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Thin Python wrapper for the US Census Geocoder

Project description

Census Geocode

Census Geocode is a light weight Python wrapper for the US Census Geocoder API, compatible with both Python 2 and 3. It comes packaged with a simple command line tool for geocoding an address to a longitude and latitude, or a batch file into a parsed address and coordinates.

It’s strongly recommended to review the Census Geocoder docs before using this module.

Basic example:

from censusgeocode import CensusGeocode

cg = CensusGeocode()

cg.coordinates(x=-76, y=41)
cg.onelineaddress('1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC')
cg.address('1600 Pennsylvania Avenue', city='Washington', state='DC', zipcode='22052')

Use the returntype keyword to specify ‘locations’ or ‘geographies’. ‘Locations’ yields structured information about the address, and ‘geographies’ yields information about the Census geographies. Geographies is the default.

cg.onelineaddress('1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC', returntype='locations')

Queries return a CensusResult object, which is basically a Python list with an extra ‘input’ property, which the Census returns to tell you how they interpreted your request.

>>> result = cg.coordinates(x=-76, y=41)
>>> result.input
    u'vintage': {
        u'vintageName': u'Current_Current',
        u'id': u'4',
        u'vintageDescription': u'Current Vintage - Current Benchmark',
        u'isDefault': True
    u'benchmark': {
        u'benchmarkName': u'Public_AR_Current',
        u'id': u'4',
        u'isDefault': False,
        u'benchmarkDescription': u'Public Address Ranges - Current Benchmark'
    u'location': {
        u'y': 41.0,
        u'x': -76.0
>>> result
    '2010 Census Blocks': [{
        'AREALAND': 1409023,
        'AREAWATER': 0,
        'BASENAME': '1045',
        'BLKGRP': '1',
        'BLOCK': '1045',
        'CENTLAT': '+40.9957436',
        'CENTLON': '-076.0089338',
        'COUNTY': '079',
        'FUNCSTAT': 'S',
        'GEOID': '420792166001045',
        'INTPTLAT': '+40.9957436',
        'INTPTLON': '-076.0089338',
        'LSADC': 'BK',
        'LWBLKTYP': 'L',
        'MTFCC': 'G5040',
        'NAME': 'Block 1045',
        'OBJECTID': 9940449,
        'OID': 210404020212114,
        'STATE': '42',
        'SUFFIX': '',
        'TRACT': '216600'
    'Census Tracts': [{
        'AREALAND': 86404594,
        'AREAWATER': 650526,
        'BASENAME': '2166',
        'CENTLAT': '+41.0361462',
        'CENTLON': '-075.9801252',
        'COUNTY': '079',
        'FUNCSTAT': 'S',
        'GEOID': '42079216600',
        'INTPTLAT': '+41.0379841',
        'INTPTLON': '-075.9743749',
        'LSADC': 'CT',
        'MTFCC': 'G5020',
        'NAME': 'Census Tract 2166',
        'OBJECTID': 61245,
        'OID': 20790277158250,
        'STATE': '42',
        'TRACT': '216600'
    'Counties': [{
        'AREALAND': 2305974186,
        'AREAWATER': 41240020,
        'BASENAME': 'Luzerne',
        'CENTLAT': '+41.1768961',
        'CENTLON': '-075.9890400',
        'COUNTY': '079',
        'COUNTYCC': 'H1',
        'COUNTYNS': '01209183',
        'FUNCSTAT': 'A',
        'GEOID': '42079',
        'INTPTLAT': '+41.1727868',
        'INTPTLON': '-075.9760345',
        'LSADC': '06',
        'MTFCC': 'G4020',
        'NAME': 'Luzerne County',
        'OBJECTID': 866,
        'OID': 27590277115518,
        'STATE': '42'
    'States': [{
        'AREALAND': 115884236236,
        'AREAWATER': 3395797284,
        'BASENAME': 'Pennsylvania',
        'CENTLAT': '+40.9011252',
        'CENTLON': '-077.8369164',
        'DIVISION': '2',
        'FUNCSTAT': 'A',
        'GEOID': '42',
        'INTPTLAT': '+40.9024957',
        'INTPTLON': '-077.8334514',
        'LSADC': '00',
        'MTFCC': 'G4000',
        'NAME': 'Pennsylvania',
        'OBJECTID': 37,
        'OID': 27490163788605,
        'REGION': '1',
        'STATE': '42',
        'STATENS': '01779798',
        'STUSAB': 'PA'

Command line tool

The censusgeocode tool has two settings.

At the simplest, it takes one argument, an address, and returns a comma-delimited longitude, latitude pair.

censusgeocode '100 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY'

censusgeocode '1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington DC'

The Census geocoder is reasonably good at recognizing non-standard addresses.

censusgeocode 'Hollywood & Vine, LA, CA'

It can also use the Census Geocoder’s batch function to process an entire file. The file be comma-delimited, have no header, and the following columns:

uniqe id, street address, state, city, zip code

The geocoder can read from a file:

censusgeocode --csv tests/fixtures/batch.csv

Or from stdin, using - as the filename:

cat tests/fixtures/batch.csv | censusgeocode --csv -

The output will be a CSV file (with a header) and the columns: * id * address * match * matchtype * parsed * coordinate * tigerlineid * side * lat * lon

If your data doesn’t have a unique id, try adding line numbers with the command line utility nl.


This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program. If not, see

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