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Geocoding issues related to app integration and address import problems

Geocoding is the process of identifying the longitude and latitude of a particular address and placing that address on a map.

Currently, addresses receive longitude and latitude data in one of three ways:

  1. An address submitted through a form on a website or imported in the control panel goes through the normal geocoding process in which NationBuilder appends latitude and longitude information to the address.
  2. A profile is created or updated via a mobile app or integration that provides latitude and longitude information alongside other address fields.
  3. A profile is edited in the control panel. Within a specific address, the "override longitude and latitude" box is checked, revealing fields to insert longitude and latitude.

When latitude and longitude is provided via a mobile app or integration, the "override longitude and latitude" box for that address is automatically checked. This means the address will not be sent through the geocoding process and will not receive updates to autodistricting information. 

There are a couple of problems with this:

  • In some instances, the lat / long provided by a developer was not as accurate as the lat / long produced within NationBuilder.
  • When an address with the "override latitude and longitude" button checked is updated via import, that box is not unchecked. This means the geocoding is not refreshed based on the updates. 


First, apps and integrations will no longer write to the longitude or latitude fields of an address. 

Second, we are changes were mad to updating an address via import. The import will uncheck the "override latitude and longitude" box, and future address updates via import will be geocoded properly. This functionality has changed already for the one-time import process. 

Auto-districting is done based on the longitude and latitude of a profile's primary address. Therefore, these problems increased the number of incorrect districts displayed via auto-districting. These specific issues have been resolved. 

As a general reminder, auto-districting is problematic in areas where geocoding is inaccurate. Geocoding is less reliable in sparsely populated areas and in countries with less developed infrastructure. This is why it is possible to override longitude and latitude within a profile - if you have more accurate information for a particular address, you can update that address in single-person view.

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