Talk:Address (geography)

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Internet Usage[edit]

Does this section belong in this article? The anon editor admittedly "can't find exactly the right place for this on wikipedia," and since it isn't directed to addressing schemes as such, I agree that this article is not the right place. Doctor Whom 13:46, 8 August 2005 (UTC)

Given no comment in two months, I'll remove it. Perhaps the text, if better researched and made more NPOV, could be placed in another article. Doctor Whom 01:23, 8 October 2005 (UTC)
I disagree with removing this text from the article (and I shall put it back). The aim of contributions to Wikipedia is to improve on articles, not remove pieces of text just because they are not liked. Moving it to another article is good. Editing it to remove the NPOV appearance is good. Not good is to delete without any positive contributions.--jrleighton 01:54, 28 October 2005 (UTC)

mention Chinese alley # lane # address styles[edit] has alley # lane # address styles that could be mentioned. Jidanni (talk) 22:20, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

Birmingham, England[edit]

In the former example, the contributor can be guessed not to be from Birmingham in the UK because, although Birmingham is indeed a city in England, someone from Birmingham would be unlikely to use this format to describe their address. --- Well, then how would someone from the UK write it? -- --Keeves 19:39, 15 May 2006 (UTC)

As just "Birmingham"? -Lukobe 20:31, 15 May 2006 (UTC)
I've known people from Birmingham to write it "Birmingham, England." Doctor Whom 20:59, 15 May 2006 (UTC)
I tracked down the origin of this section. It was originally the "Revision as of 03:41, 3 August 2005", and was written by "", who wrote that a Briton would have written it as "Birmingham, UK" or "Birmingham in England", and not as "Birmingham, England". Given that he identifies himself there as "an indian citizen living in hong kong", I'm going to delete these references from the article. But his point that Americans have an improper propensity to assume that the wouldwide audience will understand the state abbreviations, I'll leave that part in. --Keeves 21:18, 15 May 2006 (UTC)

Address As "Geography" Often Isn't[edit]

Note the redirect from "Postal Address" to "Address (geography)". While the common use of the term "address" assumes some "geographic" name(s) / identification (involving some or all of street number, street name, apartment or suite, sub-division or "urbanization", city/locality, state, country, etc.), that is often not the case. That is, it would be more accurate to acknowledge the bipartite nature of "Address (postal and/or geography)". Indeed, if one wants to be even more precise and inclusive, that would need to be "Address (delivery routing information and/or geography)" - read further down for why. Not "postal" because there are non-postal "addresses". Non- postal addresses can either be so because of a lack of precise data (many countries lack that data in an open, consistent, and public form ... though a recipient or a community may "name" their location, which others may or may not use and with which those others may or may not agree!). Address may also be non-postal because some "real" locations (residences or businesses) do not have a postal address (by fiat or by design). Indeed, based on the Wikipedia entry for "geography" and some comments there (specifically those by William Hughes), one might consider replacing "geography" with [human] "named locations".

The domain of address as associated with a geographic name or location does not always uniquely and precisely cover the domain of "Postal Address". Why? Relevant address examples where geography and address representation do not merge and match (the geography is at least "opaque" from if not different from the "Postal Address" and/or actual delivery location) include Post Office Boxes (POB), Rural Route / Highway Contract (RR/HC), General Delivery (GD), Unique ZIP codes (used at least in the USA), military style addresses (used in USA, Canada, and elsewhere), and lately business complex or subdivision wide delivery boxes (to optimize their delivery operations, USPS is pushing both old and new business complexes and especially "gated" subdivisions to adopt "on site", consolidated / single location boxes).

For the last of the above examples, physical delivery location for suites or addresses is not directly / geographically at (each of) those addresses. Rather it is associated with a set of delivery boxes somewhere else. To be sure, that "somewhere else" may be in a building lobby or at a "front gate entrance" near those addresses; but, the address representation for delivery may either be by "box at general address" or use the geographic address (though the delivery is actually done to a box known to be the delivery location associated with that geographic address ... but again not at that geographic address itself). This is similar to a row of RR/HC mailboxes on a "main road" somewhat near to, though occasionally miles away from, the geographic locations (addresses) of the recipients. Note that though USPS is in the process of attempting to convert RR/HC type address to street name type address (and has been for some time), there are still several million of those in the USA (and many more world-wide, where any such conversion process - if it happens at all - will take much longer!).

