Recently in Geocoding Category

Making Data Work for Your Geospatial Challenges

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Anyone who has looked at flood data knows that FEMA is not the answer. It's not that FEMA doesn't try to accurately map what they believe to be floodable areas. It's that FEMA is politically driven. As a city, you do not have to participate in FEMA mapping. Why would you not participate? Well, properties in flood zones tend to have lower valuations, and lower valuations tend to generate lower taxes. Even as an individual you can exempt yourself with a LOMA. A LOMA establishes a property's location in relation to the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA).  LOMAs are usually issued because a property has been inadvertently mapped as being in the floodplain, but it is actually on natural high ground above the base flood elevation.

Melissa customer wanted to sell flood insurance to prospects that were in flood zones but not likely to flood and not in flood zones but likely to flood. They had three primary targets, properties in 100 year flood zones that were not likely to flood, properties in a 500 year flood zone that were not likely to flood, and properties in FEMA minimal risk zones that were likely to flood. The customer realized that they needed a way to understand the current FEMA designation for the target properties but also have an independent flood likelihood evaluation of the property. For them, we created a sample set of customers utilizing HazardHub risk data that looked something like this:


Then they created a targeted list by selecting B and C score prospects from the 100 year and 500 year flood plains and D and F score prospects from the minimal risk flood zones. This scoring and these selections are available nationwide and provided the customer with the ability to selectively target the types of customers that they were interested in from a risk exposure perspective. While this example discusses flood, this works for any natural hazard where properties are exposed, both personal property as well as commercial property.

If you have data challenges to solve, perhaps the Melissa team can offer the location intelligence solution needed. Melissa supports geospatial professionals in the goal of mapping innovation in location-based services, analytics and decision-making powered by location intelligence. We provide a wealth of location data enrichments including global geocoding to derive latitude and longitude from an address, and geo-enriched data for IP addresses. We offer other types of specialized data including U.S. property and mortgage data (type and number of buildings on a parcel, property age, construction, sales value, and more), demographics (household income, marital status, residence data, credit information, and more), and risk and natural hazard information (wind, water, ground and wildfire) that can be linked to location data to reveal relationships and trends. Our data feeds easily into popular data visualization and analytics platforms for ease of use and up-to-the minute accuracy. When you need to solve global challenges with geospatial technology, turn to Melissa - your single, trusted source for authoritative reference data. 

Written for Directions Magazine - Header Image via @directionsmag



By Bud Walker, Vice President Sales & Strategy, Melissa 

Nobody has to be reminded that we're in the middle of hurricane season, certainly not if they live in Texas or Florida. They're personally going through the experience of living in the path of lots of wind and water.

For many others, however, including companies and communities, risk comes in many forms, with wind and water joined by such natural hazards as fire, hail, tornados and earthquakes. That's why I'm so excited about a new strategic partnership between Melissa and HazardHub, the leader in geographic risk data.

Our joint new Property Intelligence Solution gives users a way to assign natural disaster risk scores to every single property in the contiguous United States, specific to a natural occurrence. 

Just think of the impact here. Now, individual properties--business or homes--throughout the U.S. can be accurately scored for their risk of particular natural hazards. No more guessing about, "Is my business at pronounced risk of flooding?" or "To what degree is that community prone to tornadoes?" 

Let's see how it works. 

What Melissa brings to the equation is location intelligence. We're talking about things like address verification, geocoding and reverse geocoding, IP location, and U.S. property data enhancements on over 140 million U.S. properties.  

That includes parcel and building information, calculated value, homeowner and mortgage information, sales history and more. In fact, Melissa compiles in real time about 165 different metrics on individual residential or commercial properties.  

HazardHub, in turn, brings to this powerful dataset precise calculations of risk from flooding, wildfire, lightning strikes, straight-line winds, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, damaging hail and more, drawing on such sources as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the U.S. Geological Survey, state and local governments, and many others. 

