Auto Geo-Coding Your Business Locations in Middle East & Turkey? Don’t Trust the Results
June 6, 2018 | Contributed by: Trevor Nadeau
Geocodes are the things that allow us all to find things like businesses, hospitals, parks and other points of interest on virtually any digital map in the world. This includes Google Maps, Yandex Maps, Apple Maps, HERE Maps, TomTom Maps, 2GIS Maps, Open Street Map, Naver Maps, Bing Maps and more.
If you ever use Google Maps, take a look at the browser URL address. You’ll usually see a geocode as part of the URL for a business location. See it below highlighted in blue for a golf course in Dubai.
Wikipedia describes geocoding as “the computational process of transforming a postal address description to a location on the Earth’s surface.” Wow, that is quite a mouthful! But in reality, geocoding in Western Europe and North America has actually become almost a commodity and in fact, quite an easy and fairly accurate process provided you have a complete postal address. To the point where most business locations can be automatically geocoded without a human involved to verify that it is correct.
But what if there are no postal addresses available or no reliable databases of geocoded structures to match a “postal address” against so we can get an accurate geocode for a location? Well that is the very much the case in Turkey and the Middle East.
In these regions addressing is actually either very complex like in Turkey, where an address has over 10 attributes, making auto-geocoding quite prone to errors or in other countries like the UAE and Saudi Arabia where much of the existing business listings have a PO Box as their postal address.
Not to worry though, any business anywhere in the world can be geocoded, sometimes it just takes more of a human and manual approach. Meaning actually looking at satellite imagery, digital street maps or street level imagery for the business location and using the good old telephone to speak to the business owner to ascertain the exact location of a specific business. It also helps if you speak Turkish and Arabic and have a sense of the local addressing ecosystem. Then it becomes pretty easy to capture the geocode and associate it to that specific business location so it can be found on virtually any digital map in the world.
Thankfully structures like buildings need only to be geocoded once. Businesses in a location might change but the building doesn’t move. Meaning a Starbucks might become a Caribou Coffee shop but geocode remains the same.
Moral of this story, if you have locations in the Middle East and Turkey and you want your customers to find your business every time they use a digital map, be sure your geocodes are spot on accurate!
Want to learn more about business listing management and geocoding in MENAT? Just click on our geocode right here to get all our contact details. Lat 25.8014225, Long 55.9662276