[Talk-us] USPS Address Database

Steven Johnson sejohnson8 at gmail.com
Wed Mar 2 21:11:11 GMT 2011

In the US, addresses are typically assigned by local (sometimes state)
governments and NOT by the USPS. The USPS is agnostic with respect to the
actual house number, as long as it is correctly encoded in their Delivery
Sequence Files (the DSF, which tells the postal worker where the delivery
point is). To my knowledge the DSF is not available as a public domain data
set; back in the '90's, the US Census Bureau had to get Congressional
permission to use it for creating the Master Address File (MAF).

Also, in most municipal street numbering and addressing schemes it is quite
common to assign addresses that increment by 4 (200, 204, 208, and so on).
In some areas,-particularly rural/exurban areas, addresses are assigned
based on the distance between the previous address so that you could
conceivably have house numbers 200, and 998 on the same 'block' (between
road intersections).

Hope this helps,

[t: @geomantic s: sejohnson8]

"A serious and good philosophical work could be written consisting entirely
of jokes." -Ludwig Wittgenstein

On Wed, Mar 2, 2011 at 15:53, Anthony <osm at inbox.org> wrote:

> On Wed, Mar 2, 2011 at 3:47 PM, Anthony <osm at inbox.org> wrote:
> > On Wed, Mar 2, 2011 at 2:23 PM, Brian Wilson <brian at wildsong.biz> wrote:
> >> You'd be better off trying to get tax assessor data on a county by
> >> county basis and then create centroids from the parcels.
> >
> > I've tried that, and it works great for individual residences.  But
> > it's useless for apartments and businesses, because there's only one
> > address per parcel.
> >
> On Wed, Mar 2, 2011 at 3:44 PM, Anthony <osm at inbox.org> wrote:
> > My understanding is that
> > the USPS maintains an extraordinarily up-to-date list of unique valid
> > addresses.
> >
> > A copy of it would be extremely useful.
> Point being, with the USPS "valid address database", when one parcel
> has an address of 740 Evergreen Terrace, and the parcel next to it has
> an address of 746 Evergreen Terrace, you'd know whether that means
> that one of the parcels has multiple addresses, or just that for some
> reason the USPS skipped a few numbers.
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