Geocoding Services & Products

GeoPlus™Fully Automated ProcessingMarket-GradeBISG ProxyCustomQuickPoint™ Web ServicesZOOMFAQGeocoding Software


ge•o•code [jee-uh-kohd] n.

A set of letters or numbers representing the geographic location of a point in the plane of the Earth.
- vt. geocoded, geocoding, geocodes.

  1. The process of converting a residential or commercial property's street address into latitude and longitude coordinates.
  2. Translating the latitude and longitude into a set of geographic codes for analysis and reporting.
  3. Providing the capability of mapping the location of the property against demographics associated with the geographic codes.

Geocoding ServicesMost geocoding professionals will agree that geocoding is a relative term, depending upon the specific application and desired output. For example, when geocodes are used for HMDA/CRA Compliance, a high degree of precision on as many records as possible is required; the use of geocodes for marketing purposes and/or basic analysis may allow for lower precision and completeness levels. Selecting the right geocoding solution requires careful consideration of the purpose, expected volume and frequency of processing, the desired degree of precision and the immediacy of the results.

RATA Associates, LLC has specialized in providing geocoding services since 1987 and today is the leading provider of outsourced geocoding services to the financial services industry. Using a proprietary process, RATA leverages a dozen proprietary and commercially-available geocoding data sources organized in a 13-step process against one another for every address we geocode in order to derive the highest precision result possible. RATA's services offer several geocoding solutions designed to provide cost-effective geocoding services tailored to the customer's requirements.

If you are looking for a geocoding solution, RATA is ready and willing to help you identify the geocoding solution that most cost-effectively meets your business purpose. When you choose RATA as your geocoding solution, you can rest assured that you have made the right decision. RATA's highly skilled professional staff geocodes millions of address records every year; there's simply no substitute for that kind of experience. So whichever geocoding solution you choose, you will get the best value for your budget dollar. Guaranteed!

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GeoPlus™ Geocoding

Our premium GeoPlus geocoding is designed to provide Compliance-grade™ geocoding results at the highest precision possible for all records submitted. RATA achieves this high precision by processing every record through a combination of proprietary, commercial and online geocode data sources to find the highest precision value possible. When these processes fail to provide an acceptable result, our Geocode Technicians will work interactively with each address to scrub and correct address deficiencies and find the correct geocodes for the address provided.

Though it is possible under optimal circumstances for a company using other geocoding solutions to match the quality results of RATA's Premium geocoding services, chances are no one can beat our results. That's because no single address-matching engine or reference file can return 100% complete and accurate results all of the time, and it takes experienced and skilled staff to perform the interactive portion of the work.

Typical users of GeoPlus geocoding solutions are banks, credit unions and mortgage companies who are required under HMDA/CRA to provide the most accurate geocode results for every record submitted to their regulatory agency. FCC Form 477 reporters may also opt for this higher degree of accuracy to meet their bi-annual reporting requirements.

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Fully Automated Processing (FAP)

Geocoding FAQOur standard geocoding, known as Fully Automated Processing or FAP, processes all records through seven of our in-house automated geocoders and returns the best result possible without the use of online sources or manual intervention. This process is best suited to records that are not meant for HMDA/CRA reporting but may be analyzed in conjunction with HMDA/CRA application data, such as Motor Vehicle and Credit Card loans. The results of the FAP process easily bests any single source geocoding solution and in fact are usually sufficient for FCC Form 477 bi-annual reporting for most broadband and telephone providers.

Typical users of FAP geocoding are banks and credit unions who desire to analyze their extended loan portfolio containing application data that is not reported with their HMDA/CRA reporting. FCC Form 477 reporters are typically able to utilize the FAP process reliably to obtain the precision necessary to meet FCC requirements.

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Market-Grade (Bulk/Centroid)

If your company simply needs geocoding for marketing purposes, then RATA's Market-Grade (Bulk/Centroid) geocoding services are the affordable option. Market-Grade processing is used for business applications that do not require highly accurate or 100% complete address matching. All address files received for Market-Grade geocoding are processed through our top geocoding data source to provide the best single pass geocode result possible.

RATA's Standard Bulk geocoding service utilizes three of our seven address matching engines. For an additional fee, RATA offers Enhanced Market-Grade processing that includes one additional address matching routine that will typically improve the composite file match rate and the overall file accuracy level.

Typical users of Market-Grade geocoding are companies interested in targeting certain areas for business opportunities using demographic qualities associated with geocoding results.

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Bayesian Improved Surname Geocoding (BISG)

In September of 2014, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) improved upon existing methodologies for deriving the race of an individual when it is unknown. This process combined the Census Bureau's Surname List from the 2010 census with the block group, census tract or ZIP code demographics of the area to estimate the individual's race. This methodology is now considered the de facto standard in estimating race and has been used by the CFPB in litigation on numerous occasions. RATA was one of the first to provide this method by combining the results of our GeoPlus geocoding service with the Census Bureau's surname list to derive the BISG Race Proxy given the surname of the individual.

We have refined the BISG process and have also introduced two other proxy methodologies into the process for ethnicity based upon surname and sex based upon forename. When RATA performs BISG processing, the customer provides the forename and surname of the individual (up to two). We then geocode using our GeoPlus geocoding service to obtain the highest precision possible, then using the appropriate demographics based upon the geocode precision, we derive the BISG Race Proxy, Ethnicity Proxy and Sex Proxy for each individual.

