This is a technique frequently applied to address validation, as it helps make both the standardizing and validating steps more effective. Properly identifying the moving parts of an address can make it possible to fill in or correct more data that would normally be possible with standardization alone. This means there's a better chance of your address validating, even if you wrote some of it down wrong.
Like standardizing however, parsing is not foolproof; parsing often runs into little hiccups, like when trying to differentiate between. Parsing is usually done in conjunction with standardizing, though a few validation providers do it as a final step after validation.
Once address cleansing has been performed and properly labeled via standardization and parsing, it's then taken and compared against a relevant database. The database used is the one that's the authoritative standard for whichever postal system you're using. Usually that database is the one kept by the postal organization run by that nation's government, like the USPS in the United States.
A search is made to see if the address in question is on the official list, and if it is, it "validates", and is marked as a real, active address. Failure to validate is the focus of this article, but the many different "whys" deserve their own explanations, so we'll circle back to it in a little bit. The short answer is that any address not listed in the database doesn't exist as far as the postal system is concerned, so it's marked "invalid.
This is accompanied by, if the validator provides it, an explanation of why it didn't validate or what part of the address failed to validate. The response a validation provider returns to you may also include any supplemental information that the provider compiles regarding addresses that are submitted to them. Many providers include things like geocodes that correspond to the address, RDI labels, or time zone information.
This supplemental information can range from nonexistent to exhaustive, depending on the company providing it. Now for the fun part. Addresses go wrong and fail to validate for a number of reasons, so while this is not an exhaustive list, what we've put together here is thorough.
The following list should cover just about every problem you're likely to experience. Never underestimate the power of humans messing up. Mistakes in the way the data is input, if not screened, often go unnoticed until much later. But even you're keeping an eye out for them, you're still going to run into entries that are typed in incorrectly. Severe misspellings, flipping or scrambling numbers in the street address or the postal code—a little slip of the key like that can cause your address to be invalid.
Similar to the above reason, sometimes information is just inaccurate. A wrong street name is put in, or city name, or postal code. Basically, any inaccuracy too severe for standardization to correct will make the address invalid.
Sometimes the problem is not that information is wrong, sometimes the problem is that the information is missing. It's really hard to validate an address if you don't know the house number or street name. On occasion, information is fake. People might falsify an address to hide an identity or steal one, or to sign up for duplicates of things among other reasons. Whatever the case, the falsification of information can cause an address to come back with an "invalid" result or worse, you might be accidentally validating someone else's address, without knowing it.
Sometimes the postal service you're validating against doesn't service an area directly. Everything from PO box—only ZIP Codes in the US to war-torn areas in a third-world country, there are just some places where the postman doesn't make house calls. If the physical address is not receiving mail, it means that it won't be registered in the database, and that means any mail addressed to it will be sent back where it came from.
Regardlesss of which country or what postal service you're dealing with, an address needs to sign up with that postal service if its to receive any mail. It's not the postal system's job to keep track of every available address that exists. It's their job to keep track of which addresses want mail. If you don't speak up, they assume you either don't want it or don't exist see below.
In either case, they won't be giving VIP status to an address that's not on the list. Similar to unregistered addresses, a new address may not yet have had time to sign up for mail, or perhaps the mail system is still processing and adding them to the list.
The postal service isn't keeping track every time a new house or building springs up out of the ground; that burdens on you. If you occupy a new structure, and you want to be receiving mail, it's your job to make sure the post office is aware of your presence.
Failure to do so will result in an invalid address. If no one is using the address, there's no one to sign the address up, so it's not on the list. Every now and again, you're looking at an address that doesn't exist. Sometimes it's an address that's recently been condemned, demolished, or otherwise no longer in use.
More often, it's because the address never existed in the first place. No one has a use for an imaginary address. The post office has no use for it, you have no use for it. So a validation of the address will just tell you that it can't find the address, making it invalid. Getting the United States Postal Service to recognize your address doesn't need to be difficult but it may take a few months to take effect. So, the sooner you get started the better. You will then be provided with the address and phone number of your local AMS office who is in charge of your address.
They will be able to aid you in getting your address added or corrected with their system. If so, you're probably wondering what that means. Do they have their own database, and is it more accurate? Is there something wrong with the authoritative database? How do the private carriers get away with shipping to these aberrant addresses? Private carriers market themselves on their willingness to go places that the primary carrier won't. Often, they'll even carry objects and substances that carriers like USPS won't touch.
But that doesn't mean they're better, or that the addresses they deliver to are "valid" in the truest sense. Here's a few examples:. You might think it's great that a private carrier can go to all these magical and exotic places. But by definition, if they're delivering to places that aren't valid, that means you can only ship via private carriers who, you know, cost more.
Now it bears mentioning that courier services like UPS and FedEx sometimes have their own address validation tools, but you should know that at least in their case, not all validation is created equal. These tools don't validate in the truest sense, they just tell you whether they would be willing to take your package to the location to see if it's real.