What Melissa has done by partnering with HazardHub is to create a single platform for understanding precise property risk for all these types of hazards, and with a precise risk score assigned for any property.  

Data like this, and its accompanying analysis, can vastly improve safety, reduce insurance costs and help drive smarter property decisions.

Think about it:

 ·         Knowing whether or not properties are in a flood, tsunami, fire or earthquake zone can  help businesses better forecast their stocking and customer service needs, including protective and recovery products tailored to specific locations.

·         It can help communities better understand how to allocate disaster resources in advance, such as fire fighters, police and first responders, as well as evacuation shelters.

·         Home and business owners can better decide not only where to live and work but also how to prepare for eventualities, for themselves, employees and families.

 ·         Health care systems can more precisely target those areas--neighborhoods, blocks or even specific buildings--with precise types of services based on risk scores.

·         Private flood insurance presents a significant opportunity for insurers that at last now have the right tools for precisely understanding this type of risk.

And don't think this risk-scoring is a simple or obvious job--you know, like "Yeah, we got it: Florida gets hurricanes and Kansas gets tornadoes!"

Not all coastal properties have the same risk from storm surges, for example. Straight-wind storms are complicated things, arising only in areas where warm moist air meets cooler air sweeping southward. Insights into the possibility of earthquakes derive from complicated measurements of peak ground acceleration measuring ground shaking measured in units of gravity. Fire protection risk scores come from a municipality polygon file to determine in/out and a geospatial call to the fire stations available from the Google points-of-interest (POI) API interface.

I think you get the idea.

We're talking about a interactive combination of deep data analytics, hard science and decades of statistics ... a great step forward in understanding our world and how to be better prepared to live and work in it.

Melissa's property intelligence tools and services are available as software, on-premises and Web APIs, with integrations for numerous third-party platforms, and batch service processing. I hope you get a chance to check it out and the following:

Bud Walker is Vice President, Sales & Strategy, at Melissa, responsible for managing the strategic vision and next generation capabilities of the Melissa's Data Quality tools and services. He can be reached at

How to Do It All with Melissa

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With Melissa, you can do it all - see for yourself with the brand new Solutions Catalog. This catalog showcases products to transform your people data (names, addresses, emails, phone numbers) into accurate, actionable insight. Our products are in the Cloud or available via easy plugins and APIs. We provide solutions to power Know Your Customer initiatives, improve mail deliverability and response, drive sales, clean and match data, and boost ROI.


Specific solutions include:

·         Cleaning, matching & enriching data
·         Creating a 360 degree profile of every customer
·         Finding more customers like your best ones with lookalike profiling
·         Integrating data from any source, at any time

Other highlights include: global address autocompletion; mobile phone verification; real-time email address ping; a new customer management platform; as well as info on a wealth of data append and mailing list services.


Download the catalog now:


Looking for Geo-Referenced Data You Can Integrate in a Flash?

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Global GeoPostcode data provides a common dataset structure for all countries, containing all localities, ZIP/postal codes, administrative divisions, statistical units, reference codes, time zones, elevations and, for selected countries, neighborhoods, suburbs and streets. All data are geo-referenced and available in local language, transliterated English and non-accented ASCII versions.

Global GeoPostcode data can be integrated into professional software, websites and mobile applications, and can be used to generate statistics, complete addresses, validate forms, and more.


Learn more:

Make more in formed decisions about sales clustering, risk exposure, tax jurisdictions, market segmentation, logistics and more by geocoding addresses. Geocoding appends latitude and longitude coordinates to the rooftop of an address - delivering the most accurate location possible. Find out how to start geocoding addresses to the rooftop in this quick 5-minute tutorial now! The video highlights geocoding in our data quality software Contact Zone, but we also offer geocoding solutions in SSIS, Listware, in the Cloud, and in our API tools.

Watch our video now!

