As discussed in detail earlier, a location on the surface of the Earth may be referenced in a spherical coordinates system by a ray, emanating from the center of the Earth, defined by an angle of latitude measured from the equator and an angle of longitude, measured from the prime meridian. This method is “perfect” in that no error is introduced by the system itself; our accuracy is limited only by our ability to measure. Latitude and longitude descriptions may be applied anywhere on Earth. (I also discussed earlier how these two angles may be converted into myriad other pairs of coordinates through processes of projection.)
A large part of the Earth that is most interesting to us consists of human-made infrastructure. Almost always, such infrastructure includes streets and buildings. Further, the most usual way to describe a location in such areas is with a street address. Such an address is a text string: a sequence of letters, numbers, and other characters.
Outside of all addresses being text strings, addresses appear in a wide variety of formats. Some examples:15
Such addresses are usually quite precise—locating a structure to within several meters, ...