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NodeJS bindings to libpostal for fast international address parsing/normalization
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node-postal

Build Status npm

These are the NodeJS bindings to libpostal, a fast, multilingual NLP library for parsing/normalizing physical addresses. libpostal is written in C because virtually every other language can bind to C.

Usage

var postal = require('node-postal');

// Expansion API
postal.expand.expand_address('V XX Settembre, 20');

// Parser API
postal.parser.parse_address('Barboncino 781 Franklin Ave, Crown Heights, Brooklyn, NY 11238');

Installation

Before using the Node bindings, you must install the libpostal C library. Make sure you have the following prerequisites:

On Ubuntu/Debian

sudo apt-get install curl autoconf automake libtool pkg-config

On CentOS/RHEL

sudo yum install curl autoconf automake libtool pkgconfig

On Mac OSX

brew install curl autoconf automake libtool pkg-config

Installing libpostal

git clone https://github.com/openvenues/libpostal
cd libpostal
./bootstrap.sh
./configure --datadir=[...some dir with a few GB of space...]
make
sudo make install

# On Linux it's probably a good idea to run
sudo ldconfig

Install node-gyp

Then install node-gyp system-wide:

sudo npm install -g node-gyp

Installing node-gyp on Linux (Ubuntu)

First make sure you have:

  1. gcc, g++ and make (sudo apt-get install build-essential on Ubuntu)
  2. NodeJS with all the development headers (if using a package manager like apt-get, follow the instructions here: https://nodejs.org/en/download/package-manager/)
  3. python 2.7

Installing the Node bindings

npm install openvenues/node-postal

Compatibility

node-postal is tested on most major versions of Node (0.10+) in continuous integration. The C++ bindings are written using Nan, which abstracts the API changes across various versions of V8, so the latest versions of Node will likely work.

If you're having trouble compiling, post a Github issue with your OS and Node versions along with the output of npm install / node-gyp rebuild.

Tests

To run the unit tests:

npm test

Troubleshooting

Installing libpostal: node-postal is a thin wrapper around libpostal, which is written in C. Installing node-postal with npm will not install libpostal as a dependency. The install steps described above will install it in standard locations for your OS. For OS X and Linux, that's /usr/local/include and /usr/local/lib. node-postal will look in these locations for the C libraries. If you have problems installing node-postal, check there for recently installed libpostal libraries.

Downloading Large Files The make process downloads ~750MB of data, ~2GB unzipped (note: these are production-quality machine learning models trained on over a billion addresses, that's how much disk/memory it takes). Make sure the --datadir argument to configure, which requires an absolute path, has enough room to accommodate the models. If you get errors after downloading, e.g.:

make[3]: *** [all-local] Error 1
make[2]: *** [all-recursive] Error 1
make[1]: *** [all-recursive] Error 1
make: *** [all] Error 2

there may be problems with subsequent install steps. Occasionally something will go wrong and it will give up downloading. Once downloading is complete, the make script will unpack the langauge_classifier.tar.gz.X files. If you see these files, your download may have stopped. Try running the make script again.

Special Thanks

Lucas Hrabovsky (https://github.com/imlucas) for information and examples of repos using Nan, node-gyp, etc.

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