Strategic Alliances Fuel Global Growth for Melissa Data

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Technology Partnerships Advance Data Quality as Central Business Process;Enable Worldwide Expansion of Both Direct Mail and Data Quality Divisions

Rancho Santa Margarita, CALIF - December 16, 2014 - Melissa Data, a leading provider of contact data quality and address management solutions, today recognized 2014 as a milestone year for company partnerships in both its direct mail and data quality divisions. By working with leaders in ecommerce, data integration and comprehensive mailing solutions, Melissa Data has cemented strategic alliances that further expand its customer base worldwide. Essential to the company's growth strategy, Melissa Data's technology relationships are designed to fuel data quality as a central business process integrated into the earliest stages of master data operations.

"As the world recognizes the scope and value of data as a business asset, Melissa Data's global perspective on contact data quality has increasing impact. By providing sophisticated data quality that is simple to deploy, we're enabling businesses worldwide to embrace the competitive value of correct, validated customer information," said Ray Melissa, CEO, Melissa Data. "Collaborating with other technology leaders is essential in these efforts, and 2014 saw some of our most significant partnerships to date. Working closely with key partners, we're building existing business, growing in new markets, and seeing a greater understanding of data quality as the foundation for optimized master data systems."

Melissa Data's newest direct mail partnerships include Deutsche Post and Royal Mail, integrating global address verification and geocoding into their existing solutions and customer base. Melissa Data is one of only a handful of vendors licensed by Canada Post to provide Canadian NCOA (National Change of Address) processing so mailers can reach customers in both Canada and the U.S.

In the data quality realm, Melissa Data partnered with EXTOL International to enable seamless data quality operations in tandem with EDI. The company's alliance with Scribe Software uniquely enables cleansing, validating and enhancing customer information in a single integration as data moves between CRM, ERP and marketing automation applications. Melissa Data's relationship with Semarchy unites data quality and master data operations; Semarchy users have a fast and easy method for consolidating unstructured data sources and enriching master data, while Melissa Data customers have a strategic path to upgrade data quality projects into more comprehensive data governance initiatives. Melissa Data has increased its already deep support for developers by aligning with Varigence, incorporating data quality in Varigence's business intelligence accelerator tools based on Business Intelligence Markup Language (Biml).

Building data quality into ecommerce applications has also been a priority; by working with NetzTurm GmbH and Crafty Clicks, service providers for the implementation of online stores, Melissa Data has enabled plug-in data quality for users of Shopware and Magento-based ecommerce sites. Support for additional ecommerce platforms is imminent, enabling a greater number of online merchants to verify and correct addresses as they are entered, validating information from more than 240 countries and territories in real-time.

Earlier this year, Melissa Data also partnered with Blu Sky to solve healthcare data management challenges; data quality tools are now integrated into Blu Sky's EpicCare data capture technologies used to administer medical groups, hospitals and integrated healthcare organizations. Furthering its role in healthcare data quality initiatives, Melissa Data has also partnered with TriZetto, integrating data quality into software solutions that support nearly a quarter million doctors and healthcare providers under 350 different healthcare plans nationwide. Melissa Data's recent alliance with V3Gate expands public sector market dramatically, while enhancing V3Gate's big data capabilities with integrated data quality tools and solutions. Together the two firms are actively targeting business growth in federal, state and local government sectors, offering cutting-edge IT solutions that support high-level public agencies in achieving their diverse missions.

Partnerships on the 2015 horizon focus on ecommerce as well as enterprise data quality. Melissa Data conducts business worldwide, supporting its global clientele with sales and service from key locations in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and India. For information about partnering with Melissa Data, contact or call 1-800-MELISSA (635-4772).

News Release Library

Melissa Data Expands Global and Domestic Reach

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Melissa Data is growing, and fast! To better serve our customers worldwide, Melissa Data's established new offices in Berlin, Germany, and Bangalore, India. The company also opened a new satellite office in Raleigh, N.C.

These new locations have been established and staffed to meet the needs of the domestic and international markets with the availability of Melissa Data's Global Data Quality Suite - a new set of tools that delivers accurate and consistent address/phone verification and geocoding for countries all over the world.

Click here for more info.


