Not One Address but Two

It has been awhile since I last posted anything. December was a short work month for me due to vacation travel and then the holidays. We spent a very nice week in the French West Indies and along the way discovered a very interesting addressing issue.

Not One Address but Two
As you can see from the picture, addresses on this French island are also listed as Dutch addresses. So every house that was built before a certain time period has two distinct addresses. The official La Poste address is of course the 55 Rue Victor Schoelcher but the Dutch address is 55 Hwarfsgatan.

Why does this really matter to anyone? Well if you are using a standard international address verification tool such as Trillium or AddressDoctor, and the French version of the address is entered then you will most likely get the results back based on the French La Poste postal reference file (Which is the provider of the reference data file for the French West Indies). However if the Dutch address is provided will the address be recognized?

Address verification tools are only as good as the underlying reference data and the intelligent matching algorithms used to match against the reference data. If the product you are using doesn’t have the right combination of the two, then in the case of the French West Indies and other international locales with multiple address representations it is likely the address will be treated improperly.

Key takeaway I hope to share here is that you should always check your data quality / international addressing tools underlying dataset and make sure that the coverage provided is the most complete coverage for the countries in which you are doing business.

Have a great start to the New Year!