Fast geocoding library
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== About ==

neocoder is intended to be an extremely fast and versatile geocoding library, 
offered under an extremely liberal license. It is not yet considered ready for
general use.

Currently it is capable of processing Canadian road data in the GML format, as
produced by the Canadian Geobase organization ( Support for
other formats and regions (in particular, the Tiger Line database produced by
the U.S. government) is planned.

Neocoder is written in C++ with bindings for other languages written in SWIG. 
It currently only ships with bindings for the Python language, but it could
be made to work with other languages (e.g. Ruby) fairly trivially.

== Building ==

You can build and install neocoder via the standard:

'./configure && make && make install'. 

You'll need libpcre ( On Linux, you should be able to
grab a package with the development headers via your distributions package
manager (e.g. on Ubuntu Karmic the package is 'libpcre3-dev'). On MacOS X,
just do a './configure && make && make install' after downloading and
unpacking the libpcre distribution.

== Using ==

You currently have two options for using Neocoder: statically linking the library
into your C/C++/Objective-C application or using the python bindings. Either
way, you'll need to generate an SQLite database of the region you want to geocode,
so I'll go through that first.

=== Building a geodb ===

1. Download some road data from for the region you want to geocode.
Just sign up for a (free) account and go to the "National Road Network"
source. You'll need road data with street name and address numbering
information: I believe this presently includes all regions except Quebec,
although I have only tested Nova Scotia and Alberta.

2. Extract the data in some directory and make note of the file name containing
the actual geometry information combined with addressing info. As of this writing,
that should be a file that looks like this: NRN_*_GEOM.gml (the * should contain
province name and versioning info).

3. Convert the GML into a set of python dictionaries:

   utils/ <nrn file> <min lat> <min lng> <max lat> <max lng> > <python file>

For example, I use this command line to extract the rough region for Edmonton
from the Alberta geobase dataset:

   utils/ NRN_AB_6_0_GEOM.gml 53.412949 -113.934799 53.713699 -113.199875 >

4. Convert the python dictionaries into an SQLite database:

   utils/ <python file> <sqlite db>

Following the example above, here's the invocation to convert the Edmonton
python file into an Edmonton database.

   utils/ edmonton.db

=== Using a geodb ===

The first point of testing is the handy "geocode" test program, which is
actually useful by itself for converting an address into a latlng pair. Here's
an example invocation (using Edmonton, Alberta as an example again):

    tests/geocode edmonton.db "9718 153 street Northwest"

When you're ready to start using neocoder in your own programs, you can can
either link neocoder directly to your C/C++/Objective-C program or use the
python bindings. For an example of the former, look at the project Makefile
and see how we link the "geocode" utility. For the latter, run 'make install',
set the python path appropriately, and import the library. E.g.:

    export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/usr/local/lib/python
    >>> import neocoder
    >>> g = neocoder.GeoCoder("edmonton.db")
    >>> g.get_latlng("9718 153 street Northwest")