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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

Pitney Bowes Announces PBLocator Geocoding for ArcGIS

July 19th, 2019 by Susan Smith

This week Joe Francica, Managing Director, Intelligence Solutions, Pitney Bowes talked about Pitney Bowes announcements over the past year, the primary announcement being the PBLocator premium geocoding to ArcGIS, announced at the Esri User Conference in San Diego.


“You could always use geocoding but it wasn’t a direct connection,” said Francica. “We have an API and for online an SDK, to either ArcGIS Pro Desktop or ArcGIS Online. What led to this is with Esri, we have mutual customers in many different spaces. We wanted to make it easier to connect directly into our geocoding solution, and they have the best of both worlds in the geocoding.”

Francica said Pitney Bowes continues to make investment in their data portfolio. Their software and data marketplace is now a full blown online marketplace, where you can view download sample products, streets, lines, neighborhoods. It is all online and you can purchase the data in a MapInfo Pro format, shapefiles, flat files and you can sample, view, etc. Whereas MapInfo used to provide CDs or floppy discs of their data catalog, now everything is online. The data catalog is used for the sales organization to show customers what’s available from the data library. It has a viewer and customers can download a sample set of data.

Last year, Pitney Bowes launched their enterprise intelligent infrastructure asset management solution Confirm, designed to empower public bodies with the insight to make informed decisions on repair, maintenance and investment for critical public infrastructure assets against tightly constrained budgets and timescales. Highly successful in the UK and Australia, Pitney Bowes has brought it to the U.S. DOTs, turnpike authorities, organizations that have responsibility for bridges, tunnels and turnpikes will find this solution valuable for managing not only linear assets but also cost account, and predictive maintenance. A true end-to-end solution, it also integrates with sensors, IoT, and the web environment.

“We manage 45-50% of trunk roads, and a lot of authorities and municipalities as well as within the highway system in the UK,” said Francica. “We can monitor sensors that have been put on roads, pavements and storm water sewers so we’re really a complete asset management solution. I talked to a customer who does asset management with Esri, and I was thinking you probably can do linear networking with Esri and that type of highway management but you don’t do cost accounting, cost remediation, and planning. Confirm has a mobile interface, so you can do mobile entry on it. It can have an interface for the citizens to report potholes, etc. When you add preventative maintenance and have a geospatial underpinning like we do, it really changes the ballgame. It is a true asset management solution to help us play in the smart city environment and know where hard assets are first.”

Pitney Bowes’ Spectrum platform continues to be their great platform for doing everything with data integration as well as geospatial data, to manage it and get it in the right form. Spectrum is great for data governance, and for large amounts of data coming out of mobile and IoT.

The big data environment is changing, said Francica, and everyone is deploying high compute cluster environments. “Now they’re beginning to understand it’s becoming a part of the overall IT framework,” Francica said. “These computing clusters are leveraging a variety of solutions; some are propriety and some open source; we’re being asked to play there to do geoprocessing. Whether you’re using simple point and polygon calculations which are using volumes of data to do that, or geocoding or routing, we have a solution for those environments like Hadoop and Spark, that enable us to do that kind of processing.”

Francica said going forward his focus will be on bringing more of these end-to-end solutions to market in the retail sector of insurance, and the banking sector and other targeted industries.

What people need to do geospatial, data analytics or data science goes beyond data management but to how their data management solutions will play within the greater business environment.

Pitney Bowes Confirm

“The pre-processing of data is underappreciated,” said Francica. “This is why companies are hiring chief data officers in addition to their CTOs and CIOs. It’s really about data. We look at location intelligence – it’s really all about the data side. You can’t do analytics without data and you better have an authoritative source to go grab that data. That is where a lot of our focus is. Our differentiator is that we have the great data platform to do the data management side first so we’ll pull in data from Oracle or wherever people have their data stored, but you have to have a central repository, a central way to manage all that. Toward that end, some of the things we’re doing on the data science side, that next vision is for people connecting the dots of relationships with people. An example is an environment where you have a customer information management system that’s looking at who your loyal customers are, how many transactions they’re making and where they’re making them – and really understanding that customer interaction.  When people talk about publishing and interacting with customers for advertising and you’re pushing ads out to mobile devices, there has to be some recognition of what that customer wants and deliver that message at the right time and right place. You have to have someone to do that. What we’re doing is using not only location based information but tying those relationships – something called “identity resolution” so that if I know that Joe and Mary Smith are buying x number of products and here’s someone down the road from them buying the same types of products. You’re making that connection between what’s going on in this vicinity as an example. Maybe there are other families we need to deliver this same kind of message to. It’s all about the one-to-one customer analytics and our customer engagement solution.  We’re trying to tie some of our location based solutions into how we do digital messaging or video messaging with Engage 1 Video. We also have whole platforms for doing Chatbox, some of which is location based.”

The underpinning of Pitney Bowes’ geocoding solution is an Address Fabric from which they have built their addressing system. There are 190 million plus addresses in the U.S. that includes more locations than just a postal address. While Pitney Bowes' history is in the mailing business,  the company is transitioning to e-commerce and solutions for shipping.

For this reason their premium geocoding that focuses more on delivery points rather than just postal addresses. Sometimes you’re not delivering to a mailbox, you’re delivering to a doorstep.

“There are a lot of companies looking at that last mile delivery point,” said Francica. “We’re putting a lot of investment in addresses, delivery and shipping points. It’s a much more specific solution than postal addresses. We’re now linking all this data like demographics, neighborhood boundary data and associating that with these addresses, so geoenrichment is not just to have a postal address but to enrich it with psychographics, geo-demographics and regular demographic information.  Now that we have all this abundant rich data, it makes doing location and geospatial analytic queries a lot more important than just querying the dots on a map. The reason we were able to make this linkage between a demographic data portfolio and address fabric is we’ve added a unique identifier called the pbKey. Insurance clients have their own set of policy holder data based on address. They add it to their address dataset, utilizing our geocoding to make sure addresses are correct,  marrying it with demographic information. Their ability to do geoprocessing and geoanalytics is becoming richer.”


GISCafe would like to congratulate the winner of our GISCafe Sweepstakes, Christopher Yonke, GISP, Columbia, South Carolina, who won a $100 Amazon Gift Certificate Sweepstakes.

Christopher Yonke is GIS Manager for McEntire Joint National Guard Base outside of Columbia South Carolina. He has been in the GIS field for 12 years now. He received his Masters Degree in Geography and Planning with a graduate certificate in GIS in 2008 from the University of Akron. He says, “Grew up in Cleveland Ohio, go Indians!”

Congratulations, Christopher!

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Categories: Big Data, data, drones, emergency response, Esri, geospatial, geotechnical, GIS, handhelds, hardware, lidar, location based sensor fusion, location based services, location intelligence, MapInfo, Open Source, remote sensing, resilient cities, retail, smartphones, spatial data, telecommunications, transportation

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