I need to do geocode lookups so that I can show members of my website other members who are in their vicinity. My approach will be to obtain their latitude and longitude from their mobile device and then do a proximity calculation using the Haversine formula. If they won't allow me to use their location or if they're on a computer, I'll do a geocode lookup using either the postal code or city/region/country they provided when they signed up to obtain their latitude and longitude.

I want to obtain global data, i.e. not just North America and Europe, but Asia and South and Central America if possible. My platform is Python and Django. I can't spend a lot of money. I'd also like to be able to obtain some type of support (phone, email, chat).

I've done a brief assessment of the following geocode services and am wondering if there's anyone else I should consider?

  • Cloudmade: Yes. They appear to meet my requirements.
  • MapQuest: Yes. They appear to meet my requirements.
  • Google: No. Their terms state that I have to display a map which I don't want to do.
  • Yahoo: No. Their business doesn't depend on this service. Who knows how long it will be around?
  • Microsoft: No. Bing may get sold. Again, Microsoft doesn't rely on this service so I consider them too risky.
  • ArcGIS: No. They meet my requirements but they cost at least $1,500 for their Desktop product.
  • deCarta: No. Their service looks good but their site says they don't have geocode data for Africa, Asia, and most of South and Central America.
  • Cartodb: Yes. They appear to meet my requirements.
  • Texas A&M Geocoding Services: No. Their data appears to be U.S.-centric.
  • Data Science Toolkit: No. Support seems questionable.
  • NetAcuity: No. This is overkill for my purposes and would likely be far too expensive.
  • MaxMind GeoIP: No. This requires IP addresses which aren't always accurate.
  • TwoFishes: No. This isn't a commercial product. No support.
  • Boundless: No. Another expensive enterprise-grade product.
  • Pitney Bowes: No. Enterprise-grade

Would Cloudmade and MapQuest be my best bets? Is there anyone else I should be looking at?

  • You don't need ArcGIS for Desktop to use the ArcGIS World Geocoding Service -- it has a simple REST API you can talk to outside of any ArcGIS Desktop application. Commented Nov 20, 2013 at 22:05
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    HERE (Nokia) have the largest spread of possible geocoding for the areas of interest that you are requesting, as they own Navteq data it as good as you will get developer.nokia.com/Community/Wiki/…
    – Mapperz
    Commented Nov 20, 2013 at 22:25
  • Mapperz, HERE looks like a solid product but I don't think I can use it as the FAQs say I wouldn't be able to include my own advertising if I'm using the HERE API.
    – Jim
    Commented Nov 21, 2013 at 2:09

1 Answer 1


MapBox also provides geocoding as part of their REST API and is probably worth considering.

Mapbox API

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