Software developers have an array of different tools at their disposal to
build location based services.
It's important to understand the pros and
cons of each technology and use the right tool for the job.
In this guide we look at the difference between geocoding, geosearch, and
other location technologies like browser geolocation and IP address
Make sure you
use the right tool for the right job.
You will be frustrated if you try to use a screwdriver as a hammer.
Geocoding is the process of converting geographic coordinates
(latitude and longitude) into a geographic reference - such as an address,
a place name, or locality - or vice versa. Going from address to coordinates
is known as
coordinates to address is known as
Forward geocoding expects a full adddress or placename as the input.
Friedrich-Ebert-Straße 7, 48153 Münster, Germany
(the OpenCage office) is converted to the coordinates
OpenCage operates an
API for geocoding
based on open data.
You can test the OpenCage geocoding API on
our demo page,
or sign up for a free trial.
Geosearch is often confused with forward geocoding. Geosearch takes any
string of text as input and tries to extract locations from that string or
to expand the string and return a list of possible location matches.
given the input of
geosearch might return
Geosearch is often encountered in, as the name suggests, a search form,
where it is used as a tool to help users enter correct geographic input.
OpenCage does not currently offer a geosearch service, but hopes to
offer this service in autumn 2021.
Browser geolocation is a technology in most web browsers to
enable users to share their location.
If the user gives thier permission developers can use browser geolocation to
get geographic coordinates which can then be geocoded.
our detailed guide to browser geolocation
IP geolocation is the process of converting an IP (Internet Protocol) address
into location info. You can roughly think of an IP address as a computer's
address on the internet. OpenCage does not offer an IP address to location
API. It's a challenging problem to solve, and there are other companies that
provide such a service, for example our friends at
Regardless of the geotechnology your service needs,