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I recently did some research on geocoding services, and noticed that seemingly every API is unique. Unique in both the request format and the results returned. However, the general functioning of most of the services is fairly similar.

Hence: Do there exist any standards for geocoding services? (Obviously, they are not in widespread use, but I wonder if any have actually been proposed, by the OGC or anyone else.)

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The OGC made a press release:

OGC seeks public comment on proposed Geocoding API Standards Working Group

Contact:

info@opengeospatial.org

Release Date:

Tuesday, 5 September 2017 UTC

The Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC®) is requesting comments on the draft charter for an OGC Geocoding API Standards Working Group (SWG).

which may be what you are after but also, as you commented, there is a Location Service (OpenLS) which provides an overview of its scope that mentions a Geocoder Service:

The OpenGIS® Open Location Services Interface Standard (OpenLS) specifies interfaces that enable companies in the Location Based Services (LBS) value chain to “hook up” and provide their pieces of applications such as emergency response (E-911, for example), personal navigator, traffic information service, proximity service, location recall, mobile field service, travel directions, restaurant finder, corporate asset locator, concierge, routing, vector map portrayal and interaction, friend finder, and geography voice-graphics. These applications are enabled by interfaces that implement OpenLS services such as a Directory Service, Gateway Service, Geocoder Service, Presentation (Map Portrayal) Service and others.

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