The era of rooftop geocoding is upon us. Rooftop geocoding is now available in MapPoint Web Service. What is rooftop geocoding? With the popularity of aerial photography interpolation geocoding which has been in use for years is no longer sufficient to accurately pinpoint where a location is. Rooftop geocoding specifies exactly where the roof of a particular address is. FYI – interpolation is a process of estimating where on the street a particular location is. The upside of rooftop is many: (1) The point will be properly placed on the address; (2) the point will no longer be in the middle of the road; (3) for routing, we cross-bred interpolation with rooftop to put the point in front of the right address – otherwise routing would be all screwed up.

Here’s what you need to do to get rooftop geocodes. First off, you need to have an MapPoint Web Service account. Rooftop geocodes are not available via Virtual Earth, but they will display on Virtual Earth – a lat/lon is a lat/lon to VE. Rooftop geocoding is not available in the batch system (Customer Data Service). It is available only via the front end APIs – specifically, FIND using the FindAddress() method. When you make your request, set the “RooftopFlag” in FindResultMask (in the FindSpecification.Options class) when calling Find Address.  You’ll get back a find result with two locations, one called “FoundLocation” and one called “BestViewableLocation” the latter of which is rooftop. You can create a batch service on your side to go through your records hitting our front end APIs to get your rooftop geocodes. Let us know if you plan to destroy our front ends – a little warning is always a good thing – just shoot me a mail so we don’t block your IPs. We have approximately 45 million rooftop geocodes, since that's all that is available, but will continue to push more and more out as they become available. And, yes, it is only in the US. I know, I know, no love for the rest of the world, but if you know of someone who actually is creating this data, let me know. We'd be interested.

So, yeah! for everyone since we can now accurately pinpoint 45 million locations on aerial photos. Oh, and we didn't roll this out on the consumer site (Live Maps); not yet, at least.