Why can't I find this address on your map?

Joe from South Carolina asks:
quoteI am trying to set up a waypoint for 408 richfarm ct, lexington, sc 29072. It plots it with the incorrect coordinates about 5 mi NE of proper location. (it is really off of richmond farm circle, which it plots correctly.) Is your source data outdated?? I want to purchase your software, but I need to know the data will be current.quote

How can I find the location of this newly-constructed road?

GPS mapping of new subdivisions in ExpertGPS

I couldn’t find your address using ExpertGPS, and I couldn’t find it using Google Maps, either. A look at the 2008 aerial photo in Google Maps shows that there are several new roads being constructed in that development – presumably that’s where Richfarm Ct is.

The Go to Address command in ExpertGPS queries an online geocoding service to try to turn the address you provide (in this case, 408 richfarm ct, lexington, sc 29072) into latitude and longitude. There are three main sources of US geocoding data: the US census, Navtech, and TeleAtlas. US census data is collected every 10 years, so it’s typically missing new developments. But it’s free, which is why many geocoders use it. The service ExpertGPS uses relies on premium data from the private data vendors, which means you get better results.

But the sad truth is that it takes a bit of time from when a new sub-division gets built out until the private data vendors actually get the street geocoded and into their subscription databases. I actually got a hefty brochure in the mail last month from a company who’s sole purpose is to speed this process up – by somehow monitoring all of the new construction in the US, they hope to be able to provide geocoding information for new developments at the time they are approved, rather than waiting for the bulldozers to do their magic. Presumably one of the big data vendors will buy them up and we’ll all benefit from better address lookups for new construction.

In the meantime, my advice to you if you’re not able to find the address of a newly-constructed street or building using ExpertGPS is to:
1. check your spelling
2. check Google Maps or another online mapping service
3. enter the nearest cross-street, and go from there
4. use the Urban Photos view in ExpertGPS – can you see the new road?
5. run Google Earth – if you can find the road there, add a Placemark, and copy and paste back into ExpertGPS.