AddressMapOften here at DataTools we are asked – why use one of your address capture tools when I can get all the address information I need for free from sources such as Google Maps?

That is indeed a very good question – why pay for something that you can get for free?

And as usual – it all comes down to the quality of the data you are using.

DataTools sources its address data from the most relevant providers in each country – mainly the official postal companies such as Australia Post, New Zealand Post, Royal Mail, Canada Post etc. These companies maintain what are generally known as Postal Address Files (PAF) that contain known, verified, deliverable addresses.

For example – in the case of Australia Post’s data – whenever a new address is created (e.g. when a new estate is developed or if apartments are built on what was once a single house block etc) the local council approves the address. The councils provide this information to Australia Post who verify it and enter it into the PAF file.

These PAF files are updated regularly in each country and considered the most comprehensive resources for addresses. After all – if the postal service doesn’t know where to go then no one will!

Free data sources often don’t use these PAF files. When you look at the terms & legal notices for Google Maps here in Australia for example, you see it uses satellite navigation & other motoring information data – which makes sense as it’s trying to help you navigate to a location.

The problem with this is that they don’t always get the postal information correct, wrong postcodes, missing localities, older location names etc (for example EVELYN DOWNS SA 5723 doesn’t appear in Google maps, MABEL CREEK in SA has the postcode of 5723 but Google has it as 5710) and rarely contains sub-dwelling information such as unit, level or suite information so that address cannot be fully provided or verified.

The other problem with solutions that are built around navigation are how they make guesses of the location of an address even if it doesn’t exist. For example 200 Samantha Riley Drive KELLYVILLE in NSW exists as a street but not as the house number 200. Google maps will estimate the street number’s location which may be perfect for mapping and navigation but terrible if you want to verify if a package can be sent to that address.

The added bonus of using software that utilises the PAF information is that it also contains the postal barcode information for addresses. Having the ability to use the postal barcodes means you can save thousands of dollars on your bulk mailings.

And knowing it is a deliverable address also means fewer lost parcels and returned deliveries, which is another big time and money saver.

So next time you are considering your address capture systems have a look at our many options. DataTools has a broad range of software to assist you – both for use online, in the cloud or in desktop/server based databases. You can choose to either check the data on entry to a system, or run it through a batch option after the fact.

You can now even enhance your data with extra information such as geocodes and consumer segmentation based on addresses.

And best of all – our options are affordable.

To learn more – check out our address capture software here or call us on (02) 9687 4666.