Rue sans nom – address certification in France

Despite the increasing use of email in the last decade in contacts between organizations and their relations; organizations still need to manage a huge amount of postal en geographical addresses.

In an era where costs reducing and compliance policies are daily issues it becomes essential for bulk mailers to have their relationship data as clean and accurate as possible.  The use of duplication detection tools in order to avoid pollution is definitely more effective if mailing addresses are correct.

In France, postal addresses must comply with the norm AFNOR XP Z 10-011 which is issued by the Association française de normalisation (AFNOR). This norm describes the rules for writing addresses. In order to get correct addresses the “Service national de l’adresse  (SNA) “  publishes postal reference data. With this data it is possible to validate your own data or to develop address correction and validation tools.

But La Poste/SNA takes this a step further and offers services and advantages to organizations with address data complying with the AFNOR norm. Therefore they have established a certification committee for address software. The realization of the certification is the responsibility of the SNA. Continue reading ‘Rue sans nom – address certification in France’

How being focused can blur your vision

sintmaarten 2

In our company we are all very dedicated to serving our customers with their business problems with bad quality customer master data. Aren’t we all?

A few days ago, one of our customer support desk engineers sought an answer to what happens with the addresses on the islands of the former Netherlands Antilles. See also my previous post The dissolution of a nation. Kids of my generation had to memorize the names of these islands at primary school: the ABC islands – Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao – and the three islands with an “S”: Saba, Sint Eustatius and Sint Maarten. My colleague, now fully internet savvy, wanted to look up an address on Sint Maarten. Why not use an internet map and type “sint maarten”?

Yes, here it is! They even have a Spar supermarket there (just like home), and the address of this supermarket shows a postal code! A postal code with the same structure as in the Netherlands (NNNN AA). Pleased with this catch, he started to compose an answer to the customer.

Just before sending it, I passed his desk and we started talking about this (the topic has my attention, you know). And he showed me the map proving his arguments: the coastline was near. But when we zoomed out, the picture became clearer: tunnel vision obscured that he had been focused on Sint Maarten near the Dutch coast!

The value of Christmas cards

christmas tree

Every year when autumn comes the assistants of the sales department get a little nervous. They know what will happen in short term. It’s almost Christmas and the selections of contacts to receive a Christmas card have to be made.

Every year it’s the same. First the selections for every account manager are made and they will have to check manually if these are correct. This year will be the same as ever, which means that:

  • relevant companies and contacts are missing
  • new companies and contact persons will be added
  • contact persons will be deleted
  • contact persons will be transferred to their new company
  • addresses appear to be not up-to-date Continue reading ‘The value of Christmas cards’

Confusing streetnames ending in an unfortunate fatality

Just a few days ago I wrote about the many standards we have for streetnames in the Netherlands. But on top of that new streetnames are added constantly for newly build neighboorhoods. Sometimes this also results into changing of existing streetnames. This was also the case last week, when rescue people were not able to find the exact location in Putten. An emergency call was made for a 60 year old man, who suffered from heart failure. People who tried to re-animate the man heard the ambulance passing by, but they didn’t see the ambulance. The end result was that they arrived after 19 minutes and they were too late to save the man’s life. This is a very unfortunate accident and an investigation has been started to find out what exactly went wrong. Preliminary results shows that the navigition systems of both the police and the ambulance were not up-to-date.

I have looked at the location using Google Maps. Normally you expect that a street consists of one thoroughfare. But in this case the street, named “Kraakweg”, consists of three different parts, which are clearly not in one direct line. I have indicated it with 1, 2 and 3. Number 4 indicates another street, but with almost the same name “De Kraak”.


Continue reading ‘Confusing streetnames ending in an unfortunate fatality’

Bi-lingual streetnames in Amsterdam, do we really need it?

StraatnaambordSo once in a while I visit Amsterdam and have a drink or two in the centre. Afterwards I use the tram to get back to the hotel. This weekend I was quite surprised to find out that all the streetnames are announced in English, at each stop. The easy and obvious one is of course Centraal Station, which was translated to Central Station. I also can see how they came up with Rembrandt Square instead of Rembrandtsplein. But translating “Spui” to “Courtyard with a chapel” doesn’t help any tourists to find their destination. Continue reading ‘Bi-lingual streetnames in Amsterdam, do we really need it?’

Toponymic confusion revisited


The local authorities in the town of Webster, Massachusetts are planning to change the road signs that lead to the local lake. The sign leads to lake “Chargoggagoggmanchaoggagoggchaubunaguhgamaugg”, but it should actually lead to “Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg”.

According to the Guiness Book of Records, the name of the lake is the fifth longest word in the world and the longest lake name anywhere. The name originates from the local language of the Nipmuc indians. Freely translated, the name means “You fish on your side, I fish on my side and nobody fishes in the middle of the lake”. A nice example of native Amercican divide and conquer

The interesting bit, however, is that there are 26 spelling variations of the name in the US Geographic Names System and that none of these variations match the actual road signs.

Naturally, the authorities could spend time and money to find out how these mistakes have been brought about. I think, however, that an investment in standardisation would be a much wiser choice.

This example is of course rather extraordinary and the discriminating value of “Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg” is quite high. But different spelling of geographical items will eventually lead to toponymic confusion (see my blogpost earlier this year). Apparently, the inhabitants of Webster call the lake “Lake Webster”. I wonder whether that has got something to do with the pronunciation of Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg…?