Quality of automatic geocoding tools: a study using addresses from hospital record files in Temuco, Chile

Maria Elisa Quinteros, Carola Blazquez, Felipe Rosas, Salvador Ayala, Ximena Marcela Ossa García, Juana Maria Delgado-Saborit, Roy M. Harrison, Pablo Ruiz-Rudolph*, Karla Yohannessen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Automatic geocoding methods have become popular in recent years, facilitating the study of the association between health outcomes and the place of living. However, rather few studies have evaluated geocoding quality, with most of them being performed in the US and Europe. This article aims to compare the quality of three automatic online geocoding tools against a reference method. A subsample of 300 handwritten addresses from hospital records was geocoded using Bing, Google Earth, and Google Maps. Match rates were higher (> 80%) for Google Maps and Google Earth compared with Bing. However, the accuracy of the addresses was better for Bing with a larger proportion (> 70%) of addresses with positional errors below 20m. Generally, performance did not vary for each method for different socioeconomic status. Overall, the methods showed an acceptable, but heterogeneous performance, which may be a warning against the use of automatic methods without assessing quality in other municipalities, particularly in Chile and Latin America.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere00288920
JournalCadernos de Saude Publica
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Impact of Wood Burning Air Pollution on Preeclampsia and other Pregnancy Outcomes in Temuco, Chile (DPI20140093) was garanted by CONICYT and Research Councils UK. J. M. Delgado-Saborit is supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement n. 750531. M. E. Quinteros and S. Ayala were supported by a doctoral scholarship by CONICYT Chile Beca Doctorado Nacional n. 21150801 and n. 21191111, respectively.


  • Geographic Mapping
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Spatial Analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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