How to geocode lots (and lots) of points

Want to take a crack at mapping a set of points from an Excel spreadsheet?

Excellent. You need to do 2 things. First, geocode your data (in other words, assign latitude and longitude to each point). Second, map it on CartoDB. This post will walk through the first process, step by step. (Please note that this process will work with town/state data, or with street addresses.)

If you have a small number of points, you can hunt down the lat/longs individually (see the “Basic Geocoding” post. If your data describes lots of points on the map AND they are located in the United States, BatchGeo will do the work for you. Here’s how:

  1. Get your data here:
  2. Save it to your computer and/or open the Excel file.
  3. Copy the contents (on a PC, just control+ A to select, then control+c to copy)
  4. go to
  5. paste your data in the box (click in the box, then control+v)
  6. Wait until it shows up. Then click “Map now”.
  7. If BatchGeo tells you your data lacks column names, don’t worry. Just click “ok”.
  8. Wait for BatchGeo to work its magic. It will geocode all 50 rows.
  9. Click “Save and Continue”
  10. Give your map a name (it doesn’t really matter) and enter your email address. Then “Save map”. Then “Ok”.
  11. Now you will see then map of your data. Great. But how do you get it out of BatchGeo? Scroll to the very bottom of the screen. Click on “Download XXX Google Earth (KML)”.

You now have everything you need. (As long as you know where your downloaded data went on your computer – most likely into the “Downloads” folder.) Your geocoded data is in KML format. You can open it right up in Google Earth or your favorite GIS software. If you want to map it in CartoDB, see the Mapping with CartoDB post.