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Location Data Knowledge Base

Data methodologies, and Release schedules.

Post Office Changes Allow Street Addressed Mail To Be Delivered To P.O. Boxes

Alteryx Alumni (Retired)

In June of 2012, the USPS made a change to how a P.O. Box operates.  That change now allows for a street address to be used in lieu of a P.O. Box.  This format, known as a P.O. Box Street Address (PBSA), is actually the address of the post office of where the P.O. Box is located.

How does this affect Alteryx?  One client brought to our attention that this could potentially affect address and demographic analysis.  Let's say a user has a small list of competitors and they want to run a competitive analysis.  The only issue is that several of these records are using a PBSA.  The demographics for these records will revolve around the post office, not the actual business.  

How do we combat this?  The first thing to keep in mind is that Alteryx is perfect for this sort of scenario.  The USPS has posted a list of their post office locations as a .txt file.  Attached to this post you will find an Alteryx Zip Package that informs you of where you can find the file (hint: here) and parses it.  Once it is parsed, one option would be to merge that with the D&B Business Matching Macro to validate or invalidate your list of businesses.  Another option would be to take your business list and compare it to this file to find out if any businesses are using a PBSA.  Either way, we have options!

One final note is that it is important to remember that these are valid street addresses.  While the Alteryx Street Geocoder will mark a P.O. Box as invalid, it will see these and most likely geocode them all the way to the street level.  

If you would like to read more about this USPS feature, click here.  Until next time!

Follow me on Twitter! @AlteryxChad

Also, HUGE THANKS to John H. for his help with this post!