[Talk-us] Road abbreviations

Toby Murray toby.murray at gmail.com
Wed Aug 6 19:08:08 UTC 2014

I would say the primary use of address data in OSM is geocoding, not mail
delivery. There may be legitimate differences between a street name and the
address of a house along that street but abbreviations are not a legitimate
difference. The Census Bureau also has a list of 503 "official"
abbreviations[1]. Which one should we use?

The answer is: Neither. It is always easier to go from full names to
abbreviations for display than to go the other way around. (See Mapquest
tiles - they abbreviate street names) Therefore we should always store
things un-abbreviated. No ambiguity, no questions about which list of
abbreviations, no one making their own abbreviations. Everything is



On Wed, Aug 6, 2014 at 1:22 PM, David K <vidthekid at gmail.com> wrote:

> The United States Postal Service prefers addresses to be written with
> abbreviations used, and they maintain a list of official abbreviations. I
> suppose they really only care about addresses written on physical mail, but
> then again this is the primary purpose of mail addresses.
> I know of multiple examples of places where the street name in the
> official addresses of houses on a street does not exactly match the name of
> the street itself. There is therefore no reason to insist these values
> should match.
> My conclusion is that address data should appear in the data as it
> properly does on a piece of mail, which includes using USPS standard
> abbreviations, and deviating from the road name in other ways where the
> postmaster has prescribed such deviation.
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