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Custom Geocoding

RATA will customize its geocoding services for business applications whose needs are not completely met by any of our existing geocoding services. Our Geocoding Services department will work with you to define which data elements you need returned, the level of accuracy and completeness desired, the format(s) you will use to send us your address data, and the format(s) you want us to use to return the geocoded results. If you are looking for data elements that RATA does not have available, be sure to speak with our sales staff. We will be happy to research alternative data sources to solve your unique geocoding needs.

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QuickPoint™ Web Services

QuickPoint Web Services (QPWS)RATA's QuickPoint Web Services (QPWS) allows for seamless integration between our top geocoding data source and customer's data processing systems. Used heavily by Loan Origination Systems (LOS), QPWS allows the customer's system to submit address data to RATA's QPWS server and receive a nearly instantaneous response complete with all of our typical geocode data elements. The advantage to this method of "up-front" geocoding is the ability to determine what products can be offered to the applicant based upon the demographics of the area.

From a technical perspective, QPWS is a RESTful API service that takes standard HTTP GET and POST requests over a TLS connection, then processes and returns JSON responses of the corresponding geocoding data elements. All geocodes derived through QPWS are of regulatory precision and the user can elect to receive either a centroid or no result on records that cannot be geocoded.

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ZOOM Geocoder

ZOOM Geocoder SoftwareThe ZOOM Geocoder is a web-based tool that is designed for geocoding hard-to-find addresses as well as auditing other processes to make sure they are producing correct results. The ZOOM Geocoder utilizes 8 of the Internet's best and most up-to-date geocoders and mapping programs available. If these automated geocoders can't find an address, no automated tool can. It then consolidates the results from all of the geocoders and shows them on a RATA-enhanced Google map. By analyzing the results displayed, the user can compare all of the results on one page and select the correct tract quickly and easily.

The ZOOM Geocoder can also be integrated into a customer's data processing system directly if desired.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What elements are provided with RATA Geocoding?

All RATA geocoding solutions provide the following fields. Some geocoders cannot provide all of the fields listed so in some cases the fields may be blank.

Geographic Data ElementsPostal Coding PossibilitiesDemographic Data Elements
MSA/MDStandardized Street AddressCensus Tract Income Indicator
FIPS State CodeStandardized CityTract Median Family Income Percent
FIPS County CodeStandardized StateDecennial Tract Median Family Income
Census TractStandardized ZIP CodeDecennial MSA/MD Median Family Income
Census Block GroupStandardized ZIP+4 CodeFFIEC Adjusted MSA/MD Median Family Income
Census BlockStandardized Urbanization (Puerto Rico) *Minority Population
LatitudeDelivery Point *Minority Population Percent
LongitudeDelivery Point Check Digit ***
Time Zone *Carrier Route (CRRT) * 
Congress Number *eLot Number * 
Congressional District *eLot Order * 
FIPS Place Code *Address Type * 
GNIS Feature Code *ZIP Code Type * 

* Optional element provided upon request
** Additional Demographic Data elements available upon request


Can RATA geocode records in US territories?

RATA is one of the few companies able to geocode records in the US territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Virgin Islands. We rely heavily on proprietary geocoders designed by RATA since most commercial geocoders ignore these areas.


What is RATA's Geocoding fallback hierarchy?

RATA will always attempt to obtain Absolute Match values for all addresses being processed. If an address is unable to be assigned an Absolute Match after manual interaction, then fallback methods will be utilized. RATA will always return the most precise fallback value that can be determined for a particular address (ZIP+2, 5 digit ZIP, City or County). All records containing fallback values will be assigned Geocode precision codes so that they might be reviewed, corrected and re-geocoded.


Can RATA Geocode Rural Routes and P.O. Boxes?

RATA can correctly geocode Rural Routes in most cases. Many geocoders will assign values that correlate to the Post Office that does the delivery, but our process involves data that can in most cases geocode more closely to the actual property location on the Rural Route itself. As for PO Boxes, RATA's process in most cases returns the geocode values for the Post Office location itself, since this is where the PO Box resides.


Why is GeoPlus right for Compliance Applications?

Regulators emphasize that the starting point of HMDA and CRA compliance is good quality data. The single most important aspect of data quality is how well it is geocoded. RATA Associates has assisted lending institutions since 1989 in complying with HMDA and CRA needs. We are recognized among all regulatory agencies as an experienced and professional service bureau whose geocoding results can be trusted. When you use RATA's Service Geocoding you will:

  • Be spared the substantial time required to interactively or manually match addresses to the correct census tract.
  • No longer need to rely on Zip Code centroiding to assign a census tract. 
  • Be confident that your next exam's geocoding results will meet all regulatory requirements. 
  • Have more time to focus on analyzing your data.


How does GeoPlus Work?

Using a proprietary methodology developed and improved upon since 1994, RATA takes your addresses and runs them through 10 proprietary and commercial geocode data sources in a 13-step process that returns the highest precision geocode possible.

  • All addresses are standardized using both U.S. Postal Service CASS certified software and manual techniques.
  • All addresses are processed through a thirteen-stage process designed to maximize the number of accurate matches.

Geocoding Software


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