A high-performance, reliable API for geocoding student addresses and integrating with an enterprise GIS
The Chicago Public Schools (CPS) system is the third-largest public school system in the U.S., managing more than 600 schools and an enrollment of 360,000+ students. A vital step in managing student information is having accurate address data about each student. This helps enforce residency requirements for Chicago students, as well as support the selective school enrollment process. While U.S. addressing standards are well-known, converting those addresses into useful geographic information (a process known as geocoding) is more complicated. In addition, CPS had a need to integrate the geocoded addresses with their enterprise software systems.
To integrate directly with current enterprise software, a REST API was developed to geocode address information as well as retrieve relevant student information from the enterprise Geographic Information System (GIS). Because no geocoding service/process is perfect (meaning an address may not geocode properly), separate fall-back sources are used to increase the likelihood an address will be geocoded. The developed API provided a high-performance (useful for live, type-ahead searching) and reliable solution that can be easily integrated into additional CPS software systems in the future.