Synergizing the Process for Locations and Addresses

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By David Loshin

I am currently working with a number of clients who are dealing with particularly thorny issues relating to location. While the business drivers are relatively diverse, there are some similarities across all scenarios, especially in the ways that location is managed from an enterprise perspective. Therefore, in this set of blog entries, we'll look at different
business value drivers, typical usage scenarios, and some ideas for melding process with application for a synergistic lift.

Location is a critical concept in many industries, yet the importance of a standardized approach to managing location is often unnoticed. For example, for some client scenarios, the business driver is reducing risk. Insurance companies like to see their customer base (and therefore, their exposure to certain types of hazards such as floods or earthquakes) spread across different geographic regions. Financial institutions may be subject to different laws (with different penalties for violations) at different geographic jurisdictional levels for the protection of private information.

Healthcare providers need to ensure that protected health information is not inadvertently exposed by being sent to the wrong address.

In other scenarios, the business drivers are financial, such as focusing on customer acquisition, retention or cost management. In some cases, marketing budgets are allocated to local print and media advertising to grow the customer base. In other cases, reducing transport costs by optimizing the supply chain looks at distances between delivery points.

Either way, the underlying desire is precision and correctness in geolocation.

But note that precision and correctness are very separate ideas, and that difference underlies some of the main problems related to address and location management. Next post: Accuracy vs. Precision.

Techniques for Address Standardization

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By David Loshin

In my recent set of posts, we looked at the value and importance of address standardization as an integral component of both transactional and analytical applications, especially when seeking levels of accuracy associated with the concept of location, which in some cases goes beyond the concept of "address."

But knowing that with some degree of precision we can map locations to their nearest geocoded location, let's think about aspects of a more general challenge: ensuring resolution of a provided descriptive address to an actual known address.

Let me clarify this a little. When I talk about a "provided descriptive address" I am referring to what an individual has presented as an address. And while another individual might be able to infer enough meaning from a presented address to make a delivery, the address might have misspellings, errors, or other variations that might prevent it from being adequately mapped to a specific geocoded location.

Aside from the other benefits we have already considered, transforming the address into a standard form will simplify the geocoding process. That transformation process leverages a few straightforward ideas, namely:

  1. There is a representative model for "standardized" addresses with its accompanying formats, syntax, acceptable value lists, and rules.

  2. An application is able to scan a non-standardized (or what I called a "provided descriptive") address, differentiate between the parts that are good and the ones that do not meet the standard.

  3. There is a way to map the non-standard parts into standard ones.
In fact, all three of these ideas are doable, and over the next set of postings let's look at each one of these in greater detail.


The Complexity of Linking Addresses (and Locations) to Geocodes

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By David Loshin

There is a difference between an address, which refers to a delivery location, and a geocode, which can specify practically any location, and clearly, addressable locations make up a subset of geocoded locations. And if you are at a specific location, and you happen to be holding a GPS (global positioning satellite) device, you can derive the

But what happens if you want to find the nearest address to a specific geocode? Or if you are only provided with a location description (such as "the intersection of Main and Elm Streets") and you want to get a precise geocode?

More practically, let's say you are a logistics manager for a delivery service and you are interested in mapping the most fuel-efficient routes for your drivers? In any of these cases, there is a need to link geocodes to addresses (and vice versa) in a way that is accurate and trustworthy.

And this is easily doable with standardized addresses. If you think back to my first post in this series, I talked about the need for delivery accuracy as a key driver for the definition of an addressing standard.

Here, we can use the addressing standard to provide accuracy in geocoding. Data services provide databases that relate street segments to boundary geocodes, allowing you to interpolate a geocode given an address. As long as we can get a standardized address, we can find the geocode.

At the same time, that same data product can be used to reverse map a geocode to a street segment, and with enough precision on the latitude and longitude values, probably even map to a specific address.

So the value of address standards goes beyond just delivery accuracy. As more applications rely on location to add value, the need for address standardization and geocoding will also continue to evolve and grow.