[Tagging] Street and Sub-Street in Address Tagging

Colin Smale colin.smale at xs4all.nl
Sun Jan 17 12:02:55 UTC 2021

On 2021-01-17 10:13, Sarah Hoffmann wrote:

>> Same with 5796920749, which says the cafe is at 6 Sanderstead Road, but
>> also says addr:street Station Parade?
> And here: 6 Station Parade, Sanderstead Road, South Croydon
> From browsing the data, I have the impression that around 4 in 5 uses of
> addr:parentstreet come together with a building or a group of buildings in
> addr:street. That's why I was highly confused about the tag initially. But
> once you figure out that this might be just UK's Royal Mail trying to squeeze
> an address into their existing database scheme, it starts to make sense. At
> least for Royal Mail. As I say, I don't think it's suitable to have a 1:1
> mapping between Royal Mail database fields and OSM tags.

Sarah, it's actually the other way around. Royal Mail's data model for
addresses is their way of structuring the addresses that "exist" into a
machine-consumable format. Nobody in their right mind would come up with
RM's model given a clean sheet of paper. OSM data/tagging doesn't need
to be perfect, but we should aim for it being "good enough," whatever
that might mean. 

But let us just touch base here... What problem are we trying to solve?
What are the use cases? 

Given the premise that OSM addr:* tags are intended for a postal address
(what would you write on an envelope to get a letter delivered here?) my
personal preference is that the mapping is reversible, so you can go
from the tags to the/a correct postal address, AND from a postal address
to one or more OSM objects "at" that address. 

Does everyone agree with that? We need to have some consensus on what we
are trying to achieve in order to assess the potential solutions put
forward. What use cases for consuming the address data do we want to
address? Do they need to be "useful" or "correct" in some context? If we
can't answer that, then OSM becomes "WOM" - write-only memory (store
what you like, don't expect any useful outputs).
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