[Tagging] Street and Sub-Street in Address Tagging

Alan Mackie aamackie at gmail.com
Sun Jan 17 18:44:14 UTC 2021

On Sun, 17 Jan 2021 at 07:30, Colin Smale <colin.smale at xs4all.nl> wrote:

> 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?
I may be confusing multiple threads but I think there was a discussion of a
few related scenarios:
(1) A terrace with a name that has its own numbering and whose houses
present their numbers to the road as if they were typical housenumbers
(rather than flats). How to tag these given that the street is unrelated to
the numbering?

(2) An estate or other business/commercial park in which the private(ly
maintained) road is used for numbering or determining the final bit of a
deliverer's route and so you may need to additionally specify a
'government' road as an additional level of disambiguation or to locate it
for ' officialdom'. Which bits get which tags? What "extra" tags are needed?

(3) Similar to (2), but where the final street you would need to travel
down is 'official' but shares a name with another one within the 'local
area' so the "main road" leading to it should be included for

I think there is also a variant of (1) in which the individual houses in
the terrace have their own house names so another tag would be needed for
terrace names.

Ideally we want something that can cope with all of the above gracefully.

> 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).
In places where the post is delivered to individual addresses I think we
should strive for reversibility. In places where post is normally collected
from the local office I think we should aim to record similar descriptions
for food delivery, directing plumbers etc etc.

I don't think we should allow ourselves to be too reliant on the
granularity of a postcode. These are often assigned in a way that is opaque
at best and non-postmen also use addresses to get to places without the
benefit of the master database.

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