[Talk-GB] UK street addressing

Colin Smale colin.smale at xs4all.nl
Mon Dec 21 11:52:10 UTC 2020

That's why RM have a Dependent Locality, to distinguish between cases
like this. If the OSM addr:* tags are to represent postal addresses (and
that seems to be the consensus) then OSM should offer a place for the
Dependent Locality. RM say the Post Town is a mandatory component; why
do you disagree with them? 

If you are sending post to someone, you will most likely have got their
address from them, and not got it by reverse geocoding. They, in turn,
will have been told their postal address by Royal Mail. Your correct
postal address is ".., Charlbury, Chipping Norton, .." whether you like
it or not... Is OSM to record the "postal address" or "people's
perception of a postal address"? Or should OSM not define that, and
allow "any old definition of an address"?

You seem very anti-RM because they are commercial; however they also
have statutory roles, whether we like it or not. One of those is
"guardian of postal addresses". In your references to other carriers do
you really expect a house to have multiple addresses according to the
carrier? If I order something online for example, I fill in my (only)
address. I don't want to have a list of addresses, depending on the
carrier chosen by the webshop (which is actually none of my business
anyway). I would say that alternatives to the PAF give alternative
sources of information, not alternative addresses. 

On 2020-12-21 12:14, Richard Fairhurst wrote:

> Robert Whittaker wrote:
>> On the basis that it's a required part of each address, I 
>> would recommend that we do store the post town in OSM 
>> addresses. There are significant advantages to storing it 
>> in a consistent way, and the best existing tag to do this 
>> would be addr:city. (We wouldn't want to invent a new tag 
>> (e.g. addr:posttown), since as a UK-only term that 
>> will simply be ignored by most international data
>> consumers. 
> I quite strongly disagree with this.
> My address is x Market Street, Charlbury, Oxfordshire. My addr:city is therefore Charlbury.
> This suggestion would see my house tagged with addr:street=Market Street, addr:city=Chipping Norton, because Chipping Norton is the Royal Mail post town.
> If a letter is addressed to x Market Street, Chipping Norton, it will end up at x Market Street, Chipping Norton (and yes, there is one). Not x Market Street, Charlbury. You suggest using addr:town to get around this, but that seems to fall foul of your "ignored by most data consumers" point.
> A post town isn't a required part of an address. It's an occasionally suggested part of an address for customers of Royal Mail, useful only in circumstances where the postcode is omitted. Royal Mail themselves don't make any reference to it in their own consumer-facing recommendations, they just say "the town" (https://personal.help.royalmail.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/81/~/how-to-address-your-mail-%28clear-addressing%29).
> Royal Mail is one privately-owned delivery business which is heading rapidly towards being a minority provider, and by some measures already is. Other providers are not beholden to PAF and are increasingly looking outside it to their own datasets. Post towns are in any case superfluous for addresses derived directly from PAF (e.g. via an autocomplete mechanism on a website), because you have the postcode in that case. And that's just the delivery market - addresses serve other purposes, principally around geocoding/routing, for which post towns are irrelevant.
> More philosophically, post towns violate the "on the ground" principle. No one here writes their address as Chipping Norton unless PAF autocompletes it for them. No one has Chipping Norton on their letterhead. Trusting some remote third-party database in preference to local knowledge is not what OSM does, and particularly not OSM in the UK.
> By all means namespace it (royal_mail:addr:city) or use a bespoke tag for what is a bespoke concept (addr:post_town). But let's not remove useful information (the actual town/city) in favour of it, and let's not tag as if post towns are an intrinsic part of UK addresses, because they're not.
> Richard 
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