Fastest Geocoders: Benchmarking Google, Bing, and MapQuest

When you have hundreds of locations to plot on a map, speed counts. You likely want to be able to convert addresses to map markers faster than one per second. Even if you only have a single record at a time, your user experience is negatively impacted by delays of even milliseconds.

Since customers of our batch geocoding service rely on fast results, we set out to compare some of the top geocoders to see how quickly they could turn around several hundred addresses. The results below show what we learned testing the geocoders from Google, Bing, and MapQuest, as well as some other geocoders we considered.

What is Geocoding?

Geocoding is the process of converting an address, city, state, zip code or postal code into mappable coordinates. In order to use most customized online mapping tools, such as Google Maps, you’ll need a pair of latitude and longitude coordinates for each of your locations, so each will need to be geocoded.

That’s how our page on geocoding addresses describes it.

For out geocoder tests, we used full addresses, including city, state, and zip code. There are many methods that cartographers can use to turn an address into a plot-able point. You can approximate with existing segments of a street, or use parcel-level centroids, to mention two. Regardless of the method, the result is what matters. Ideally, you’d find an accurate point in the shortest amount of time.


Before getting to the results, it’s important to understand how we approached our geocoding test. Our goal was to provide a setting to get the most accurate comparison possible, so we used the same approach with all geocoders.

Our dataset comprises 670 complete addresses. We opted to only include US addresses, namely a subset of those included in this dataset. Each address was URL-encoded and pre-compiled into the URL format used by each geocoder:

  • Google Free
  • Google Premium:
  • Bing:
  • MapQuest:

We stored the test URLs in four separate files, one address per line in each file. Using Python’s grequests library, we split the tests into equal-sized groups, running each group’s geocoder requests concurrently until all completed. We tested each geocoding provider with groups of 10, 30, 67, and 100. We tested each group multiple times, using the median result.

If you’re interested, you can see the benchmarking code on GitHub.

Geocoding Results

Group size Bing Google Free Google Pro MapQuest
100 4.987568 17.976482 14.626393 13.215507
67 6.509502 18.503981 12.980358 14.202346
30 13.812446 24.373537 13.332298 17.450716
10 28.278917 31.867758 26.12703 37.086448

Response Time

The first thing we can notice in the response times is how big of a difference concurrent requests make. With the smallest group size (10 requests at a time), all geocoders took about 30 seconds to process all 670 addresses. The biggest difference came in the largest group sizes (67 and 100 requests at a time), where Bing shined. Microsoft’s geocoder returned results for 670 addresses in under five seconds at its fastest.

As expected, Google Pro outpaced its free counterpart. At the largest group sizes, Google Pro was 23-43% faster than the free version. We should note that Google Free is built to cap out at a rate limit of 50 requests per second. Google Pro is decidedly the better option if speed and capacity are requirements (the free version also rate limits at 2,500 requests per day). In our informal tests calling Google’s free geocoder from JavaScript (the same method used on BatchGeo), we hit rate limiting that we did not see in our tests from a server.

Except in the smallest group size, MapQuest kept close to the others. The original web map company remains competitive.

Error Rates

Despite sometimes sending as many as 100 requests in a single second, every geocoder stood up well to the load. During our tests, only the free version of the Google geocoder ever returned an error, and that was only four times out of over 2,500 tests, or 0.1% of the time.

The low error rate is surprising, given that many APIs have rate limits, published or unpublished. But as mentioned above, these tests from the server did not appear to trigger rate limiting. Even the tests with 100 concurrent connections did not activate rate limits. While 670 addresses is enough to be a significant sample, it’s likely not seen as an abusive level of requests.

Accuracy of Results

As mentioned earlier, fast geocoder results are only useful if the data returned is accurate. However, since our focus here was on producing a speed benchmark, the accuracy of what is returned was not included. Further, determining whether a geocoded result is “correct” is up to many different interpretation methods. What determines the right answer? How close to the true result is “close enough?” Does the accepted range change based on the size of the property at the address?

