What is the difference between US Master Location Data (MLD) and US Address Fabric? I get asked this question a lot, primarily because the US Address Fabric is built from the MLD, but yet they are two separate products that fulfill different needs.
Master Location Data is our referential dataset for Geocoding. This means that the dataset is encrypted and only accessible via our Geocoding software. Clients license this data when they own a book of addresses and need to append a coordinate location (latitude and longitude) and, in some cases, enriched contextual information to their address records. This is done through the Geocoding Software by matching a client file record to that same address record in the Master Location Data. Because the goal of our geocoding software is to make a match, the MLD contains all variations of addresses, like alternate street names, secondary or vanity city names, and even historical records.
Address Fabric, on the other hand, is a stand-alone dataset in an open flat file format. This means that you do not need Geocoding software to access the file and it can be opened in any application that can load a table of information. The intent of the Address Fabric is to be a current inventory of all known US locations (postal and non-postal). Therefore, this dataset is pre-geocoded with the latitude and longitude coordinate and contains one address for each location, displaying primary street and city names for each address.
While these datasets are separate products, they naturally complement each other. Let's assume I am customer with an address book of 2 million locations and I want to understand the location of my addresses to delineate services areas. In this case I would use Geocoding and match to the MLD referential dataset to append the coordinates to my address records. Then perform location analysis to delineate my service area boundaries. My service areas have been created, I now want to understand locations within those boundaries that are not within my existing address book. To do this, I need the Address Fabric so I can visualize the new locations and perform look-a-like analysis to identify new customers that are within my service area.
If there are still questions about the differences, feel free to respond to this post.