image   Practical International Data Management - Postal addresses


Table of Contents


Things to consider


There is a huge variance in postal address formats throughout the world, with differences between but also within countries. On a macro level there are at least 130 different postal address formats in use on the planet. Taking into account more minor differences, the number is much greater.

Address types


Components of a street address


Components of a mailing address


Mailing addresses are those addresses which do not contain a delivery point related to the physical location of the receiver. A mailing address may also be a physical location (e.g. post office boxes) or a mailing or routing methodology (e.g. Poste Restante). Mailing addresses are usually similar to street addresses but with the street name, building number and sub-building section(s) replaced with the mailing address indicator and (often) a number or code. Mailing address "destinations" include:

   Community Mail Box
   Counter delivery
   General Delivery
   Mailbag
   Mailbox  
   Post office box
   Postal Mailbag
   Postbag  
   Poste Restante  
   Private Mailbag
   Rural Route

Components of a large-user address

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Components of an unstructured address

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Components of a military address

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Enclaves and Exclaves


An enclave is a piece of land which is totally surrounded by a foreign territory, and an exclave is one which is politically attached to a larger piece but not actually contiguous with it. There are many enclaves and exclaves in the world, caused by geographic, political and historical anomalies. In many cases their inhabitants, when there are any, share the same addressing forms and formats as the non-contiguous relation, but in a small number of cases its geography affects its addressing. Read more here

Anomalies


There are many addresses which are not structured to include thoroughfare names, building numbers, postal codes and place names as would be familar to people in many Western societies. Even within these Western societies there are anomalies. Some examples of different formats:


           A5,6

instead of a street name. The whole block may take this form:

   Universität Mannheim
   A5, 6
   68159 MANNHEIM

A block address in Mannheim A block address in Mannheim

   N96 W18200 County Line Rd
   GERMANTOWN WI 53022
   UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

   W124N8145 Hwy 145
   MENOMONEE FALLS WI 53051
   UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


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Deliverability


It is a myth that an address is "deliverable" only if it matched the postal requirements of the country concerned. "Deliverability" is unmeasurable, unscientific and has little basis in reality. For more information:

      Mr & Mrs T Burlingham?
      Near the golf course in Thetford,
      Norfolk.
      Trevor is a photographer. This might help


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Translation:

      Vukasin 6 years and Jelisaveta 3 years
      I don't know the family name
      PRUSKA GORA
      SERBIA
      Their father is big, he drives a Citroën Belingo.
      He works on the little trains for tourists.
      Postman: Please find them!

Processing


A thoroughfare name place in both Italian and Catalan, Alghero, Sardinia, Italy
A thoroughfare name place in both Italian and Catalan, Alghero, Sardinia, Italy

   GB Technical Services
   Unit W7A
   Warwick House
   18 Forge Lane
   Minworth Industrial Park
   Minworth
   SUTTON COLDFIELD
   B76 1AH
   UNITED KINGDOM


   Department for Environment,Food and Rural Affairs (D.E.F.R.A.),
   State Veterinary Service
   Animal Health Office
   Hadrian House
   Wavell Drive
   Rosehill Industrial Estbate
   CARLISLE
   CA1 2TB

Resources





Practical International Data Management Online.  A free resource from GRC Data Intelligence. For comments, questions or feedback: pidm@grcdi.nl