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Mapping and Geocoding, Part 4: Business Directory Data Set

Mapping and Geocoding, Part 4: Business Directory Data Set

Florists: A Network of Commercial Sites near the City Center and the Grands Boulevards

Primary source.

  • The French firm Didot-Bottin published an annual business directory for Paris akin to today’s phonebooks.
  • The directory includes entries for a variety of commercial sites such as florists, horticulturalists, seed sellers, and glasshouse vendors.
  • I use the entry for “Fleurs naturelles” (florists), in the 1870s business directory, to plot the historical addresses of the shops then in operation. (The entry for “Fleuristes,” cross-listed with “Plumassiers,” gives the addresses for shops specializing in artificial flowers for embellishing women’s hats and clothing.)
  • Full text searchable digitized volumes and downloadable PDFs of Didot-Bottin’s Annuaire-almanach du commerce, de l'industrie, de la magistrature et de l'administration are available from the BnF's Gallica database.
  • The amazing librarians at my university secured an interlibrary loan for a partial run of the directories. (See the ginormous and unwieldy size of each volume in the banner photo for this post!)


  • I keyed the data from the Didot-Bottin directory into an Excel spreadsheet. My university’s GIS specialist helped me import this data, in another file format, to ArcGIS.
  • I used the ArcGIS geocoder to match the 40+ street addresses to coordinate values.
  • Unfortunately, there is no way to convert historical street addresses to contemporary ones. The ArcGIS geocoder attempts to match historical with contemporary addresses, providing a report on the accuracy of the assigned values (match, tie, and no match).
  • The report for this data set indicates that at least 12 points are problematic.
  • To increase the accuracy of the points, I am able to sort the data into layers and manually adjust the points as needed.

This screen capture shows the initial mapping--it's a work in progress!!!

Part 5, Historical Parisian Street Data Set




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