I'm defining "address" as "a physical location, usually visibly numbered". Numbered was used in the definition to exclude purely geographical features not usually considered to have or need an address. Visibly was used in the definition to exclude entities that might be numerically coded (like census features) but the number is not typically apparent nor used for directional or delivery purposes. Usually was used in the definition because exceptions abound (such residences in Carmel).

Enumerating the possible kinds of addresses resulted in:

  • buildings.
  • entire floors of buildings.
  • apartments/offices/rooms in buildings.
  • cubicles/mailstops in buildings.
  • loading docks.
  • slips on boat docks.
  • slots in trailer parks.
  • post office boxes and private mail drops.
  • military APO/FPO addresses.
  • jail/prison cells.
  • campground lots.
  • outbuildings (not usually visibly numbered, but often desireable in delivery databases).
  • undeveloped parcels (not usually visibly numbered, but often required in address databases).

What other kinds of "physical locations, usually visibly numbered" have I forgotten to include in the above list? Two questionables are:

  • hospital beds.
  • cemetary plots.

Update from comments:

The enumeration (ie, determining how many codes are necessary) is desired to allow coding address kinds to differentiate records in an address database.


"Usually visually numbered" (alphanumerics are OK) is preferred to just "coded" as described in the original question. If the location isn't visually numbered, it's unlikely to be the target of directions/deliveries, and would not be kept in the address database.

Just think of the question as "how many different kinds of places do we physically stick a number on to make directions/deliveries easier?"

  • 5
    bit of an open ended question - what would be a correct answer?
    – Mapperz
    Sep 19, 2011 at 21:21
  • 2
    what about houseboats?
    – Mapperz
    Sep 19, 2011 at 21:22
  • 1
    @BradNesom: Are cell towers usually located via an address? Especially those out in the hills? Perhaps "outbuilding" should be generalized to "miscellaneous structure" to include things like the Statue of Liberty or the Eiffel Tower (not occupied, but still the target of directions/deliveries). Sep 20, 2011 at 0:27
  • 1
    Thanks for the clarification. I still wonder about what problem you might be trying to solve. The potential applications of addressing are infinite, extending from designating RAM in a computer system to naming galaxies in catalogs. It's hard to see either a point in creating an exhaustive list or even to hope that such a list could ever be built.
    – whuber
    Sep 20, 2011 at 2:48
  • 2
    Street furniture has 'an address'. with the address being the physical location. Road works have an address, accidents have an address. It is actually very open ended as anything with a physical location can be deemed as havign an address, determined by what system you are using; if you are using asset management, accident stats, road network management, etc, etc.
    – Hairy
    Sep 20, 2011 at 6:48

1 Answer 1


QR Codes 'could' replace addresses (house numbers etc) http://delivr.com/qr-code-generator as they can can be applied to even down to equipment in a datacenter - all with location embedded. It is just how it is managed that is the barrier.

enter image description here

  • 1
    Isn't this just a means of encoding an address rather than a type of address or even a replacement thereof? Except if you're suggesting that URLs might replace addresses which is a bit far-fetched;
    – mkadunc
    Sep 20, 2011 at 14:10
  • encodes location - that is not an address. only when geocoding location to match an address - location can be more useful that address as it is universally - US addresses do not make sense in the UK - this idea bridges that.
    – Mapperz
    Sep 20, 2011 at 14:13
  • 1
    The information in the image you posted is 'some text' (without the quotes). My point is that the image itself is no different (for the purpose of this discussion) than the information it represents. If the QR codes were used to encode location, then they would probably contain a geo URI (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geo_URI), e.g. 'geo:48.1624233,17.1464180'. So you're basically saying that geoURIs 'could' replace addresses...
    – mkadunc
    Sep 20, 2011 at 14:27

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