Zen & the Art of Geocoding

What I'm about to write is going to make me look either crazy, bored, or both. The truth of the matter is that I work a lot, and when I'm not working I like to do what no one else likes to do: I geocode addresses. In fact, I'm pretty convinced that every interesting list of addresses I can get my hands on would be better if it were geocoded and turned into a shapefile, even if I have no immediate use for that shapefile. It's a little like a hoarding disorder: you just never know when you're going to need it.

So, some people watch TV, some people knit (I do that occasionally too).  I geocode.  And it is an art, I swear.  There's the quick-and-dirty way to do it, and then there's the meticulous, double-checked, every-address-is-matched-to-100%-accuracy way to do it. The former is faster, but it is also the stressed-out method. It's what you do when you have to get it done quickly, when you're meeting a deadline, when you wish you weren't geocoding.  The latter takes forever, but it can induce a sort of altered state. It's easy enough to do so you don't have to think too much, tedious enough to give you that sense of meditation that only comes from super-repetitive tasks, and every once in a while there's that curveball address to keep you on your toes.

If you're a mapper like me, then you know what I'm talking about.  Most of us (myself included for a number of years) hate geocoding because we only do it when we have to.  Try it when you don't have to do it, and you'll see what I'm talking about. Geocoding might be the best hobby ever invented.