The overall concept of this data specification is that an address has a “locator”, e.g. an address number that enables a user to distinguish it from the neighbour addresses; and a geographic position, which enables an application to locate the address spatially.

To identify the address unambiguously in a wider context an address must be associated with a number of “address components” that define its location within a certain geographic area. Each of the address components represents a spatial identifier as for example the name of a road, district, postcode, municipality, region or country.

Four subclasses of address components are defined: administrative unit name, address area name, thoroughfare name and postal descriptor.

This generic approach of addresses and address components supports the variety of the existing
addresses systems (simple or complex) in the Member States.

In an address, the “locator” could be a systematic designator (like a number), it could be a name (like a building name) or it could be both. It is possible also for an address to have several locators, for instance as a hierarchy of building name, entrance number and flat number.

The geographic position of an address is represented by a spatial point including information on its origins. The point-based spatial representation was adopted for the simplicity of the implementation of the data specification and to reflect the situation in the Member States.

In addition to this, an address has a number of other attributes including a unique identifier (to easily distinguish between instances), possibly an alternative identifier, a status attribute and a number of life cycle attributes.

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