[talk-au] Address tagging guidelines for Australia

Stéphane Guillou stephane.guillou at gmail.com
Thu Mar 13 03:46:41 UTC 2014

Cheers Stephen for your input.

One issue that I just noticed is how people expect to read addresses. In 
iD editor, the address tags are organised as follows:

Which will lead contributors to add the suburb name in the city tag as 
this is usually how we write addresses (e.g. on envelopes), at least in 

But anyway, ultimately, if suburb/city/postcode boundaries end up 
covering the whole country accurately, I guess most software would look 
at those before the individual tags, as Ben explained.

Goodo, thanks everyone!


On 13/03/14 13:07, stev391 at email.com wrote:
> I have no strong views on the question regarding the use of addr:city, 
> in the past I have utilised it in some areas and not in others as 
> described in your email (sometimes I have put the suburb in the city 
> tag, as it makes sense in areas, that I do not know are part of a 
> greater city), due to the lack of guidance on applicability in Aus.
> I am not familar of a current postcode boundary details, I tend to try 
> and identify this information from what I can gather in the field, 
> like addresses on menu's/pamphlets from restaraunts, shops, 
> businesses, or another source is friends addresses in the area.
> Agree that street and housenumber are the required tags, with others 
> optional.
> That is my 2 cents worth.
> Stephen.
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: Stéphane Guillou
>> Sent: 03/13/14 01:56 PM
>> Subject: Re: [talk-au] Address tagging guidelines for Australia
>> Dear all
>> Sorry to resend this but I just wanted to have some feedback on my 
>> recommendations about addresses and my question about the postcodes, 
>> if anyone is able to help, before I add these recommendations to the 
>> wiki.
>> Cheers!
>> On 20/01/14 12:41, Stéphane Guillou wrote:
>>> Thanks Ben and Warin for your input.
>>> So my understanding of it so far is that we could recommend to tag 
>>> as follows:
>>> *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, 
>>> Melbourne/
>>> /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 
>>> <https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/w/index.php?title=Import/Catalogue/ABS_Data> 
>>> 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 Australia?
>>> 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?
>>> Cheers
>>> chtfn
>>> 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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