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Mappable vs Valid Addresses

Mappable vs. Valid Addresses

Mappable and valid addresses are two entirely different things. A mappable address might not be an officially recognized (mailman-deliverable) or “valid” address. For this reason, there are instances where the Google Maps application can locate addresses that mail companies might mark as invalid. To put it simply, Google maps shows you the hypothetical location of an address. It does not identify whether it’s real or not.

Most mail carriers consider the validity of an address according to the following rules:

  1. the address has a mail-receiving mechanism, like a business or home at the location
  2. the location of the structure is validated by the USPS or any other official mail delivery service (for international addresses)

Mappable addresses rely on geocoding

Geocoding refers to the process where addresses (such as “1500 Amphitheatre Parkway, Los Angeles, CA”) are converted into coordinates (for instance, “latitude 27.423021, longitude -112.083739”). These coordinates can position the map or put markers on it. However, you can only find out what the position of that address would have been if it existed and cannot verify its validity.

Mapping services do not verify the validity of addresses.

Most mapping services, such as Google Maps, will only map a point near the hypothetical location of the address but will not conduct any postal address validation to verify if the stated address is real. If the city, state, and street all correlate, mapping applications will figure out the location of the primary number on that street. However, it doesn’t mean you can visit a structure using that address or send mail there. 

Mapping services like Google Maps are perfect if you want to see the possible location of an address. However, you will need to utilize other tools to know if it is a valid and deliverable address. In the end, it all depends on what kind of information you want regarding the address- is the address real or where the address would be located in the case it was real?

What is considered a valid address according to the USPS?

A valid address, according to USPS, is an address that meets their specific formatting requirements and standards. The United States Postal Service provides address verification if you want to determine the validity of an address. That is why validating your address data through the USPS is beneficial. It will help reduce returned mail and ensure better delivery times. For businesses, timely delivery to the correct address is key to a better customer experience. 

When sending mail inside the U.S., it is crucial to follow their address format requirements.

While everyone knows how to send a simple letter via mail, the USPS address format includes features that most mail senders don’t generally follow.

A valid address, according to the USPS, should have the following:

  • written only in capital letters
  • a deliverable address, including apartment number, suite number, or company name if applicable
  • valid ZIP+4 code
  • no periods or commas
  • valid USPS abbreviations and acronyms
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Written by Austin Proctor 
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