[Talk-us] Directional Prefix/Postfix Proposal

Kevin Atkinson kevin at atkinson.dhs.org
Sun Aug 1 03:20:41 BST 2010

On Sat, 31 Jul 2010, Kevin Atkinson wrote:

> Since someone objected to my proposed changes to Salt Lake City, I am going 
> to go ahead and give my proposal for how I think directional prefixes should 
> be handled.  I am going to stay out of the debate on street name 
> abbreviations and focus on just the directional prefix/postfix parts.  I want 
> to come an agreement on talk-us, and then would like to make it an official 
> standard (at least in the U.S.).
> A full street address included more than just a Number and a Street, it also 
> includes a directional prefix.  Vid the kid, gave an excellent overview at 
> http://vidthekid.info/misc/osm-abbr.html.  For example (from his page) in the 
> address:
>  4242 S Champion Ave E
> The 'S' is a directional prefix and the 'E' is the suffix and in:
>  1337 Rainbow Dr SW
> The 'SW' is a directional suffix (really a quadrant suffix).
> I would like to formally propose two things
>  1) An exception to the abbreviation rule for directional indicators
>     with the fully expanded name going into "alt_name"
>  2) New tags to record the presence of directional indicators in the
>     address.
> #1)
> I propose an exception to the abbreviation rule be made for directional 
> indicators.  'North, 'South', 'East', and 'West' when a directional indicator 
> (and not part of the street name) shall be abbreviated 'N.', 'S.', 'E.', and 
> 'W.' (with a period, will explain why below), and Northeast, Southeast, 
> Northwest, Southwest shall be abbreviated as 'NW', 'SW', 'SE', and 'NW' 
> (without any periods).  The fully expanded name may be included in 
> "alt_name".
> Please note that when a street name included a number and a direction for 
> example "700 South" I consider the direction part of the name and not a 
> suffix, hence (for now) it should be abbreviated.
^^^ make that "should _not_ be abbreviated" sorry.

> Reasons:
> 1) When a directional indicator is included as part of the street sign it is 
> almost universally in smaller letters and hence of less importance. 
> Abbreviating emphases this fact.
> 2) Unlike street name indications, the abbreviations for directions are 
> fairly standard (with the exception of South sometimes being 'So' to avoid 
> confusion with Street, but that is not used very much, and 'S' is never an 
> accepted abbreviation for Street).
> 3) Spelling out the prefix can lead to ambiguous situations where it is 
> unclear if the prefix is part of the street name (vid the kid gave several 
> examples in his web page)
> 4) Single letter shall end with a period to avoid confusion with single 
> letter street names (E Street) or route designators (County Route E, but I 
> have no idea where that is used).
> 5) The fully expanded name may be included using the "alt_name" tag to aid 
> those searching for an address.
> #2)
> I propose two new tags:
>  name_prefix
>  name_suffix
> If the directional prefix is not part of the name than the appropriate tag 
> shall be used to indicate the need for a directional prefix in an address. 
> North, South, etc, shall be abbreviated as one of
>  'N' 'S' 'E' 'W', 'NW' 'SW', 'NE', 'SE'
> There is no need for a period here.
> If it is included in the word "included" shall be used instead.  This means 
> the the first word (for a prefix) or the last word (for a suffix) is a 
> directional indicator and shall be left in abbreviated form by name 
> correction bots and the like.
> Some Examples)
> To encode "South 700 East" in Salt Lake City:
>  name = "S. 700 East"
>  name_prefix = "included"
>  alt_name = "South 700 East"
> OR if the prefix is not included:
>  name = "700 East"
>  name_prefix = "S"
>  alt_name = "South 700 East"
> To encode "South West Temple" in Salt Lake City:
>  name = "S. West Temple"
>  name_prefix = "included"
>  alt_name = "South West Temple"
> (as an aside, it should never be written "SW Temple", as google maps has it)
> "K Street NW" in Washington DC,
>  name = "K Street NW"
>  name_suffix = "included"
>  alt_name = "K Street Northwest" (would anyone really write this?)
> Comments welcome.  I would like to get a clear indication on where people 
> stand on my proposal, so please clearly indicate if you overall agree or 
> disagree with my proposal.
> If most people agree with me, I would like to know the proper procedure for 
> making this into an official standard to follow (for at least the U.S.).

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