Characterizing the Quality of Address Data

Blog Administrator | Analyzing Data, Analyzing Data Quality, Data Cleansing, Data Management, Data Quality, Postal Address Standards | , , , , , ,

By David Loshin

My company is currently working on a couple of projects associated with address quality and location master data. We are reviewing a lot of the existing documentation that has been collected from a number of different operational systems, as well as reviewing the business processes to see where location data is either created, modified, or read.

And there are many references to operations or transformations performed on addresses, mostly with the intent of improving the quality of the address.

Curiously, there are a number of different terms used to refer to these
different transformations: validation, verification, standardization, cleansing,
correction. I am sure there are others. But what do all these things mean? And
why are these different terms used if they mean the same thing?

The first step in exploring the answer to this question is reflecting back on
the nature of deliverable addresses. When an item is sent to an addressed
location, there are some core concepts that need to be right:

1) The item must be directed to a specific recipient party (either an individual
or an organization).
2) The address must be a deliverable address.
3) The intended recipient must be associated with the deliverable address.

In addition, there are certain incentives provided to senders when the addresses
are completely aligned with the Postal Standard, adding one more concept:

4) The delivery address must conform to the USPS standard.

These directives provide us with some material with which to work for
differentiating the different terms used for postal data quality. More next