What is address validation? Benefits and use cases explained

Editorial team
Fri Jun 05 2020
Maps

What is address validation? Benefits and use cases explained

Editorial team
TomTom Blog
Fri Jun 05 20206 min read
What is address validation
Address validation (also known as address verification) is a process that ensures street and postal addresses exist. An address can be verified in one of two ways: upfront, when a user searches for an address that is not correct or complete, or by cleansing, parsing, matching and formatting data in a database against reference postal data.
Bulk address validation serves businesses that want to verify addresses. One example of when this is useful is when a user creates an account and provides a shipping address. By converting an address into an equivalent accurate latitude and longitude located on a map, geospatial analysis also becomes possible. This article explains how using location technology and map data can cleanse and structure the addresses of your users or customers.

TomTom plays a key part in enabling organizations to obtain precise methods of locating addresses which is crucial for use cases like geospatial data analysis. Companies such as SAP and Pitney Bowes use TomTom Address Points in order to deliver highly accurate geocoding by pinpointing specific locations, from existing street addresses to physical buildings.
Address validation helps verify the accuracy of address numbers, street names postal codes and more.
Address validation helps verify the accuracy of address numbers, street names postal codes and more.



The three elements of address validation

While sometimes grouped differently depending on the source, address validation typically consists of three elements: cleansing, supplementation and standardization.

  • Cleansing refers to repairing information such as a typo in the name of a street.
  • Supplementation is the addition of missing address components, such as a postal code.
  • Standardization encompasses address parsing, address formatting – for example, a house number being placed before or after the street name – and normalization, such as abbreviations (st. versus street).



Address validation use cases

Address verification has a core set of use cases. For example, it can be used to prepare an address for geocoding, ensure the correct delivery of a parcel or a letter, or check that an address does indeed exist in reality. Below we take a look at some common use cases.

  • Postal address verification: A useful application for address validation includes recognizing or verifying mailing addresses in bulk for postal delivery provided by companies such as USPS and parcel shipping provided by companies such as UPS and FedEx.
  • Validating shipping addresses for e-commerce: If you want customers to buy from you, requiring a shipping or billing address may be necessary for a website’s backend application. Nearly every database course examines postal addresses as a good baseline tutorial for data modelling in standard form, but what about the client side? This is where address validation comes in handy.
  • Census research in the US and Canada: Geospatial information system (GIS) and marketing professionals can use TomTom's latest maps to identify the optimal Census blocks. Address validation is a first crucial step that facilitates quick identification of the customers’ and facilities’ geographies. Examples of this include localizing the best location for a new retail site based on demographics or identifying broadband service availability.

TomTom equips GIS professionals with seamless access to rich Census information for applications such as geocoding, geomarketing, site selection, and comprehensive demographic studies. For example, TomTom can deliver the boundary information needed to incorporate demographic data with the richness of the U.S. Census files. This enables users to perform business analysis at the most local level of census geography, carrying out precise GIS analysis without a map.
TomTom data accurately pinpoints geocoordinates, addresses and POIs on a map.
TomTom data accurately pinpoints geocoordinates, addresses and POIs on a map.



The role of APIs in address validation

From enabling accurate pinpoint of geocoordinates, addresses and places or POIs on a map, to providing address autocomplete suggestions, APIs can be extremely useful in address validation. Main uses include:

  • Validating US addresses and returning closely matched addresses.
  • Parsing and normalizing street address data. Service will return a parsed street address with values normalized to USPS standard.
  • Verifying shipping addresses in real time around the world.
  • Postal address correction, validation, standardization and geocoding.



Address validation with TomTom

TomTom provides data for all key elements mentioned at the start of this article: cleansing, supplementation and standardization. Our products enable users to return structured and validated addresses.

Let’s take a look at some of these below.



TomTom Search API

TomTom’s Search API provides the possibility to access TomTom Maps including POIs as a service. It consists of five subproducts:

  • Search: Search for an address, search for a POI, or a combination of both.
  • Autocomplete: Provides related POIs or address categories that the user might be looking for upon a location search lookup.
Autocomplete provides related POIs or address categories that the user might be looking for.
Autocomplete provides related POIs or address categories that the user might be looking for.



  • Geocoding: Provides the latitude and longitude of a specific place or an address you enter. Addresses are converted into map coordinates. Supports both structured and free-form text search.
  • Reverse geocoding: Provides address location when you enter latitude and longitude coordinates.
  • Batch geocoding: Finds results for a batch of queries with one transaction.

Geocoding is the backbone of the growing location-based service market and a main source of address validation for industries such as fleet and logistics.



TomTom Address Points

TomTom Address Points is a dataset that delivers geocoding accuracy by pinpointing locations, from existing street addresses to physical buildings. This enables geospatial data analysis and offers users a faster, more precise method of locating addresses. It also positions an address on the map without computational error. The result is an unprecedented ability to direct users to property parcels by using the points that represent that parcel.
TomTom offers a database of over 458 million address points.
TomTom offers a database of over 458 million address points.


To support cleansing, supplementation and standardization, TomTom Address Points contains information such as street names, house numbers, postal codes, locality names (both municipalities, sub-municipalities and even smaller localities), region and country names. The dataset also includes the address schema, which indicates how the address is structured in a country or region.
Getting started with address validation

Check out this article to learn how to get started with address validation and data cleanup using the TomTom Search API.


Made to cater multiple use cases ranging from Automotive, Mobility, Logistics & Fleet Management & Analytics, and more, this service delivers an accurate method of increasing the percentage of locatable addresses/places.

Some of the main product features and use cases for TomTom Address Points are:

  • Highly accurate address positioning.
  • Collecting data from authoritative private and government sources.
  • Enabling cascade geocoding, increasing the likeliness of address matching.
  • Geospatial, business and demographic analysis.
Need help with address validation?

Get in touch to learn how our addressing and location search technology products can help you easily locate and validate addresses.

People also read

People also read

How to use POI data to power location-based apps
MAPS

How to use POI data to power location-based apps
Maps only matter if they matter to you
MAPS

Maps only matter if they matter to you
A safer, cleaner and congestion-free world, one update at a time
MOVING WORLD

A safer, cleaner and congestion-free world, one update at a time
Never miss a story

Never miss a story

Get the latest from the TomTom Blog in your inbox.