Standardizing Your Address Quality

In my recent series of posts, I have been noodling on the differences between the concept of an “address,” which implies delivery, and “location,” which provides a much broader view of geographic points in space that have relevance to business or operational activities. In my last post, we looked at the characteristics of each of these concepts and some critical differences.

And to continue those thoughts, as opposed to the level of precision provided by location coordinates, there is lingering ambiguity associated with addresses. For example, with a residential address, we could be talking about any of these points:

  • The location of the mail drop;
  • The location of the front door;
  • The location of the front of the driveway;
  • The median point of the parcel frontage; or
  • The center of the rooftop,

among other potential places. But, as my last set of posts was intended to highlight, there is great importance of high quality location information, and a good starting point is address standardization and cleansing. You need to be able to resolve known addresses into precise locations as well as map locations to their nearest addresses. Yet many organizations don’t have any handle on their own address standardization and cleansing strategy. It might be worth a quick scan and see how many different address cleansing tools are in place, how many people are assigned to manage those tools, and the many different sets of rules used in different business processes. Any replication of utility or functionality might be a sign that it is time to revisit that address cleansing strategy from an enterprise standpoint and standardize on one framework to reduce complexity and duplicative work.

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