Each of these questions is worthy of its own individual investigation, well beyond the scope of our speed benchmark.

Other Geocoders

Lastly, we did consider other geocoders that were not included in this research. Among them were Mapbox and LocationIQ. In both cases, our tests were rate limited, often even in the smallest groups of requests. Each likely has paid versions, which we’d be open to comparing in a future tests.

Fast Batch Geocoding with Built-In Maps

If you’re looking for the fastest way to convert a list of addresses into a map, batch geocoding is your answer. Specifically, our quick and easy mapping tool that makes geocoding as simple as copy-paste from Excel or any other spreadsheet.

Where College Football Players Come From

With college football bowl game season upon us, the whole nation seems to be celebrating the pigskin. Yet, some parts of the United States are more naturally football-inclined. Of course, there’s Texas, where the game is as big as the state, but there are a handful of other football hubs, as we discovered when we mapped every single college football player by their hometown.

View Where College Football Players Are From in a full screen map

Click around the map for yourself—it contains 25,000 NCAA football players. Or, read on to see the insights we’ve snapped from the map.

Top States for Football

The map makes it clear what some already knew—there are states that tend to produce more college football players than others. There are five states in particular that are home to more college football players than any other states in the U.S.

State Count
Texas 2,877
Florida 2,589
California 2,335
Georgia 1,950
Ohio 1,080

As we’ve mentioned, Texas tops the list of states with the most college football players. With 2,877 college football players who call the state home, Texas surely wins in producing these college athletes. Second on our list is Florida. The Sunshine State can claim 2,589 college football players as their own. California concludes the top three, flaunting a whopping 2,335 college football players. These top three states are all home to 2,000 or more college football players.

Georgia earns its place in the top five states with just under 2,000 college football players—1,950 to be exact. We close out the top five states for college football players with Ohio. The state has 1,080 players and is the last state to have 1,000 or more college football players call it home.

Curious about the states that produce the least amount of college football players? The following five states have all produced less than 25 college football players. Wyoming has 23 college football who claim the state as home. Maine and New Hampshire both have 21 homegrown college players. Arkansas has 14 and Vermont has the very lowest with only two college football players to claim as their own.

Top Hometowns

There are over 5,000 distinct hometowns for college football players.

That breaks up further into 3,000 cities that have two or more college football players claiming them as their hometown. There are 1,215 cities that have produced five or more college football players. Exactly 529 cities are home to 10 or more college football players. As for cities with 50 or more college football players calling them home, there are 49. And finally, 17 cities can claim 100 or more football players as homegrown.

The top ten cities for producing college football players might not be a much of a surprise. A large majority of these cities are located within the top 5 states for football players.

Hometown Count
Houston, TX 319
Miami, FL 296
Jacksonville, FL 213
Atlanta, GA 204
New Orleans, LA 179
Charlotte, NC 160
Tampa, FL 154
Cincinnati, OH 154
Dallas, TX 144
Chicago, IL 134

Just as expected for the number one top state for raising college football players, a Texas city produces the most college football players. Which city in the football player hub produces the most for the state? Houston, Texas. Houston is home to 319 college football players, which is more than any other city.

Second place goes to Miami, Florida which is home to 296 football players. Rounding out the top three is another city in Florida: Jacksonville, Florida, which is the hometown of 213 college football players. Atlanta, Georgia is home to 204 college football players, ending the 200 plus, and our top four cities.

The rest of the cities on our top ten list are all home to 100 or more college football players.

Most Popular Colleges for Houston, Miami, Jacksonville, and Atlanta

Our top four cities: Houston, Miami, Jacksonville, and Atlanta also have certain colleges where more college football players stay close to home to play than others.

The most popular colleges for Houston, Texas, where players from the same city attend, include the Houston Cougars with 20 players attending from Houston, the Texas Southern Tigers with 19 players, the Rice Owls with 13 players, and the Texas A&M Aggies, Texas Tech Red Raiders, and Houston Baptist Huskies all with 12 players.

