Apostrophes, hyphens, and periods in addr:street=*?

What to folks consider the current best practice regarding apostrophes, hyphens, and periods addr:street=*?

This is a cross-post of a discussion started on the OSM-US Slack, made here to capture thoughts of those not on Slack.

This discussion in OSM-US Slack’s #local-maine channel points to the USPS recommendation on stripping special-characters from addresses. I’m currently working on an E911 address import for Vermont and the state’s E911 dataset also excludes all special characters in the source data. The USPS also prefers all-caps and abbreviated St/Ave/Rd/etc but in OSM we change case and expand abbreviations to improve completeness, legibility, and text-to-speech use-cases. Are apostrophes, hyphens, and periods any different?

While the USPS may not like special characters on mailing labels, many roads may rightfully contain these on their street signs with possessive apostrophes (e.g. Gordie's Path, Wissler's Lane), proper-name apostrophes (e.g O'Brien Farm Road), proper-name initials (e.g. F. Scott Fitzgerald Square), proper hyphenated surnames in a street-name (Robert Baden-Powell Avenue*, or place-names hyphenated in the road name (Derby-Springfield Highway*). Stripping these special characters when forming addresses to USPS guidelines is trivial compared to figuring out when and where to add them in automatically.

What do you think? When should we add special characters to addr:street=*?

  • Always add if written language context would imply them, even if they are dropped from signage for compactness.
  • Only add them if they appear on street signage. (or maybe other local government data sources such as parcel data)
  • Never add them — adhere strictly to USPS addressing guidelines.
  • Something else?

* Made up name, but I’d bet that similar things exist.

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Ce sujet de discussion accompagne la publication sur https://community.openstreetmap.org/t/apostrophes-hyphens-and-periods-in-addr-street/9201