To Digitize or Not to Digitize?

No process in GIS perfect. There are always limitations, many of which can be ignored, while others must at least be acknowledged. The application of the results of an analysis can have a drastic impact on whether errors are ignored, acknowledged, or painstakingly resolved. Consider  the difference between geocoding addresses at the national level to analyze socioeconomic trends. The power of numbers will outweigh the error generated during the processing, but it is enough to acknowledge the limitation. On the other hand, the example of the Enhanced 911 system requires that all addresses be geocoded as precisely as possible for times of emergency.

As a way of increasing the accuracy of geocoding processes, would it be sufficient to input a number of intermediary points as a way to accommodate for the uneven distribution of addresses within a given address segment. It would essentially act as the middle ground between leaving the results entirely up to geocoding and digitizing all addresses manually. After all, why do the corners of blocks have to act as the only reference point? It’s possible that there is an inherent topology that would be lost if this was to be implemented, but I cannot speak to that.

While reading Goldberg et al., one geocoding nightmare kept running through my head. It surprised me that it was not touched on directly. How has Japan addressed the situation? As an OECD country, it likely possesses sufficient GIS infrastructure. If I’m not mistaken, though, house addresses are not based on location so much as time. Within prefectures, addresses are assigned temporally, whereby the oldest structure has a lower value than a newer structure, even if they are immediately adjacent, two structures can have significantly different addresses. Just a thought.


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