The most popular colleges for Miami, Florida include the Florida Intl Golden Panthers with 25 players who have chosen to stay in their hometown of the capital of the Sunshine State, the Miami Hurricanes with 15 players who chose to stay, the Florida A&M Rattlers with 14 players, and the South Florida Bulls and Florida Gators, both with 13 players.

As for Jacksonville? The most popular colleges for Jacksonville, Florida football-playing residents include the Florida Atlantic Owls with 13 players, the Savannah State Tigers with 10 players, the Jacksonville Dolphins with 9 players, the Florida Gators with 8 players, and the Florida A&M Rattlers, UCF Knights, and the Florida Intl Golden Panthers with 7 college football players choosing to stay close to home.

The most popular colleges for Atlanta are the Georgia Bulldogs with 9 players, the Georgia State Panthers with 7 players, the Florida A&M Rattlers and Savannah State Tigers both with 6 players, and the Alabama A&M Bulldogs, Southern Jaguars, Hampton Pirates, and Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders all with 5 players.

Image courtesy of SBNation

International College Football Players

While many college football players are from hometowns within the U.S., we can’t forget the players not from the U.S. These players hail from all across the globe. From Canada to Australia to Puerto Rico, we were curious as to where these international college football players come from.

Three American college football players get to call Austrailia home. Alex Bland, who plays for the Oregon State Beavers is from the Land Down Under. Matt Leo, number 89 for the Iowa State Cyclones and Dominic Panazzolo, who plays for Texas Tech Red Raiders are also from Australia.

Miguel Provencio represents Mexico in the U.S. Provencio plays for the New Mexico State Aggies. Dereck Boles, who plays for the Arizona Wildcats, is from Jamaica. Withney Simon, who plays for Southern Illinois Salukis, is from Haiti. Three players come from the Bahamas. Mavin Saunders, who plays for the Florida State Seminoles, Chris Ferguson, who plays for the Cincinnati Bearcats, and Glen Bethel, number 70 for the South Florida Bulls all call the Bahamas home. Puerto Rico is home to Miami Hurricanes player Elias Lugo-Fagundo, and also home to Gerardo Rodriguez, who plays for the Stetson Hatters.

While Austalia, Mexico, Jamaica, Haiti, the Bahamas, and Puerto Rico produce some college football players, the vast majority of international college football players come from Canada. Canada represents a large part of American football.

Ontario, Canada, the most populous province in Canada, is home to 32 college football players. Quebec, Canada has produced 16 players who play college football in the U.S. British Columbia can lay claim to nine American college football players. Seven players are from Nova Scotia, Canada. Five players are from Alberta, Canada, and of those five, three play for the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Two players are from the district of Manitoba, Canada. These two players both happen to play for the same team: both Brady Oliveira and Mason Bennett play for the North Dakota Fighting Hawks. Canadian player Ladji Bagayoko plays for the San Diego State Aztecs.

This makes Canada’s grand total out to be 72 college football players.

By the Numbers: Height and Weight in College Football

Since we were looking at every college player, we decided to dig a little deeper than just the hometown. Football players are known for their size, so we also considered their measurements, too. In fact, you can use the map to group and filter by weight or height ranges.

The median height of all of the college football players is 73 inches or 6’1″, which we think is pretty tall. Even taller than that is the maximum height of the college football players which is 83 inches or 6’11”. Two players reach this massive height: Justin Wright, a quarterback for the Hampton Pirates and Sherman Harris, a defensive back for the Duquesne Dukes. No one can say they beat 6’11” currently in college football, so there are no 7-footers. But 6’11” is still pretty tall.

Rudy Ruettiger, who was known for his shorter height of 5’6″ has some competition in the current crop of college football players. There are 29 players shorter than the famous Rudy: 15 running backs, seven wide receivers, six placekickers, and one defensive back. However, the current minimum height is 60 inches or a solid 5’0″, which is six inches shorter than Rudy! This height belongs to Ronald Ricci of the Florida A&M Rattlers.

