Geocoding is the process of giving coordinates to an address or postcodes. By converting the address into a latitude and longitude, the location can be displayed on a map. Let’s take a look at five ways to do geocoding for free. We will overview three API’s for geocoding that you can integrate into your application, and two stand-alone geocoding solutions.
1. TravelTime Search API Geocoder
- You need to obtain an API key through our website to gain access to the free geocoder.
- Geocoding is done by sending a query to the API, exact query can be found in geocoding documentation.
- A query can be an address, a postcode or a venue.
- When sending a request you can specify a focus point or country.
- The returned response is in GeoJSON format.
- You can complete geocoding and reverse geocoding for free.
2. QGIS with plugins
- QGIS is open source, licensed under the GNU General Public License, and offers services for free.
- QGIS offers geocoding plugins for free, couple of them are - MMQGIS plugin for geocoding addresses in bulk and GeoCoding plugin for geocoding one address at a time.
- TravelTime has a plugin for QGIS as well, our plugin allows to not only search and reverse geocoding, but regular features of TravelTime API as well.
- MMQGIS is a set of Python plugins for manipulating vector map layers in Quantum GIS.
- You can geocode using Nominatim and Google web services.
- You can reverse geocode by clicking on the map canvas to get an address.
- For the GeoCoding plugin you can type an address into the dialog box. The geocoder pinpoints that location on the map.
3. Data Science Toolkit API
- Developers can install the entire Data Science Toolkit API unit for free on their own Amazon or VMWare instances.
- The service is not meant to be used directly for production.
- Data is returned as JSON.
- Reverse geocoding is not supported through this interface.
4. GPS Visualizer
- Accessible through browser.
- You can find the coordinates of a single location using GPS Visualizer's Quick Geocoder. Quick Geocoder returns a small map and a formatted table of information.
- You can also geocode a batch of addresses with GPS Visualizer’s Multiple Address Locator. You can geocode multiple addresses using the geocoding service from Bing Maps, Google, or MapQuest.
- Data can be in either a raw, jumbled, unformatted list, or in a structured table with a header row.
- The output data is returned in plain text, but it can be plotted on a map or written to a GPX file.
- GPS Visualizer is not able to do any reverse geocoding.
5. Location HQ API geocoder
Location HQ has a tiered pricing system. The lowest of the tiers provides geocoding for free.
- The geocoder works globally.
- You can use 10,000 geocoding requests per day.
- You can use the Location HQ geocoder for street maps only.
- Due to the parameters of the free service, it is limited for commercial use.
To start using the TravelTime Search API geocoder, download an API key and start geocoding for free.