Questions Raised Over Accuracy of News Organizations’ GeoCoding

News organizations often rely on maps to transmit information.  A breaking news story on TV is usually accompanied by a location map detailing where the event took place.  One PBS reporter, however, has begun to question whether news organizations are really pinpointing the right locations on their maps.  GbBIS, a provider of the most accurate GeoCoding system, takes a look at what the standard is for most news organizations’ GeoCoding practices. 

Ryan Thornburg, a reporter for PBS says that in journalism, fact checking is paramount.  In his journalism classes, if an event is reported at 123 W. Main St. and it really happened at 123 E. Main St., it’s an instant F on the project.  However, Ryan explains that when it comes to plotting the correct locations on a news map, most organizations don’t follow the same set of strict standards.

The GeoCoding software used at PBS, which uses address data to plot points on a map, is OpenBlock.  According to Thornburg “When an address of a news event goes into OpenBlock it will fail 5-25 percent of the time, depending on the source of the data. So the question is not whether we can weed out all errors, but to make sure that when addresses fail they do so in the right way.”

Thornburg says there are two components to GeoCoding—hit rate and precision.  Hit rate measures the number of times the GeoCoding software will plot a point on a map after an address is plugged in.  The precision is how close that point actually is to the location.  Applications like Google Maps will have a high hit rate—every address will give you a point on the map—but will not be very precise.  Follow this link to find out just how precise PBS’s OpenBlock GeoCoding is:


Accuracy counts when it comes to reporting news, or business planning.  GbBIS offers businesses the most accurate GeoCoding service available.  Using advanced technology and the most up-to-date geographic data, GbBIS can help you plot addresses from your mailing lists on a map to give you better visualization.  Our GeoCoding can help your business analyze locations with precision and detail.


Contact GbBIS today and discover how our GeoCoding service can help you accurately map any location important to you. 

Visit Us on the Web at


Call Us at 1-877-447-6277


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