The median weight of all of the 25,000 NCAA football players is 215 pounds. The largest of the group? Both Cheickna Doucoure of the Central Connecticut Blue Devils and Jamari Logan, playing for the Northern Colorado Bears come in at the maximum weight of 425 pounds. On the opposite end of the spectrum is the minimum weight, which is 130 pounds and belongs to Champ Flemings of the Oregon State Beavers.

There you have it! Now you know the details of every single college football player! Whether it’s hometown, or height and weight, discover more about your favorite college football players on the map above. And if you’re more of a professional sports fan, check out these NBA Finals Winners and Losers on a Map.

100 Years Later: Major 1918 Events Mapped Out

It has been one hundred years since 1918, the year best known for seeing the end to World War I. However, there were many other important events that took place in 1918 that were unrelated to the first World War. These events fall into the categories of the Russian Civil War, politics, culture, disaster, and of course, the biggest disaster of all, World War I. Use the categories to easily navigate the map below, or read on for highlights from one hundred years ago.

View 1918: Map of Historical Significance in a full screen map

World War I

World War I, the war that resulted in the deaths of 9 million soldiers and 7 million civilians, was one of the deadliest conflicts in all of history. Among the countries with WWI-related events, based on Wikipedia’s list, are Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czechoslovakia, England, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Iraq, Ireland, Israel (then Palestine), Italy, Jordan, Poland, Russia, Serbia, South Africa, Syria, and the United States. There’s a good reason it became known as a World War.

Using the map above, click the WWI category in order to isolate the events related to World War I.

The war began with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria in June of 1914. The two sides fighting in the war were the Allies, which consisted of Britain, France, Italy, Russia, and the U.S. and the Central Powers, which consisted of Germany and Austria-Hungary, later to be joined by the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria. The Allies and the Central Powers ended the conflict on November 11th, 1918 with the Armistice of Compiègne named after the location in which the armistice was signed in Compiègne, France. However, the severity of the aftermath of the war was a factor that led to World War II in 1939.

Russian Civil War

Russia’s Civil War began at the end of 1917 and continued on into 1918. It was the immediate result of the Russian Revolutions of 1917. The Revolutions led to many different political parties vying for control of Russia’s future. The most active political parties in the Russian Civil War were the Red Army and the White Army. The Red Army fought for Bolshevik socialism and was led by Vladimir Lenin. The White Army was an anti-communist group who fought the Bolsheviks. The Allied Powers of World War I backed the White Army, and a total of eight other countries intervened in this Civil War in opposition to the Red Army.

The Russian Civil War ended in 1922 with an estimate of between 7,000,000 and 12,000,000 casualties, a large majority of which were civilians. The Russian Civil War has been described as being the greatest national catastrophe that Europe had yet seen at this point in history.

Other Political Events

Other political events of importance that occurred in 1918 include the last of the battles of the American Indian Wars between the United States and Native Americans, new voting laws in various countries, including women’s suffrage in the United Kingdom, a variety of successions and elections in several countries and the founding of the Association Against the Prohibition Amendment, an organization created to fight Prohibition in the United States.


Some of the highlights of the cultural events of 1918 include the death of the last captive Carolina parakeet, the test run of the first pilotless drone in New York, the death of a magician from a trick gone awry, a new bright nova discovered, and the release of a movie in the U.S. which featured one of the oldest actors to ever star in a movie at the age of 114.


While many amazing political and cultural gains were made in 1918, disaster also struck the year hard. The Spanish influenza ran rampant throughout the world, and many transportation systems faced disaster. This included the Great Train Wreck of 1918 in Tennessee, the sinking of Princess Sophia in what is known as the greatest maritime disaster in the Pacific Northwest, the explosion of a Japanese Naval battleship, and the worst railroad accident in world history located in Brooklyn, New York. Natural disasters also made frequent appearances in 1918. Earthquakes, fires, and tornados struck the world and 1,000 pilot whales became stranded in the Chatham Islands.

1918 was a very memorable year indeed, and here we are, one hundred years later! Click around to see more, or plot some history with your own map today.