Address Validation?


#1

(This might end up in Features request, depending on what I hear back).

Wondering if there is a way to do mailing address validation. I am looking for something like Smarty Streets or apparently there is an add-on to Excel (Windows only) from Pitney Bowes that will at least check to see if the address is possible (i.e., it will tell you that there is a 100 Block of Main Street, but not that 123 Main Street actually exists, as I understand it).

I am developing a Base with Form entry, where people can enter addresses. In the past (not on Airtable), I have had to export a special CSV file with addresses, submit it to Smarty Streets, reimport it into the sheet. I would love to have addresses validated as they come in.

Thanks!


#2

It appears one could build a Zapier-driven interface between Airtable and the USPS’s Address Standardization API. I haven’t compared prices — Zapier/USPS vs Smarty Sheets — while the post office’s service is free of charge, you’d need a paid Zapier plan to use the three-stage Zap required (trigger on new Airtable record; pass address to USPS and receive response; update Airtable record with standardized data). You’d truly have to run it in triggered mode, as access to the API is intended to be used on an as-needed basis for real-time cleaning of a user-submitted address (as opposed to batch processing or validation of a mailing database).

If you’re interested, but not that interested, ping me about this in, oh, 4 to 6 weeks, as I may try to assemble this myself.[1] If so, I report back on what I’ve found.
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  1. As it turns out, I have this weird fascination with address management systems, no doubt dating back to my days as a publisher. Seems that, back around the turn of the century, I bought a newspaper — which, while not quite the stupidest thing I’ve ever done, certainly ranks in the Top 5. When I learned the previous owners had farmed out management of our astoundingly small weekly mailings for only slightly less than it would have cost to send everything by courier, I brought it back in-house — and spent the next six months agonizing over CASS certification, where to buy card stock of the correct shade of pink, and why I never seemed to be able to remember how much credit was still in the account.

#3

That’s fascinating. Hmm, there would be my serious introduction to AirTable. The 5 address restriction on the USPS API isn’t a problem, but I will have to check more clearly what info they return. One nice thing about SmartyStreets is they return the Lat/Lon which I use. It seems at first glance that would be an extra step in the process.

Thanks, I may just ping you back in a month or so.