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Applications > Geocoder

Address Look-up Made Easy – The MetroGIS Geocoder Project top of page

Do you need address spatial look-up in your application?

  • MetroGIS has sponsored development of a Web Service that takes Address or Intersection requests and returns closest matches with their latitude-longitude.
  • Use this service to add geocoding to a web map or any application that needs spatial info for addresses, without having to store your own local copy of the underlying data.  Look-up by:
    • street address
    • intersection (2 street names)
    • landmark name

Mpls/St.Paul Metro Area Geocoder Service:

MN Statewide Service? - If there is enough demand, a second service could be set up to use the larger TLG street data set, or other statewide or larger-area sets of streets, parcels or points as available.

The service uses Open Source "PAGC" geocoder software ( first developed in Canada for batch geocoding of national datasets. MetroGIS funded revision of PAGC for a multi-user environment and for use as a Web Service. For more information on MetroGIS Geocoder Project organization and funding, see the following:

Phase I - Initial Development 2007-2008:

Phase II - Enhancements 2009:


Using the Geocoder Web Service in Your Application top of page
  • Metro Geocoder Web Service takes urlencoded Address or Intersection requests and returns closest matches with latitude-longitude, in XML, CSV or JSON.
  • Click here to see a sample urlencoded request and XML response
  • Try out addresses and see responses with the Sample Form Using Geocoder
  • These technical documents describe details of sending a request and handling a response:
  • The Metropolitan Council is creating a SOAP wrapper to make it easier to use the geocoder in dotNet.  Contact Matt McGuire.
  • Scott County has created a tool to allow easy use of the geocoder service within ArcMap. 
  • Have you made it easier to use the Geocoder in some kind of application? Let us know and we’ll add a link here.
  • Public sites currently using the Metro Geocoder Web Service:
    • Metro Mosquito Control web map (Developer: Houston Engineering)
    • DNR LandView (Developer: Craig Perrault, MnDNR)

Build Your Own Geocoder Service top of page
  • This is open source software (LGPL), available for free from MetroGIS,
    Download (4.33 MB) (or available from
  • The MetroGIS Geocoder Service package includes archives and files necessary to build and install the software from source, and an installer that contains pre-compiled binaries and files for a Microsoft Windows installation.
  • Package includes full documentation for setting up your own service.
  • Software is intended for Windows and Linux systems running the Apache webserver, but there is nothing to preclude its use on other systems or webservers.
  • Local installation of the complete geocoder software also requires the gcc C compiler, MINGW (for Windows), Berkeley db (4), and Fastcgi Apache module and library (if fastcgi chosen; will also function as a CGI program)
  • Local installation requires your own copy of base datasets (shapesets).

Help Improve the Geocoder top of page
  • Want to improve the MetroGIS Geocoder Service? Contact the Geocoder Team (Nancy Read at
  • Want to extend the capabilities of the PAGC software? You can sponsor development projects or modify the code yourself.
  • PAGC is open source software, written in fully commented ANSI C, and covered by the GNU Lesser General Public License.
  • To sign up for the PAGC list or contact current developers, see

FAQ top of page


Sample top of page

sample urlencoded request and XML response
Example: Data Request (urlencoded) – try this link to see an XML response

This link sends the following text:


   Page last updated on June 11, 2010. Home   |   Search   |   Contact Us