Such non-directly-geographic addresses may only be "addressed" via their postal authority designations and by operational delivery knowledge. Those designations are mainly comprised of postal authority constructed and maintained "routing information". Under such designations and operations, there are not necessarily enough externally exposed or commonly recognizable "geographic" names or components to specify an "address" (city and state may be included but those could hardly be considered precise enough to identify an "address"!). Rather, precise "geography" (for physical delivery and/or for its association with some "real" geographic name / location) is only known by the delivery agency. And, the delivery agency is not always a postal authority. Private delivery can and does occur either as contracted - Rural Route / Highway Contract (indirectly postal authority) or completely via a private delivery service (which can maintain their own geographic name or "virtual" delivery designations for an address).

See UPS "loop and segment" route designations (virtual addresses) by which deliveries can be made to both postal and non-postal addresses (docks at warehouses, in warehouse districts for example). That is just one example of a private delivery "address" designation. The "loop and segment" designation (though often but not always associated with a "real" commonly named location and/or postal address) can be unique and allows UPS to accomplish delivery to a geographic location. But, that loop and segment identification should not be confused with a common geographic representation (it is only a current routing representation, since routes can be changed).

A PO Box can be designated as a numbered physical box in some post office that serves a ZIP (postal) code, or (if mail delivery is large enough for a recipient - either in volume or size) may just be a "pseudo box" (bin in the back or just a sticker on a package in a general holding area). Both the ZIP code and the post office (physical location and/or delivery responsibility) are open to change. Moreover, a change in ZIP code or a reorganization of post offices (old ones closed, new ones opened) can (and does) result in a different geographical location being associated with the same (unchanged) PO Box with regard to its recipient / owner. One can quibble about whether an unchanged PO Box number at the same or a new post office location with the same or a new (different) ZIP code is a different address (for the same physical post office with the same POB under a new ZIP code, or for a new location post office with the same POB under that same or a new ZIP code).

The situation is even more geographically divorced (or opaque) with unique ZIP and military style addresses. A unique ZIP identified address is merely a "routing code" (needing basically only the 5 digit ZIP!) for a mail-room. The physical location of that mail-room is necessarily known only by the recipient (who sets it up) and the postal authority (who delivers to it). That mail room may be located at or near a commonly known geographic location / address OR may be "secured" behind a gate and on property for which there is no commonly known geographic name (street number and name). One might obtain by means other than the unique ZIP a geocode for such a location; but few so far would accept a geocode as a commonly known geography named "address" (even though by means of mapping and GPS technology it could be more geographically precise than an "address").

A military style address is a routing code or identification known only by a military post office, to which the "regular" postal authority tenders that mail. The routing code may not relate to any physical location at all but rather to an organization (military unit) that "moves around" (obviously the case for a maritime unit / ship, but also for others as well). So there will be no invariant / permanent geocode for many military "addresses".

To be sure, one would like to ASSUME that such "odd" constructs will someday be dispensed with (say maybe everyone learns their "address" as a geocode and everyone else agrees to use that!? ... notwithstanding any "moveable" addresses like those for some military units). The weight of human "place naming" and postal / delivery operations being what it is, that may be unlikely for a very long time to come. So until and unless that happens, "address" will probably have these "quirks" that should be acknowledged in any reference source on the subject.

Verification / References - This could be unsatisfactory to some as it is "hard to come by". That is, the above information can (did!) require

SO, it is not surprising that the current article lacks citations / footnotes!

DavidP 21:34, 18 October 2006 (UTC)

Named location makes the most sense from what you have said. --Benn Newman 21:52, 18 October 2006 (UTC)
A distinction needs to be made between postal/mailing addresses and physical addresses. The United States Postal Service often uses the names of nearby municipalities (cities, villages, towns, etc.) in the postal/mailing address for locations technically outside the jurisdiction of those municipalities; thus, even though the postal/mailing address may indicate a city, the physical location may actually be located in an unincorporated area (or a different city.) Squideshi (talk) 16:55, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

american address format[edit]

in many countries you would format an address this way 111-4444 main st. the way you would interpret this address is the building number is 4444, and the apartment is 111. i was wondering if an american would interpret it the same way, or how else would he interpret it. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 03:10, 15 March 2007 (UTC).

