Why valid addresses matter

  • Consistent formatting of valid addresses is important for accurately mapping and referencing geographic information

  • A poorly formed address could end up mapping to the wrong geographic reference or not at all, reducing the usefulness of the data

  • Poorly formed addresses can make cleanup of data labor intensive and result in reporting errors where geography (neighborhoods, census, etc.) is concerned

  • Poorly formed addresses could also result in additional costs because of things like:

    • Undeliverable/returned mail

    • Failure to apply benefits to recipients appropriately based on geography

    • Poor routing of vehicles or people in the field

Address formatting

  • Addresses should be output with the level of detail relevant to the data

    • e.g. permits applied down to the sub-address level

  • If providing addresses in a complete string, make sure the addresses are well formed and consistent for easy parsing, for example:

    • 741 Ellis Street, Unit 5, San Francisco, CA 94109

    • 901 Bayshore Boulevard, Unit 209, San Francisco, CA 94124

  • When providing multiple addresses within a dataset, prepend your column names with the type of address

    • e.g. address vs. mailing_address

Address elements

Below are some common elements of an address (but not all)

  • Not all addresses will have all elements

  • Address granularity will be driven by the business need, so not all systems will collect every element

    • Note: systems can be designed to validate or lookup addresses on entry, minimizing error

  • Make sure the individual elements of an address line up with the guidance below

  • You can publish addresses as either single strings or break into separate fields

Note: this guidance is provided to promote consistency across the bulk of shared tabular datasets and not as a comprehensive guide to address standards. For a comprehensive standard on addressing, see the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) United States Thoroughfare, Landmark, and Postal Address Data Standard

Last updated