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Using and Enhancing the Free Map of the World.
By Frederik Ramm,
and Steve Chilton.
Many applications require geographic coordinates for given addresses. The process of finding coordinates for an address is called Geocoding. More and more, OpenStreetMap data is used for such Geocoding. There's a piece of free software that does an excellent job at this, and it is called Nominatim.
OpenStreetMap is still quite a bit away from having complete house number coverage in most countries. The geocoding precision is of course limited by the precision with which streets, houses, and their house numbers have been recorded in OpenStreetMap. In practice, this means that we can only offer geocoding with house number precision in well mapped areas of larger cities. If street level precision is sufficient though, then OSM is suitable for geocoding almost everywhere.
The precision currently offered by OSM is sufficient for many use cases. Geofabrik does not run their own Nominatim server, but we offer to install such servers for clients, either on their own hardware or on hardware leased by us, or we help clients to install Nominatim themselves.