Restricted Addresses

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06-27-2017 01:19 PM
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MVP Esteemed Contributor

I'm faced with an interesting problem.  Under state law, there are a number of addresses state-wide that are restricted from public access; law enforcement officer's residences, judges residences, etc.  With address point data and parcel polygon data it's pretty easy to simply <null> out the address field, and if those data are used for geocoding purposes, they won't validate addresses that don't 'exist'.

The problem comes in with a publicly accessible composite geocoding service that utilizes address points, parcels and street centerline data with address ranges.  Let's say Judge Smith lives at 150 Penny Ln.  No problem with the parcels and address points but when the composite hits the center lines, there he is. 

I suppose we could split the segment of Penny Ln that has the range of 100-200, and range the two new segments to exclude 150.  (100-148, 101-149 and 151-199, 152-200).  I don't like that idea too much.

If you are still with me, here's the question;  Is there a way to block an address or a set of addresses from resolving without altering the data being used to match against?  So, if on that same publicly accessible composite someone enters 150 S Penny Ln, some sort of message pops up to the effect of 'Sorry, that address does not exist'

timw1984

cdspatial

sbritt-esristaff

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MVP Frequent Contributor

I don't have a technical solution to this, but did want to share that we had a somewhat similar issue in California a few years ago that caused many headaches.  State law at that time was changed mandating that addresses of government officials and public safety could not be handed out to the public.  But this resulted in a different outcome than what was intended.

The Counties Assessors offices (who do most of the addressing) all realized it would be almost impossible to maintain an accurate list of all the government officials so they could suppress them, since the law was written so broadly that anyone who was appointed as even a low-level Committee member on a town or county board would have to have their information suppressed everywhere they owned property in California.  With 39 million people and continuous change in committee/board memberships that happen at all times of the year, it would be impossible to maintain an up-to-date list. I believe it was also an unfunded mandate.  So lots of good intentions with the law, but a lack of understanding of the reality of making it work.

So the result was that most Counties would no longer provide public address information at all, since they realized they would be immediately out of compliance.  You would go to their web site and they would have a big disclaimer stating why address information was no longer available.  Several months later the Legislature modified the law, so now Counties are giving out address information again.

Chris Donohue, GISP

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MVP Frequent Contributor

I ran across one of the county disclaimers today.

     

Source:

Online Map, Sacramento County, California, USA

California Government Code Section 6254.21 states that “No state or local agency shall post the home address or telephone number of any elected or appointed official on the internet without first obtaining the written permission of that individual.” As the cost to collect and continuously update that information is prohibitive, this website does not display the Assessee name. It may be obtained by calling (916) 875-0700, or by visiting the Assessor's Office at 3701 Power Inn Road, Suite 3000, in Sacramento.

Chris Donohue, GISP

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MVP Frequent Contributor

Just thinking about this brings up a question - does the Utah law expect even geocoding to be suppressed for use in locating addresses?  If someone already knows that your example judge lives at 150 Penny Ln, couldn't they find it anyways with other search mechanisms? 

Splitting the street segments and re-ranging could be quite a tedious task if one had to account for many restricted addresses.

You may want to contact ESRI Support with this one to see if any technical work-arounds are available.  Alternately, if you are going to the ESRI Conference, bring along some sample data and pepper the ESRI staff with this challenge in the Exhibit Hall

Some other general thoughts - I'm not a lawyer and you probably already thought of this, but on the legal side, you may want to confer with your clients legal counsel if they are willing to discuss this issue.  One question I would have is what level of care is needed with this sort of thing for you and your clients (which if I remember correctly are municipal).  Is there additional potential liability that comes with the restricted address process?

Likewise, if there is a high level of care required, a consideration for you as a private entity would be if additional compensation that might be needed to cover the required work and also for any additional liability that you may now be incurring.

Chris Donohue, GISP

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MVP Esteemed Contributor

Thanks Chris-  I've actually posted this on behalf of a few county colleauges who are directly faced with the situation.  At this time, I'm more or less on the periphery for this.  Sounds very similar to the CA situation; some laws have the best intentions.

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MVP Esteemed Contributor

Somehow a walk in the park with 40lbs of Border Terriers gave me some inspiration.

Here in Utah we are blessed with extreme variances of physical geography; high mountain peaks, desert valleys and even a spectacular  inland salt water sea.  What if we create a point feature class of all the restricted addresses, assigning them the XY of a mountian peak or a mile off shore in the Great Salt Lake?  That data would be referenced by the first locator in a published compsosite.  If someone enters 150 Penny Ln or any other member of the restricted address point feature class, it 'validates'.

There is a fine line between a hack and a simple, effective solution.....