ALPS: Address List Processing System

Standard and Custom Geospatial Services from the MCDC

Basic Definitions

Address List
An address list could be, but does not have to be, a list (in machine-readable format) of street addresses. More generally, it is a collection of entities that have a spatial location associated with them. A street address, including city, state, and ZIP Code is such an entity. For the purposes of this product, the entity ("location") must be within the United States and must already contain either latitude/longitude coordinates or some other information (such as a street address) that allow it to be geocoded to have such coordinates appended. Some examples of address lists:
  • A file containing the street address, city, state, and ZIP code of every Starbucks restaurant in the state of California.
  • A file containing one record for every nuclear power plant in the United States, containing the latitude and longitude coordinates of each site.
  • A file maintained by the state with the address of every visitor to any of the state's parks within the past 10 years.
Geospatial Service
A geospatial service is any processing of the location data on an address list that provides information regarding those locations. This information can be provided at either the location level (i.e., one set of information for every location on the address list), or it can be a summary of those locations, such as the number of locations located in rural areas or in predominently poor or Hispanic neighborhoods. The primary service offered by the batch CAPS system involves the creation of data describing the characteristics of an n-mile radius of the locations. For example, we can provide the number of persons living within a 20-mile radius of each of those nuclear power plants. We can also tell you what the poverty rate and median household income are for each of those 20-mile circular areas.

Available Geospatial Services

We specialize in data from the Census Bureau and other government agencies, and also specialize in issues of Census (and other related) geography. See, for example, our Geocorr application and our all about ZIP Codes resource page. We also provide a series of web applications that allow users to generate circular area profiles around user-specified locations. These are the CAPS applications. Some of the services we provide involve doing custom or batch processing, where we essentially invoke these applications for each location on the client's address file.

These are the standard services we provide as of June, 2018. We can also do customized services, when a client has a very specific processing need. Fees for such customized services can be negotiated on a case-by-case basis.

Geocoding level 1
Geocoding from an address. Input is a city-style street address (no rural route, P.O. box, or intersections). ZIP code or city/state required. Preprocessing to identify the street address (from among multiple address fields) and/or edit them is extra. The results are latitude/longitude coordinates and latest (2010) state, county, tract, and census block codes. Matching is done against the latest Census Bureau's TIGER-based address file; match rates can vary widely depending on the nature of the address list. Rural areas and new construction areas may have relatively poor match rates. Fees are only assessed on successful matches. Service does not include any processing of non-matches other than to provide user with a separate file of unmatched records with a reason-not-matched code.
Geocoding level 2
Geocoding to add user-specified geographic codes (such as urban/rural, place, county subdivision, state legislsative district, etc.) when 2010 census block code is already available on input list.
CAPS ACS
User can specify up to five radius values, each between 1 and 50 miles, and whether they want to use block groups or census tracts as the geographic units to use when estimating the circular area. For each location/radius, the standard ACS profile variables are written to an output file in any of several formats (CSV, DBF, and/or SAS dataset).
CAPS 2010
Same idea as CAPS ACS, except choice of geographies is between block and block group. The data that will be aggregated for the circular areas is the MCDC's standard profile based on 2010 Summary File 1 data.

Service Charges

All ALPS services are priced at $63.36 per hour (as of August 2018) for setup, testing, running the request, verification, and delivery, with a one-hour minimum charge. Estimates are free. Send your request details, including the number of records (locations) in your source file, to Glenn Rice at MCDC.