What’s in an address? Leveraging address data for planning

Batch address processing provides data cleaning, address geocoding and appends information that enables analysis

Name, phone, email and address: 4 pieces of information anyone asked to complete a form is usually happy to disclose.

And for the organisation collecting it – be it a business, healthcare provider, school or government authority – that data can be valuable when used effectively.

But thanks to text and email, communicating with customers via ‘snail mail’ is uncommon and address data often sits idly in computer systems. It could be better utilised.

Your organisation could use its address data to gain valuable insights.  

What if your address data could show you:

  • How far customers travel to use your service?
  • If there are specific communities that seek you out?
  • How close to the border of a catchment zone (i.e.: for a school) people are located?
  • The socio-demographics of people in the area?

Here are 3 steps you can take to move your organisation from idle addresses to customer insights.

1. Address accuracy (It’s no good if it’s not true!)

How do you know the address someone has given you is real or accurate? People are known to give out incorrect phone numbers, but they provide incorrect addresses too – intentionally or unintentionally.

Did you know ‘Kings Cross’ in Sydney is not a real suburb? Neither is ‘Manuka’ in Canberra. Yet people have been known to provide both in their address.

Or it could simply be a case of a typo or misspelling.

And while we may accept addresses at face value and casually enter them into the system, relying on an incorrect address for analysis is about as useful as a chocolate teapot.

Luckily, there’s a way to ‘cleanse’ your address data to confirm it’s accurate.

Geoscape batch address processing cleanses address data using PSMA Australia’s national database. It matches addresses in your database with real addresses, so you know what you’re working with is valid.

2. Location, location, location!

Where do your customers live? And what does that mean for you?

The second step on the path to insight is to understand the physical location of an address and be able to plot it on a map. This involves connecting an address with its coordinates (latitude and longitude) to derive new meaning from your database.

For example:

  • How far away from you are most of your customers?
  • Are they within certain catchment areas?
  • Do they live in clusters? Perhaps because of public transport routes or referring organisations?
  • Has advertising in a certain area been effective?

Geoscape batch address processing geocodes addresses, turning them into a real location with geographic coordinates, which you can use for analysis and planning.

3. Connecting data for deeper insights

What other information would you like to know about your customers?

Census data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) provides demographic information about segments of the population. The smallest segment is called a mesh block. It can’t be attributed to a specific household, but it can give you facts such as:

  • Average income for people in the area
  • Family makeup
  • Typical occupation/hours of work
  • Proportion with a disability
  • Plus much more

With this level of insight, you can get more specific with planning. Rather than basing your decisions on assumptions about who your customers or potential customers are, you can base them on real data.

Geoscape batch address processing assigns a mesh block to each of your addresses so you can attach useful socio-demographic data for better analytics.

Get a free quote for Geoscape batch address processing, including data cleansing, location and analytics here.


Read how it works for schools.

Schools and other educational institutions collect the home address of every student they enrol.

In planning for the future, a principal might want to understand where their students live, how far they travel to school and if there are clusters of students in certain areas.

Data cleansing

To kick off the process, the principal uses batch address processing to cleanse the school’s address data and confirm it’s valid.

Geocoding

Geocoding adds coordinates to addresses from the school’s database. The principal can then plot them on a map.  

The map shows some students travel up to 20km to attend the school, but most live south east of the school within a 5km radius.

Advertising in a new suburb the previous year only resulted in five new enrolments from that suburb.

Analytics

ABS data shows the average income of families in areas with higher numbers of enrolments differs from other areas. It also shows suburbs in the north have more retirees than families with school-aged children, which makes it undesirable for future advertising.

Through the analysis, the principal and staff now know:

1. Addresses in their database are accurate

2. Which areas their students hail from

3. The sociodemographics of the area.

The data helps them make informed decisions about everything from where they will advertise, to what information will interest their existing families, such as community activities and updates on public transport.