That format isn't followed here. An example of the USPS standard for addressing mail to a suite or apartment number is shown here. Your address would be written 4444 MAIN ST APT 111. Some localities do, however, use hyphens within the building number to separate the block number from the building number within the block (e.g., 44-44 MAIN ST APT 111). Doctor Whom 15:25, 15 March 2007 (UTC)


It seems that this article should be merged into multiple places (Zip code, postal code, urban planning articles, etc.), but i'm only lukewarm on it -- the content and thrust seems kind of vague. Just H 02:47, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

I think this is about right. There's not a lot to be said about addresses, but it is a valid topic that cannot be exactly mapped to any one of those others. Nor should this article duplicate postal code etc. —Tamfang 06:13, 1 June 2007 (UTC)

I don't have a problem with merging of the two articles. I would want to put information on China's addressing system. For now, I will wait if the merger happens and contribute the Chinese's addressing system.[1]

China uses the format as follows (because it is a unitary state). Country, Province
City, Postcode
Street name, district
Name of Recipient
--Takamaxa 15:07, 20 August 2007 (UTC)


This could be added to "Street-naming conventions" if someone can verify it; I don't know where I read it: Quakers being egalitarian, the founders of Philadelphia chose not to name the streets for prominent men as was common practice, but used numbers for streets parallel to the water and local plants for streets going up from it; and not only the practice but also the set of names was copied in many western towns, so that there are Chestnut Streets a thousand miles from the nearest chestnut tree. Does this sound familiar to anyone else? —Tamfang 06:13, 1 June 2007 (UTC)

Geographical address conventions in the media[edit]

-- Moved here from the main article, where it did not seem to belong. Kuteni (talk) 12:01, 5 April 2008 (UTC)

People may be said generally to get used to the form of geographical address used in their home location. However, this can cause confusion when people naturally extend their written generalisations from nationally used conventions to media where the audience is global.

This can be observed most frequently with internet usage, and in films where a scene opens with the location listed on screen.

For example, it can be guessed that someone writing "Birmingham, AL" the following would live in the United States of America. It is common in the US to include state codes in addresses, but these are often meaningless to persons outside North America who are not accustomed to the US address format. In addition, the writer in this example has assumed that others would not only understand from the use of a state code that their city of Birmingham is in the state of Alabama, but also that their city is in the USA. Another example of this phenomenon of US address forms being exported to a global audience is with Google Earth. This service maps "Birmingham" to Birmingham, Alabama rather than Birmingham, England, and "St. Petersburg" to St. Petersburg, Florida rather than the more populous St. Petersburg, Russia.

Of course, the above phenomenon is not limited to the United States. For example, even in media intended for an international audience, it is not uncommon to see a neighborhood in London referred to simply by its London postal district, e.g., W1.

Google services take your current location into account when delivering results, so you probably won't see St. Petersburg in Florida if you search on a computer outside the US. Meustrus (talk) 19:34, 15 May 2012 (UTC)

Most specific to least specific[edit]

"In most of the world, addresses are written in order from most specific to general information, starting with the addressee and ending with the largest geographical unit." Can we be sure this is true of most of the world? A lot of countries certainly seem to put the house number after the street name, which violates the rule. 16:04, 3 March 2009 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)


The examples given for Ireland , even though referenced off a website are not quite right. "The Avalon Hotel, 223 BURLINGTON ROAD, IE DUBLIN 4" would never include IE nor would "The Avalon Hotel, 223 BURLINGTON ROAD 4," would never be left with just a 4 it would be preceeded by Dub. , Dublin or even BAC. "The Avalon Hotel, 21 NEW STREET, IE LONGFORD" again would not include IE. Examples "The Burlington, Upper Leeson Street, Dublin 4, Ireland" and "Longford Town Council, Market Square, Longford."

UK countries[edit]

It would be useful to know how UK addresses that require the country are formatted. (E.g. whether you would use "United Kingdom" vs. "England" vs. "Great Britain".) -- Beland (talk) 15:40, 7 September 2012 (UTC)