And we have to tell you, shipping a package is a terrible way to validate an address. For example, the UPS validating tool only covers the 50 US states, and it excludes military and diplomatic post office destinations. Likewise, the FedEx tool lacks some of the accuracy of more reliable validation, like the USPS address validation tools that we provide. For instance, it uses AVS to help fill in missing data, since it doesn't standardize. As for the actual validation, rather than comparing the address against an authorized list, The FedEx system just checks to see if the given address matches a real state, city, and street, then checks the house number to see if it falls within the available ranges on that street.
If it does, it "validates" to FedEx standards. That means FedEx is potentially validating the address to imaginary homes and businesses, and that you might not know your shipment isn't going to be delivered until you get a box in the mail with a "Return to Sender" sticker on it. They probably don't mind, since they get paid either way, but we're betting that you do.
Here's where the discrepancy comes from, using the US as an example: private carriers are not maintaining a separate postal system. They are using a system that is already in place—a system established and maintained by their competitor, USPS.
They're not aggregating and keeping their own database of addresses. All they're doing is delivering things. This is why we use authoritative databases when we validate. Though private carriers can reach locations that the databases say don't exist, they can't be counted on to tell you when an address is real and few, if any, offer international validation and we can just imagine the fun of an international package being returned to sender.
What is international address validation? For some causes of invalid addresses, there's nothing you can do. For starters, if someone falsified address information, then there is little you can do to track down the correct information.
But if the problem was that someone mashed the keys when typing it in, or there was a common mistake in names of places, a human touch can often resolve what a computer finds impossible. So here are a few ideas on coping with bad addresses. An address autocomplete API can be useful for a number of reasons.
One of those reasons is quality control. If a user sees their address being suggested as they type it in, they are more likely to click on their own, correct address. Because the address that is being suggested has already been properly formatted and validated, when the user clicks on it, that data enters the company's database correctly, the first time. Another benefit of using an autocomplete API is that it saves time.
And, if a user spends less time typing things into an order form, the risk of shopping cart abandonment is also lowered. The desired benefit of using this API is that as the user is typing, Google will suggest valid addresses that will hopefully match what the user is intending to type. So, one of the problems with using their API is that it doesn't do what most people think it does.
Since Google doesn't validate addresses, the addresses that are suggested via its autocomplete API are not necessarily valid. Well, if you're using the autocomplete feature to help reduce the number of invalid addresses that users enter into your system, and Google doesn't validate addresses, you could still be getting invalid data put into your system, even if you're using Google's autocomplete API.
Another problem with Google's address autocomplete API is that it has the same restrictions as mentioned previously in this article, namely:. So, if you're looking for a subtle autosuggest experience for your users, Google will not provide that for you. Secondly, SmartyStreets does not have oppressive attribution requirements. Geocoding not to be confused with reverse geocoding is the process of identifying the real-world geographic coordinates of a specific location.
Therefore, a Geocoding API would allow its users to programmatically identify the geocodes of a specific location, depending upon the input it receives. One of the more common uses of a geocoding API is to convert postal addresses into lat long coordinates, also known as 'geocodes'. By entering that address into the SmartyStreets address validation demo , we see that the corresponding geocodes are:.
By using a geocode API to convert addresses into geocodes, we can quickly identify the lat long coordinates of thousands of addresses. This can be useful for a number of applications. One thing that Google is known for, of course, is Google Maps. And Google Maps has pretty much become the default way of finding your way around places.
How many of us have used Google Maps to give us driving or walking directions to some place? Google Map's ability to find a specific location is based on their use of geocodes. In fact, when you enter an address into Google Maps, it will automatically convert that address into to the address's corresponding lat long coordinates, or geocodes. Those coordinates are then used to navigat you to your desired destination. Just keep in mind that when you're using their API, you have the same usage limitations and citation requirements that we discussed previously in this article.
So, if you can accomplish your project while giving full citation and displaying a map with your results, then the Google Maps API may be a good geocoding solution for you to consider. The SmartyStreets Address Validation API can also be used to find the lat long coordinates of an address, as shown in the previous example. Arrow Icon Articles. Try the free demo now. Address Validation APIs An address validation or verification API will programmatically check to see if an address is contained in an official address database.
Actually, No. Not really. You can use their API for free in most cases, but you must: That's right. For address standardization, Google really can't help you. But remember, Google does not validate addresses So, one of the problems with using their API is that it doesn't do what most people think it does.
Why is that a problem? Another problem with Google's address autocomplete API is that it has the same restrictions as mentioned previously in this article, namely: "Customer will display all attribution that i Google provides through the Services including branding, logos, and copyright and trademark notices ; or ii is specified in the Maps Service Specific Terms. Geocoding APIs Geocoding not to be confused with reverse geocoding is the process of identifying the real-world geographic coordinates of a specific location.
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