On Tue, 7 Jan 2020 at 19:42, Colin Smale <colin.sm...@xs4all.nl> wrote:

I'm glad you said "probably", because it is of course not always true. And
> these edge cases are what we need to accommodate. Limiting the discussion
> to just handling the easy cases is cheating.

I know it's not true because I've had to deal with some of these oddities.
Sometimes we can have a scheme that handles oddities in its stride without
imposing unnecessary difficulties on the normal cases.  I haven't seen
suggest anything like that (yet) for addresses.  But I still think we
should optimize
for the common case and not optimize for the abnormal case.  Make the easy
easy and the hard things possible rather than make everything hard.

> Bit of a philosophical question: What is an address? In the UK, the Post
> Town and Postcode are for the purposes of delivering mail. If they happen
> to be useful to other parties, that's great, but it is only a side-effect.

Post town is actually the opposite of useful.  People put the post town in
their address
rather than their nearest named locality which makes it hard to find them
when looking
at a printed map.  Actual nearest locality is far more useful whether
looking at a
printed map or making a nominatim query.  Post Town is no longer necessary
even for
delivering mail, it's just a historic artefact that serves no useful
purpose any more.

> The street name, plus house number/name, are more directly addressed at
> members of the public trying to find the property in question.

Street name is more useful than postcode in actually going to an address
you're using a satnav (and then it depends on the size of the postcode
area, location
of the address relative to the postcode centre, etc.)  But a lot of rural
around here don't have names (they may once have had, but they have faded
memory/use).  Sometimes house name/number and postcode are all you have.

Administrative boundaries are not relevant in UK addressing, unlike many
> European countries (I know about NL, DE, BE, FR) where "places" have
> defined boundaries.

Administrative boundaries are not usually relevant but are often given and
required when filling in forms.  They sometimes are relevant; there are
localities called Tarbert (sounds like a Dilbert character) in Scotland and
without a
postcode you need a county to figure out which one is which.  There are
other places
in the UK where the county is needed to disambiguate, and even some where
you need
more than just the county.

> The relationship between buildings and postcodes is N:M. If we replace the
> word "building" with "premises" and saying that an address refers to a
> "premises" may get us a bit closer, given that a "premises" may consist of
> part of a building, a  whole building, multiple buildings or any
> combination thereof.

I simplified, a little.  For anything that has a postal address in the UK,
the building(s)
number or name, plus the postcode, uniquely identifies it for the purposes
of postal
deliveries.  But the other stuff can be useful for other purposes.

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