Street addresses need to be accurate and available for a city to work smartly for all. When street addresses are not accurate or not available serious challenges occur. Furthermore, each type of stand (e.g. building, home, gated community, informal settlement, etc.) introduces its own set of different challenges.



When the answer is NO to the following questions, the implications for residents and the city’s administration can be serious:

Is the address displayed?

Is a number displayed? Is only one number displayed?

Is the address displayed correctly?

If displayed, is it displayed according to legal requirements including a minimum height of 75mm and facing the street from where entrance is gained to the property?

Is the correct number displayed?

If displayed, is the number the same as the City’s street address number? Or is it a house number? Or is it a stand number? Or all or some of the three?

Is the street name displayed? What about street name signage at intersections?

Street names should be displayed at intersections. Is the street name(s) indicated/displayed? How is it indicated (street name pole, painted on curb, building, not at all, etc.)? Is the signage visible?


Is the street name spelt correctly? Is it aligned to Surveyor General (SG) plan?

Is the street name that you see on the SG plan? Is the spelling correct?



With complexes and gated communities, the issue of displaying addresses so they are clearly visible also occurs.


Complexes have one entrance and one (primary) address for the entrance.  However, there are internal streets and the individual houses/properties have their own numbers or “secondary addresses”.   Routing to and within complexes is affected due to one entrance to the complex. Questions such as is the complex name clearly indicated by signage must also be asked.

Gated communities

Data of gated communities is not readily available or accurately indicated on GPS/navigation devices. This information is dynamic and subject to change. Routing to and within gated communities is also affected due to one entrance. 

Building names

Another big issue faced by cities across the world is that the data associated with building names is not readily available or accurately maintained. This information is dynamic and subject to change. The building name must alos be clearly indicated by appropriate signage.


Establishing an accurate physical address for farms is also a huge challenge. The default physical address assigned is the farm name, number and portion. But street addresses are not allocated to farms. The numbers are thus not sequential like on a street which would have ordinary street addresses. How does this affect routing?

Informal settlements

Informal settlements are also dynamic. Typically, no street addresses are assigned to informal  areas. Plus, the stands are not formally surveyed properties. Challenges include no official streets, street names, backyard shacks, etc.

Innovative Possibilities

The issues associated with street addresses in cities throughout the world are complex, but also present exciting challenges. 

Be a catalyst in making the City of Johannesburg and residents smarter by rising to the 2016 GeoJozi Challenge

We’ve put down some basic ideas about dealing with these issues, but of course, contestants are likely to have their own innovative ideas and solutions as well.

  • Can our address capture and verification process be simplified and streamlined?
  • Can we use crowd sourcing or gamification for sourcing addresses?
  • Could we use augmented reality apps on a smart phone to do a “treasure hunt” for virtual treasures while gathering address and other data for verification?
  • What about creating a data marketplace where residents can use their smartphones to gather bits of data for a reward such as airtime, points or other items of value?
  • What about validating street address data using outside sources e.g. Google Street View, satellite imagery or equivalent sources?
  • Maybe the ways in which routing to addresses is done needs innovation? e.g. GPS navigation, signage, etc.