Reverse geocoding: how it works

Reverse geocoding is the process of transforming a geographic coordinate, that is a specific longitude and latitude, into a postal address. Although it’s true that NOT ALL points on Earth’s surface, identified by a combination of latitude and longitude coordinates, necessarily correspond to a physical address, all physical addresses do fall within a precise and univocal geographic coordinate. The basis of geocoding and reverse geocoding is therefore obviously the same, allowing us to act with an absolute safety margin: if an address exists, then it can be identified by two numbers, latitude and longitude. However, obtaining a physical address with manual calculations would be a long and laborious task, especially if we have to assign numerous addresses. This is why special software like ours was developed, which is able to automatically assign the correct address to the pair of geographic coordinates.

All the operator who enters the data has to do is insert each number in the box, or alternatively load a file with the list of geographic coordinates. After pressing the enter key, the system will then process the information and return the address or list of addresses by using the data from our constantly updated database. If the given coordinates are incorrect and therefore do not correspond to an address, the system will return an error message. For files containing thousands of addresses, each missing address will be indicated by specific wording. In general terms, this is how reverse geocoding with software works. There are, however, a range of more advanced possibilities for those who want to optimize their businesses. Reverse geocoding can in fact satisfy multiple business or research objectives, ranging from cleansing a database to locating addresses on a map. So, let’s take a closer look at the more advanced features of reverse geocoding.


One thing to keep in mind when talking about reverse geocoding is the verification of addresses obtained from geographic coordinates. The records are endless and an address, as such, may not necessarily be exact, much less updated. The national street directory may have been updated, the city in which the address is located may have changed its name, or become part of a different province. In short, the data must be verified, otherwise you will just have an address or a list of addresses that have been geocoded, but not cleansed. Our software carries out this verification and updating procedure automatically, before returning the address or addresses obtained from the geographic coordinates. In this way, the person using the software can be sure that every single address is not just a mere elaboration of latitude and longitude coordinates, but the result of a thorough analysis aimed at ensuring the quality of the data, that is, the geocoded address. But that’s not all, because after this procedure there’s still much more that we can do to enrich our data even further.

Discover our solutions for geocoding postal addresses!


Reverse geocoding how it works

After the geographical coordinates are geocoded to obtain a postal address, and after this address is cleansed and checked (also eliminating any duplicates in the batch reverse geocoding), we obtain a record that is ready to be used to our advantage, although the data is still fairly raw. If you intend to send products and materials overseas via the target country’s postal system, then addresses should come formatted according to that countrys postal model. Each country has its own format that has a precise and sometimes unusual way of arranging data. For example, while French and Italian addresses follow the same standard, this is not the case in Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, or other states with cultures and models that are different from those in Europe.

In these cases, it is essential that the addresses respect the destination format, an option that is provided in the settings of our software. How? Simple: by selecting the country from a list of over 250 countries around the world. Reverse geocoding will make it possible to obtain not only exact addresses, but also addresses formatted in the model used in that country, thereby reducing the time needed for mailing and sending. Egon’s coverage is almost total, but with significant differences in terms of data completeness from one country to another. If you want to check the situation in real time, we recommend that you click on the country you are interested in on our website’s map. This is quick and reliable method for viewing the level of data completeness it is possible to reach for each of the more than 250 countries present in the database.


Formatting the address is still not enough if we are aiming to reach a foreign market. This is because different languages are spoken in other countries, and these can also vary within the same country (China, for example). French, Portuguese, German, Spanish, Russian, Japanese, Arabic … the address must be translated into that country’s language in order to avoid delays or, worse still, material being returned by couriers or whoever makes the delivery. Limiting yourself to English as an international language could prove to be a bad choice. Not only that, in certain geographical areas not only does the postal format and language change, but also the alphabet. Egon offers three possibilities in this regard:

  1. native alphabet (the same as the initial input)

  2. Latin alphabet

  3. transliterated alphabet

In any case, as for the format, it is enough to specify the alphabet in which you prefer to geocode the geographical coordinates. The software will do the rest.


For those unfamiliar with reverse geocoding, you may think there is just one way of using it: with a program installed on a PC or on a corporate PC network. This isn’t actually true: there are at least two other ways of using our software, online mode and batch mode (as well as auto-completion, which however does not exist for geographical coordinates).

  • Online: this mode involves entering data directly online, without any type of installed application. All you need is an Internet connection to type the coordinates into the form and view the validated address.

  • Batch: this mode is dedicated to the batch geocoding of a list of latitudes and longitudes, which can be uploaded into the same file and then analyzed and processed by the system. This also includes a deduplication function, useful for eliminating any duplicates from the list.


At this point, the advantages of reverse geocoding using a latest generation software like Egon’s should be evident. Zero margin of error, superior data processing speed, flexibility of using both online and locally, possibility to validate files containing up to hundreds of thousands of records, as well as more multilingual translations, formatting in the reference postal system and conversion from one alphabet to another. But most of all: control and cleansing of the data entered, so as to be sure of building a database with unique and correct addresses. Such a system is a concrete investment to strengthen one’s business and make it more competitive in an increasingly international market. We at Egon are ready to provide you with personalized support and guide you through the configuration of our reverse geocoding service. Register for the free demo!