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Is it necessary to add the postal code (zip) and city fields in the address of an house?

I see the reason for street and house number, but city and zip should be discoverable from the surrounding areas. Also, it's tedious to fill that fields again and again for each house in a street.

asked 21 May '15, 19:22

cweiske's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

edited 21 May '15, 21:46

You mention ZIP code rather than postal code so I assume you are in the United States. Turns out that US ZIP codes are based on lists of addresses and don't always map nicely into areas. So putting the ZIP code on each address is a good thing.

Regarding the city, if the object is within the boundary relation for a town or city then the data consumers should be able to figure that out. However there are times when the postal address does not match the city or town boundaries and in those cases you should put the city into the address too.

I don't know what editor you are using but at least one (JOSM) allows you to select your changed objects and, one selected, you can apply the city and/or ZIP to all of them in one operation. Assuming, of course that it is appropriate to do so.

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answered 21 May '15, 20:46

n76's gravatar image

accept rate: 17%


I'm actually located in germany and editing german data :) And I'm using the web editor (iD). I've updated the post to read "postal code" now.

(21 May '15, 21:45) cweiske

Germany has a complete set of administrative boundaries and postal code boundaries. So there is no need to map them again. Unfortunately not all data consumers can handle those boundaries. See this topic on the German forum

(22 May '15, 16:37) escada

re: wording of "postal code" vs "zip", perhaps it depends on what dialect of English the person has learned :)

(26 May '15, 08:31) rorym

Adding zip codes or postal codes to each addr: object CAN be helpful:

There are some quality check tools that try to find any OSM objects with addr:postcode=12354 that are in an area (postalcode boundary relation) with postal_code=12345.

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answered 23 May '15, 19:10

stephan75's gravatar image

accept rate: 6%

USPS ZIP codes are based on postal routes and are not necessarily bound geographically in any reasonable fashion. Census ZIPs try to approximate the geographic boundaries of the USPS ZIPs, but don't always line up (and include large areas that the USPS does not). Census ZIPs aren't used in addresses, though, USPS ZIPs are.

(24 May '15, 11:23) Baloo Uriza

Of course, if the city or zip boundaries have been mapped as areas correctly, it becomes redundant to add this information as it is retrievable based on where the building is located

e.g. this search shows the full address string but if you look at the building itself, it only has the addr:housenumber and addr:street tagging applied

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answered 21 May '15, 20:52

DaCor's gravatar image

accept rate: 2%

cweiske, zip and city fields are unmistakable part of the address of a building, apartments or companies. Read these lines as well http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Addresses - the zip, house number and country code are enough to get to the right address - not every router uses all elements of the address code - so add all the available address elements into OSM

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answered 21 May '15, 20:18

Hendrikklaas's gravatar image

accept rate: 5%


Depending on the editor you're using, you can apply the same street, city, and zipcode to many nodes and then simply go through them editing the housenumbers. In JOSM [ctrl]-R repeats tagging. Select all the nodes you're working with by [shift]clicking on each, then hit [ctrl]-R to apply the tags. I think Potlatch has the same shortcut.

(21 May '15, 20:42) AlaskaDave
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question asked: 21 May '15, 19:22

question was seen: 8,258 times

last updated: 26 May '15, 08:31

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