[talk-au] Address tagging guidelines for Australia

Stéphane Guillou stephane.guillou at gmail.com
Mon Jan 20 02:41:17 UTC 2014

Thanks Ben and Warin for your input.

So my understanding of it so far is that we could recommend to tag as 

*addr:housenumber=*separated with semicolons if several, or range using 
a hyphen (current general addressing recommendations)*
**addr:street=*full way name*
*/*addr:postcode=*/four-digit postcode
/addr:suburb=//suburb name
//addr:city=large conurbation (is this the right term?) e.g. Sydney, 
//addr:state=whole name (as general rule is to make it as human-readable 
as possible)//
//addr:country=AU (country code as currently recommended)//
Housenumber and Street should be pointed out as the most important bits, 
as Ben explained. Tags in italic are the less important ones as they can 
be deduced from existing boundaries, and thus ignored to minimise a risk 
of confusion or inaccuracies. (?)
I understand from this page 
that the suburb boundaries already exist. About Australian postcodes, 
the same page says that an older dataset was removed due to a change in 
licensing. Is there any postcode boundary data currently in use for 

Add:city is a particular case as I understand there is no official 
boundaries for those "conurbations" - am I getting this right, Ben? In 
that case, should we recommend users not to use this tag at all as it 
might end up being confusing?



On 20/01/14 09:35, Ben Kelley wrote:
> Hi.
> There is an admin boundary level for local government areas. This is 
> like a British county.
> Note that all these can be derived for an address simply by looking 
> where the address node is. Is it inside the boundary for the country 
> Australia? Then then the address is in Australia. No need to tag it as 
> well. Same for suburb/town, LGA and state.
> The things you can't infer from an address's location are the street 
> number, and which street it is associated with.
> The boundaries for state and country are well defined. Less so for 
> town and LGA, but tools like Nominatum will use these boundaries to 
> describe addresses where they are present.
>   - Ben Kelley.
> On 20 Jan 2014 09:22, "Warin" <61sundowner at gmail.com 
> <mailto:61sundowner at gmail.com>> wrote:
>     On 19/01/2014 8:48 PM, Ben Kelley wrote:
>>     Hi.
>>     I think in Australia, as far as gazetted places go, suburb=town,
>>     but for these, you can derive it if the suburb has an admin boundary.
>>     City is not gazetted. E.g. Sydney is a suburb. An address in
>>     nearby Pyrmont is not in Sydney (the suburb), so saying it is in
>>     a city called Sydney might be confusing.
>>       - Ben Kelley.
>     Perhaps better to deal with it as a county/shire issue? As we are
>     british based then this may be of some assistance?
>     http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/English_Counties
>     This should separate any two suburbs of the same name (I hope!).
>     Unfortunately these are not in common use here (unlike britain) so
>     may not be helpful for general navigation.
>     As for the post office - I'd think they use the post code first
>     rather than the city/suburb. I'd think the OS Map is for
>     navigation, not for the post office? So it should make sense in a
>     navigational way?
>>     On 19 Jan 2014 14:01, "Stéphane Guillou"
>>     <stephane.guillou at gmail.com <mailto:stephane.guillou at gmail.com>>
>>     wrote:
>>         Thanks everyone for your input.
>>         I wonder what was the rationale behind using abbreviations
>>         for countries and states as I understood that the database
>>         must be as human-readable as possible.
>>         Still, I will be following the recommendations on the
>>         Key:addr page for addr:country=AU.
>>         However, I am still unsure about suburb vs city. Key:addr
>>         tells us to watch out for the Australian definition of
>>         suburbs, and Wikipedia says the following:
>>         "In Australia and New Zealand, suburbs have become formalised
>>         as geographic subdivisions of a city and are used by postal
>>         services in *addressing*."
>>         As we are here tagging the address, I was wondering: are we
>>         tagging so the addresses appear as they should when we use
>>         them (e.g. when we write them on an envelope) - the original
>>         point of tagging an address I guess - (in which case I would
>>         just go with addr:city=The Gap), or should we understand the
>>         tags as literally as possible (in that case, I would go
>>         addr:city=Brisbane and addr:suburb=The Gap).
>>         What would be the best way to decide on a convention so we
>>         can add guidelines for OSM-AU?
>>         Cheers
>>         Stéphane (chtfn)
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