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PE Course Address Won't Take in the WOW/National Public Education Calendar Dashboard ? Try This

Occasionally, PE officers trying to enter a course into WOW's National Public Education Course Database get an error message that they have a bad address, which they KNOW (wink, wink) is correct.

The first line of defense is to check the address with the U.S. Postal Service, at their "Look Up a ZIP Code" page. Then, use the resulting address for entering into the PE Course Dashboard, letter for letter, copying the same abbreviations (ST for Street, FT for Fort, etc.). This will usually do the trick.

However, some addresses resist even this.  WOW uses Yahoo!'s geocoding Web service to validate addresses and get the meeting location's latitude and longitude for the marker on the map found on the course flyer. The reason WOW will not accept a questionable address is to avoid producing a map that shows the location of the course in, say, the Canary Islands.  But Yahoo! is actually more discriminating than the Post Office, and on occasion will find an address that it believes exists in more two or more places, the Zip Code notwithstanding

In such a case the PE Dashboard will reject the address and say that it is ambiguous.  What you can do then is to give it a little help: simply tack on the county name after the city, in the city field.

For example, if the address "322 Huff Street, Aransas Pass, TX, 78336" comes back ambiguous (it does), simply tack on the county name (San Patricio) right after the city name, in the "City" field:

Before: "Aransas Pass"
After: "Aransas Pass, San Patricio County"

You can also use the IT Directorates Geotest Utility to experiment with addresses (or find the geodesic coordinates -- i.e., latitude and longitude -- of your flotilla's meeting location for entry into AuxDirectory, etc.) and see how Yahoo's geocoder acts with a specific address. Sometimes, with a little experimentation, you can find the right "tweak" on the address (such as changing "Fort" to "FT" or Harbor to "Hbr") that does the trick.

The WOW Geotest Utility is at:

Finally, note that if your course is being held on a military base, the official USPS address of that location is that of that base, such as "McClellan AFB, CA" rather than the surrounding city.

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