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I attempted to use CartoDBs Geolocate By Street Address functionality.

I used 3 columns: street address, City (Austin), and State (TX). I manually set the country to USA.

Of the 30 rows, only two ended up with a coordinate within the given city - the other 28 where all over the US. Is this typical?

Here is a link to the data: http://pastebin.com/w4MQgZuF

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    Welcome to GIS SE! I think it would help your question to edit it so that the 28 sample addresses with poor locations are included (or at least a few of them).
    – PolyGeo
    Apr 28, 2015 at 22:02
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    You may want to contact with us directly in order to check what happened specifically with your data in support@cartodb.com
    – iriberri
    Apr 29, 2015 at 13:31

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Answering the question after "solving" the issue, for the record:

We found out that by error, the system was asked to geocode by "address, state, USA" but the city wasn't included.

All the information that you can always add in the addresss will be useful for sure. In this case, adding the city name is something critical, as there may be a lot of streets with the same name around a country.

I usually like to do something else. Although CartoDB concatenates adequately the different columns, I always build a column and add all the data in that unique cell. You can do this with a query like:

UPDATE tablename SET new_address_column = street || ', ' || city || ', ' || zipcode || ', ' || state || ', ' || country

This way you can check directly what you're going to send before doing it. It's really important to take care of the data a little bit to avoid surprises afterwards! :)

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