Edit: I am using Postgres 9.2 and recently installed PostGIS along with the Tiger Geocoder from the extras folder and downloaded all the latest Tiger data.

I have been testing the Tiger Geocoder function (http://postgis.net/docs/Extras.html) to process a big database of addresses in order to normalize/validate them and get lat-long coordinates.

I know that the function returns a rating between 0-100 (0 being the best), but I have not been able to find any documentation stating how to interpret the score.

How can I interpret the scores between 0 and 100?

  • Welcome to GIS SE! I notice that you have a postgis tag but have not mentioned that you are using PostGIS in either your Question title or body. Would you be able to use the edit button beneath your Question to revise at least its body with that information, please?
    – PolyGeo
    Jan 29, 2014 at 22:36
  • What do you mean by "validate" the addresses?
    – Matt
    Jan 30, 2014 at 0:13
  • Matt, What I mean by validate is that when you feed the geocode function an address, it tries to match it to a proper address along with normalizing the address. The addresses I am working with have been entered by hand, so some of them are not exact. For example: 8459F U.S. 42 , Suite 112 Florence KY 41042 When passed to geocode, this returns the address: 8459 US Hwy 42, Florence, KY 41042 This obviously didn't do a great job in this case since it ignored the suite number. In this case, it returned a rating of 40.
    – SBaha
    Jan 30, 2014 at 14:57
  • Did you ever find any useful documentation on how to understand the rating values? I know a lower score is better but can't find anything that gives a finer level of detail than that. Jul 29, 2014 at 18:44

1 Answer 1


As you already discovered, address input can be vague.

Geocoding function usually first try to standardize the input, which including use standardized format of road prefix, road post fix, abbreviations etc. It may use fuzzy match algorithm to do this, and I guess at least a part of rating score came from here.

For example an exact match have rating of 0, which means all part of address string is standardized. If it only need minimal change and belong to common pattern, the rating score could still be good. With very wild guess, the rating score will be very low.

I believe the actual score value probably don't have a strict scale, is result of internal algorithms and could change in future, you just need to compare the different match results and know the bigger rating score could mean potential problem.

You can also compare the original address, normalized address and the matched address to check whether the problem is with the normalization or matching process. It could be the address format cannot be process well with the normalizer, or the address format is OK but the geocoder cannot find matches.

P.S. There are several places in PostGIS documentation about address standardization / normalization:

  1. normalize address
  2. address standardizer
  3. pagc normalizer

From my limited knowledge, the normalize_address is built-in function used by geocode(). You need to install extension to use address_standardizer.

The latest release of PostGIS claim to have new native address standardizer.

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