Product Update: Geocoding from Pitney Bowes Business Insight - MapMarker and GeoStan

By Joe Francica

Pitney Bowes acquired both MapInfo and Group 1 in order to form Pitney Bowes Business Insight (PBBI). Each of the acquired companies provided different geocoding options. The merger created the opportunity for PBBI to rethink the company's geocoding solutions, which have included MapMarker (MapInfo) and GeoStan (Group 1). Editor in Chief Joe Francica interviewed Berk Charlton, director of product management, about the latest PBBI products during the PBBI user's conference.

Joe Francica (JF): I understand some functionality of MapMarker will be added to GeoStan and that GeoStan will become the single geocoding platform that PBBI will offer. Can you provide some additional details?

Berk Charlton (BC):
Yes, this is true. GeoStan has had a number of features added to the core engine, so that it can become the engine underlying MapMarker. MapMarker has traditionally been very feature-rich. For example, it has geocoded to place centroids and street centroids, while GeoStan has focused more on address-level geocoding. GeoStan has traditionally been a lot faster, and has supported a wider variety of street data. We've brought these capabilities into a single geocoding engine.

JF: MapMarker users purchased "credits" against which they would geocode address records. But, GeoStan was an enterprise solution that was "value priced." Can you explain what the new model will be for those needing a low cost solution like what MapMarker was offering versus the GeoStan enterprise license?

MapMarker and GeoStan had somewhat different pricing models and in some cases MapMarker could actually be a little more expensive than GeoStan. For desktop applications, the pricing between the GeoStan-based products and the MapMarker offerings was very similar for national geocoding implementations. GeoStan has been more expensive at the server level, and in general had a lot higher performance and capability than MapMarker for server-based applications.

Value pricing was generally only deployed for GeoStan when other pricing models couldn't or shouldn't apply. It is not accurate to say that value-based pricing was always the model for GeoStan; there is a definite price-book that sales reps work from, and value-based pricing was generally used to bring the price down for true enterprise applications.

Credits were only used for MapMarker for transactional applications, generally in a Web services setting through Envinsa Online Services. GeoStan users could also have geocodes delivered the same way, through online credits.

JF: Will PBBI offer a Web-based solution for those needing a small number (less than 10,000 records) of geocodes as part of their move to cloud computing?

This is already available.

JF: Will the Centrus Point-level geocoding undergo any changes?

Point-level geocoding continues to expand coverage and quality. It's quickly become a mature product which is deeply ingrained into the operations of many businesses.

JF: Will the MapMarker Plus Parcel precision geocoder undergo any changes with respect to functionality or will it be incorporated into GeoStan?

Parcel Plus precision is functionally the same as the Tele Atlas points coverage, and we will continue to implement the Tele Atlas Points data as an offering. In other words, it is already integrated into GeoStan.

Here is some additional product information from the recently completed PBBI Insights '09 Conference in Orlando Florida, taken from a presentation by Berk Charlton:

  • GeoStan and MapMarker will continue on as separately branded product lines in the U.S. (This applies to U.S. geocoding only)
    • Canada MapMarker is not affected by this library integration
    • All other international MapMarker countries (26) are being left alone
  • MapMarker is being re-versioned to MapMarker USA Version 22.0
    • Version 22.0 reflects the same version as GeoStan with this release
    • The "Plus" is being taken off the MapMarker name, because this has been tied exclusively to Tele Atlas data
    • Emphasis on backwards API compatibility
    • CASS-Matching logic and Tele Atlas data in both products mean minor changes for MapMarker customers
  • Major focus of the GeoStan 2008 and 2009 release has been enhancements to get to MapMarker feature compatibility
  • GeoStan 2008
    • Cass Cycle L
    • Point-centerline feature
    • Reverse geocoding improvements
    • Conjoined street number and street name
    • Street Finder (Street Centroid)
  • GeoStan 2009
    • SuiteLink support
    • Relaxed address
    • Municipal / County / State centroid
    • Robust user dictionary
    • Firm-name lookup
    • Address-point interpolation
    • Ranged address support
    • Increased geocoding precision
    • Improved LacsLink / DPV performance
    • Single line address matching enhancements
    • Continued expansion of point-level geocoding coverage
  • MapMarker Plus 14.x and MapMarker 22 Transition Options
    • MapMarker USA Version 22 will be backwards API compatible with MapMarker 14
    • Rigid CASS Rules and the use of Tele Atlas data greatly minimize match differences
    • MapMarker Plus US 14.x compatible data (including DPV / LacsLink) will continue to be created for 12 months after the release of version 22
    • Versioning: 14.4, 14.5, 14.6, 14.7
    • MapMarker Plus Desktop Version 14.4 - 14.7 will NOT be CASS-Certified, although users will still be able to use CASS matching rules that are compatible with CASS Cycle L
    • Customers will have one year to transition to the new version of MapMarker
    • Customers will need to specifically request a continuation of the old MapMarker data and libraries
  • MapMarker USA V 22 - New Data Options
    • Tele Atlas
    • NAVTEQ
    • Centrus Points / Sanborn Points
    • TIGER
    • Monthly data updates on all data sets from Tele Atlas
  • MapMarker USA Version 22 - New Features
    • Performance and matching improvements in Version 22
      • Internal tests are showing 20-25% performance improvements
      • Internal tests are showing geocoding and matching slight % improvements
    • Export to Shapefile feature (Desktop)
      • Users will be able to perform a "Table-Export" to convert a geocoded table to Shapefile points
    • Text File enhancements
      • Text records supported in interactive mode
      • Text records supported in command-line mode
  • MapMarker USA 22 - Some Differences
    • CASS certification rules and the same data sets have greatly reduced the number of possible changes
    • There will be some expected matching changes. Examples:
      • Result codes may vary, based on some types of street name and street type misspellings or omissions
      • Multi-word parsings can sometimes be different, based on the slight differences in fuzzy match logic between V 14 and V 22
      • City / ST/ ZIP combinations: V 22 will match with an out-of-state ZIP match, V 14 will not
      • V 22 typically will give fewer close candidates, but will match in more cases to the highest ranking candidate
      • These changes have been documented thoroughly and details can be provided upon request
  • MapMarker Plus Canada Update
    • MapMarker Plus 9.0 Canada released in December 2008
    • Uses Canada Post SERP matching logic to standardize addresses
    • Significant lift in matching accuracy, especially in postal code centroid matches
    • Text file support
    • Single line address support, both for English and French
    • Performance improvements

Published Thursday, June 18th, 2009

Written by Joe Francica

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