.

Here are the minimum system requirements:

  • Intel 486 or 100% compatible.
  • Microsoft Windows 95 or Windows NT 4.0 or later.
  • 60 to 900Mb of free disk space, depending on installed Geo-reference Databases.
  • Target Database must be in MS-ACCESS 97 or later.
You also must have Internet Information Server (IIS) 4.0 for the tutorial because we are creating a web application using Active Server Pages and VBScript.

System used for development:

  • PII 450, 128MB Ram, WinNT 4.0 SP5, IIS 4.0

Our application will geocode a single address entered into an HTML form.Take a look at it, then come back here.

[ Open Geocoder ]

You can see that using GeoPinpoint is very simple and straightforward.You could easily adapt the source address to be pulled from a database and then batch process thousands of addresses.I used this approach to geocode all the Canadian companies in our Company Directory.

Please note that GeoPinpoint is also available for UNIX.Their website does not say too much about it, so contact Desktop Mapping Technologies if you want to know more, such as requirements and what flavors of UNIX are supported.

This is a great product.The object structure and all the properties make sense.It is extremly easy to use, runs fast, and installation is simple.

Please email me with any questions.

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Published Wednesday, February 16th, 2000

Written by Jeff Koncz



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