Geocoding is a method whereby we convert a textual address to a set of map co-ordinates. We do this in a number of places throughout Property Hive. Some examples of this include:
– When entering a property manually into Property Hive to get the position on the map
– If you import properties using our Property Import add on and no latitude or longitude is provided, we’ll attempt to obtain them ourselves using geocoding
– When using our Radial Search add on we convert the entered address search term into a latitude and longitude allowing us to perform the radial calculation.
Previously we would only have the Google Geocoding service as an available provider, whereby you would need to setup a Google API Key, enable certain services, set restrictions, and you would pay for this if exceeding a certain number of geocoding requests.
Nominatim is a search engine for OpenStreetMap data, which is essentially open source map data maintained by thousands of volunteers. By opting to use OpenStreetMaps you won’t need to enter an API key, nor will you be charged for the service (though throttling limits do exist).
As of version 1.5.35 of Property Hive you will have the ability to choose this alternative geocoding provider from within the Property Hive settings area:
Being open source the map data isn’t as complete as some other map services. For example, we found there were limited addresses in Northern Ireland. If you are finding an address isn’t being geocoded correctly or no results are found, try entering the same address on the Nominatim site (https://nominatim.openstreetmap.org/ui/search.html) to see if anything is being returned there.
We also found that the results were hit and miss when passing in full addresses. As a result, to maintain maximum consistency, we only pass the postcode to Nominatim when making requests so co-ordinates returned won’t be exactly on top of an exact house number.
Also note that various add ons which utilise the geocoding service have been updated to inherit this change. These are as follows:
Property Import Add On (version 1.2.90)
Radial Search Add On (version 1.0.27)
Map Search Add On (version 1.1.35)
If you have a license key you can update to the latest version of these add ons through WordPress.