Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The difference between "Geocoding" and "Geolocation"

These two terms are often confused by users in of spatial data. Here is a quick explanation to help clarify the difference between the two. Both of these terms are consistently been misuse by people within the geospatial community.

Address: "Abuja International Conference Centre, Herbert Macaulay Way, Abuja, Nigeria"
Coordinates (in 3D): "Latitude: 9.0438014, Longitude: 7.4919024, Sea level: 503m"

Looking at the landmark address above and its corresponding coordinates in three-dimension (3D), we could say:-

Geocoding - means to 'Convert addresses to geographic coordinates, or the reverse'. While  Geolocation - means to 'Return the precise location of a device based on Wi-Fi or cell towers'.

More elaburate explanation from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:-

Geocoding is the computational process of transforming a physical address description to a location on the Earth's surface (spatial representation in numerical coordinates). Reverse geocoding, on the other hand, converts geographic coordinates to a description of a location, usually the name of a place or an addressable location. Geocoding relies on a computer representation of address points, the street / road network, together with postal and administrative boundaries.

Geolocation is the identification or estimation of the real-world geographic location of an object, such as a radar source, mobile phone, or Internet-connected computer terminal. In its simplest form geolocation involves the generation of a set of geographic coordinates and is closely related to the use of positioning systems, but its usefulness is enhanced by the use of these coordinates to determine a meaningful location, such as a street address.

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