Torpidity Ringmapper

FAQ's.  Home  Upload  Work with data.

Q. What's the point of this site?
A. That's up to you. If you upload a list of addresses, we'll display them on Google Maps for you. How you use it is up to you, provided that you comply with our conditions of use.

Q. How does it work?
A. When you upload a file of addresses, all correctly formatted files are uploaded into our database. Then we geocode each address (where we obtain the longitude and latitude of the address.) All addresses that could be geocoded are then displayed on Google maps.

Q. Why didn't Ringmapper display all of my addresses?
A. The address may be in the wrong format in the csv file. Check that it meets the .csv file spec on the upload page.
It may be that Google were unable to geocode the address, (see below.) The upload page will detail if there were any errors in your csv file.

Q. How accurate is the geocoding?
A. Good question. The site was originally built around version 2 of the Google geocoding API, which used to be quite fussy in terms of the address formats it would accept, but would also return both a response code (was the geocoding successful or not) and an accuracy number (how accurate was the geocoding.)

Google deprecated version 2, and the site now uses version 3 of the API to geocode. The new API is much less fussy, so you're unlikely to get as many addresses failing to process. However, this is sometimes at the expense of accuracy. For example, even clearly non-existent addresses such as 1,000,000 Downing Street, London, will return a successful response.

The old adage about "garbage in, garbage out" holds true for your address data when geocoding.

Q. How long does the geocoding take?
A. Full Postcode level matching - < 5 seconds.
    Partial Postcode matching < 7 minutes.
    Full address geocoding - depends on the size of your file. We have to throttle the speed that we send each address to google to approx 1 per second.

Q. Is there a limit on the number of addresses I can process?
A. It depends on the precision needed. For postcode level matching, there's no current limit. If you choose address-level geocoding, Google allows us to process up to 2500 addresses a day. At the moment, we split those 2500 based on the number of active users of the site. You'll see how many addresses you can encode today on the work data page. This will also take into account how many addresses you've processed in the last 24 hours.

We allow a 20% failure rate when encoding. This is try and ensure fairness for all users. Geocoding of your data will stop when it exceeds a 20% failure rate.

You'll be able to try and process an address up to three times. After that, you'll no longer be able to reprocess an address. This is to keep things fair, and prevent users from wasting geocoding resources on addresses that are never going to geocode.

Q. What is partial postcode matching?
A. You may only have postcode district or postcode sector information, rather than the full postcode. In this situation, you can select partial postcode matching, and we'll attempt a partial match. Please note that this can take 5+ minutes to run on the database server. If the matching takes over 7 minutes, the matching process will be terminated. If this happens, you should perhaps submit your source data split into smaller files.

Q. Why am I seeing Sorry, data quality threshold not met?
A. Because we have a finite daily amount of addreses we can send for full address geocoding, we check the quality of any uploaded file prior to sending it for full address geocoding. We look at how many of the rows for each seperate address field are populated, and how many have a full, valid postcode. If the file does not contain enough valid address elements, we are unable to send that file for full address geocoding. Check that your input file contains as much address information as possible. If your file only contains postcode or partial postcode data, you should map your data using those functions instead.

Q. Do you cleanse the addresses?
A. Sort of. As mentioned above, we'll try and process each seperate address up to three times:
    Pass 1: we'll remove any county information from the address as this improves the geocoding results.
    Pass 2: if there's a populated town or city, we'll remove any district information.
    Pass 3: we'll ignore every field except the postcode.

Q. What can the identifier field contain?
A. We've updated the identifier functionality, so it can now contain both the identifier and additional descriptive text (including HTML markup.)
  • Surround your actual identifier in [id][/id] tags, e.g. [id]my_identifier[/id]
  • Then, after that, add any descriptive text including HTML markup. e.g. Click to see more info about <a href="external.html" >my location</a>.
  • The identifier field has a 200-char limit. Some markup (e.g. <script>) is not allowed.
  • All markup is URL encoded so the final message may be longer than the source message. Please bear this in mind if your source text is near the 200 character limit.
  • You can, of course, keep it old school and just have a standard identifier, with no tags, and no markup.
  • Examples of both types can be found in the example file you can download on the upload page.

Q. Can I use multiple icons in the same ring?
A. Not currently. Because the drilldown functionality allows you to view multiple rings on the same map, it's useful to be able to tell them apart by referring to their unique icons. 

Q. Can I send the data in other formats than a csv file?
A. Sorry, but no. As most people can cobble together a csv file, that's what we'll accept.