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MassGIS address standard

This standard provides guidance for Massachusetts communities on address assignment and data management. It describes best practices for address assignment workflows and how to create address listings that are comprehensive, accurate, and useful.

Created with input from a variety of public and private stakeholders, the intended audience is all municipalities, large and small, and the vendors that provide them with services and software, as well as the larger community of address users.

Version 1.0, Issued December 2016


Addressing is a local responsibility and every city and town must deal with how and when streets must be named and address numbers assigned. Every municipality has the challenge of managing permit records, responding to public safety emergencies, and delivering a variety of services to residents, all of which depend on the use of addresses.  All communities need to assign addresses and all communities need to manage their address records; this standard covers both of these topics. Also, not all municipalities are alike – each has different capabilities and ambitions. This standard was developed to accommodate the addressing needs of different types of communities. Whether rural, suburban, or urban. So, for example, unlike more urban communities, rural towns may not be too concerned with how to manage detailed “secondary” location information, such as building names or unit numbers.This standard accounts for these differences by recommending relevant sections for review by several community types.

This standard is issued by MassIT's MassGIS program under the authority of M.G.L Ch. 7D Sect. 5. It is an informational document and conformance with this standard is voluntary. It is based on national models and on the extensive experience acquired by the MassGIS program while developing a statewide address list and mapping the addresses' locations for use in emergency response.

The MassGIS program has built, and is continuing to maintain, improve, and distribute a statewide address listing and a GIS map of address locations from various local and statewide sources. The overall goal of this effort is to provide a unique, standardized format and a corresponding point location for every valid address in the Commonwealth. 

Staff at MassGIS is happy to engage with any municipality that seeks to improve its addressing practices and/or can contribute to building and maintaining the statewide master address list. Email Massgismail@mass.gov, including “address issue” in the subject line, about any question related to this standard or any other address-related issue.

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