Australia and New Zealand Geocoding

Yesterday Google Maps Mania announced that New Zealand and Australia now had address searching on Last night I started drafting a post that suggested that geocoding for these two countries couldn’t be too far behind. Well, before I could even press “publish” Google announced exactly that.

The examples in Chapter 4 will work perfectly well without modification for these new countries too, so those of your basing your lookups on our examples should be able to use this new feature right away.

This makes Google’s geocoder by far the most comprehensive street-level geocoder that is available for free, covering a total of eight countries (the others being USA, Canada, France, Spain, Italy and Germany if you’ve forgotten).

We expect that the next few countries to be added to the list will be in Europe since they seem to be working on countries for which they already have good street-level maps.

The aborted Japanese geocoder (from their very first launch in June) may make a return eventually too, but as we mentioned in the book, street addresses in Japan are often strange and unpredictable, so don’t count on it before 2007.

5 Responses to “Australia and New Zealand Geocoding”  

  1. 1 Mike

    Oh neat, thanks for posting that, Cam.

    Now we’ll have to find some cool address data for down under. It looks like the gov’t resources are pretty rich, but that’s mostly already in lat/lng.

  2. 2 Jo

    Hi Cam,

    I just noticed that announcement when I detected a remarkable increase in traffic to my outdoor-adventure blog “Kiwi Tracks” on Blogger, since they mentioned my blog in the announcement.

    So far, we had pretty good geocoding through but I’m glad that Google got down here now, too. I’ll have to check the accuracy, but if it’s good, there will be heaps of applications.

    BTW, I just read over the two sample chapters of your book available on the web and I have to say that I like it. I’m definetely gonna buy a copy! It’s way more practical than the other Google Maps books around (and not based on the antiquated v.1 of the API).
    Also thanks for the post on shapefile-display. That’ll prove useful in the near future…

  3. 3 Cam

    Hi Jo,

    Thanks for the compliment. I’m glad you liked the sample chapters. We tried very hard to make this a book that would be useful for programmers and not be a fad cash grab. A book where the fundamental principles wouldn’t be out of date any time soon. We hope that’s what people are finding.

    Also, does zoomin have a proper geocoding API? One that can handle street addresses? If so, I haven’t been able to find it and it would be very useful for another tool I’m hoping to release in the next few weeks.

    Lastly, do you have access to any GPS ground data in Australia or NZ?

  4. 4 Jo

    Hi Cam,

    I haven’t really worked with the Zoomin’ API, I just had a bit of a play with addresses and they were quite good. I just did some more inquiries using addresses from NZ Yellow Pages and queried them in Google Maps and Zoomin. In bigger towns and cities, they seem to both do a good job (both pinpointed my house in Christchurch extremely accurately), but in smaller villages in more rural areas, Zoomin seemed to be more complete. But these are VERY preliminary findings…

    As to the geocoding API from Zoomin: The website is quite unstructured and I couldn’t find any info initially, either, although I was sure I had seen it before. A visit of their blog helped me along the way and here’s the link to the API documentation.

    You’re asking about GPS ground data from NZ (I can’t really speak about Australia, sorry!). What kind of data are you looking for? I am personally collecting GPS-data on my backcountry trips (which I use for the maps on tramping blog. And through my job (in the broad field of GIS) I have some access to GPS data from (mainly) the South island of New Zealand.

    Land Information New Zealand’s Geodetic Database is worth a look if you’re after GPS points. It contains the coordinates of thousands of survey marks throughout New Zealand.

  5. 5 Cam

    Hi Jo,

    Thanks for the link to the documentation. That’s exactly what I was looking for.

    With regards to the GPS data what I’m after is “ground truth” for a handful of addresses in NZ. I want to compare the “truth” with what the geocoders give me back. If you’re interested in taking your GPS with you next time you go downtown, I’d love a few lat/long pairs and their corresponding addresses. If you can, please email me ( before you go as there are a few tips that will help make the measurements optimal.

    The Geodetic database is probably very interesting and useful, but right now it’s giving me an error. I’ll try again shortly.

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