  • Generally we use UK or United Kingdom in our house when we go abroad but mileage varies, I should imagine a Scot with a support for the SNP might be tempted to put Scotland. I don't think there's a standard amongst us who reside in the country. How about those from abroad who write to us? I don't think you'd put England at the bottom of an address in Wales unless causing offence was your main priority! Addresses in the UK are somewhat personal taste at the best of times, a lot of people over 40 will still use the historic county borders rather than the actual address, for example. Hiding T 16:38, 7 September 2012 (UTC)
    • According to Royal Mail's addressing guidance at the Universal Postal Union, international mail to the UK should have "UNITED KINGDOM" on the last line of the address.[2] In practice, "Great Britain", "England", "Scotland", "Wales" and "Northern Ireland" are probably well recognised (though perhaps less so for the smaller nations), but "United Kingdom" is definitely the correct term. The country names are not used for domestic mail, as postcodes (or, as a fallback, post towns) are used for UK-wide sorting.
      Note that the Isle of Man,[3] Jersey[4] and Guernsey[5] are not part of the UK for these purposes, though to my surprise Jersey and Guersey are recommended to be addressed "CHANNEL ISLANDS" in the last line, even though they are politically and postally independent of each other.
      Richardguk (talk) 00:29, 8 September 2012 (UTC)

History and standard work[edit]

The ISO TC 154 (ISO Technical committee for Processes, data elements and documents in commerce, industry and administration), Physical Addresses and the Article RL 123.3.3 of the UPU Letter Post Regulations were valid for a long time but collapsed a number of years ago. The standard is deprecated. So we have no standards for addresses today. Most countries harmonised to the standard address layouts but a few stayed with old domestic address layouts like US and Britain. Actually the harmonisation process is going backwards today.

This is not a major problem for the postal services but for the computer industry making applications and standard sets of address information to print the addresses of different layouts on the envelopes.

I am pretty surprised that the similar text I wrote under history is removed, it prompts "This section requires expansion. (June 2008)" and that is what is there to say actually. But Wikipedia never seems to stop surprising? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:27, 24 January 2013 (UTC)

It would help if there were a citation to a reliable source that explained this; that may have been why it was removed. -- Beland (talk) 21:57, 18 June 2013 (UTC)

U.S. counties and townships[edit]

I removed this unreferenced claim from the "United States" section:

I don't know where it comes from, but if anyone agrees, please feel free to give a citation. I went through USPS Publication 28 and could not find any evidence that this is even allowed. -- Beland (talk) 21:55, 18 June 2013 (UTC)

grammar of History[edit]

There were previously a topic of Physical Addresses of the ISO TC 154 (one of ISO technical committees). And there were for many years an international standard of Physical Addresses, the Article RL 123.3.3 of the UPU Letter Post Regulations and most countries adopted those specifications.

This is ungrammatical, and I can't repair it without knowing what it means. Is this near accurate?:

The International Standards Organization's Technical Committee 154 ("Processes, data elements and documents in commerce, industry and administration") formerly had a subcommittee for physical addresses. The Universal Postal Union's Letter Post Regulations formerly included, as Article RL 123.3.3, an international standard for physical addresses.

Tamfang (talk) 03:04, 13 October 2013 (UTC)


"In older neighborhoods, a "main" building may have the same number as one or more "subsidiary" buildings accessible via driveways behind the main building. They will be addressed as e.g. vul. Lenina, bud. 123, i.e. 123 Lenin St), or "subsidiary" buildings may have own number." I am having trouble understanding what these sentences are trying to say. Can someone who knows the system used in Ukraine rewrite this to improve clarity and remove the grammatical and punctuational errors? For example, does "they will be addressed" refer to the main building or the subsidiary buildings? Either way, how is it different for the other class of building? --Khajidha (talk) 14:05, 26 August 2014 (UTC)

Nevermind, the Belarus section seems to be about the same system and was better phrased. I've copied it over, making a few very small corrections in both locations. --Khajidha (talk) 14:41, 26 August 2014 (UTC)

In Ukrainian "budynok" means "house" or "building", what means "d"? There is no word "дом" as in Russian. Moreover from my experience in Ukraine we do not have these extra units like Russian "строение" (at least I have never seen them). It is true that sometimes we have extra letters after the building number а, б, в Smirnoff 80 (talk) 08:13, 13 May 2015 (UTC)

Postal Address[edit]

In principle a "postal address" is distinct from a "geographical address" although we often don't see the difference. In countries like UK, the postal code directs postage by grouping delivery zones according to their respective sorting office. In Ireland, prior to the introduction of Eircodes, using a purely geographical address when the nearest sorting office was in an adjacent county often meant your post was late, or even lost. When the Eircodes were distributed, the accompanying letters gave the recipient's postal address, as understood by An Post, and that was sometimes very different to the equivalent geographical address, causing some considerable outrage and "push back". Recipients were advised to append the Eircode to their normal geographical address as it was designed to take care of any postal routing by itself. TonyP (talk) 22:01, 8 September 2015 (UTC)

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