About the New Addressing Project

About the New Addressing Project

What is an address system?

It is a way for every home and business to be referenced and located in a unified manner.

What is the change?

For the first time in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi every residence and office will have a unique address within a unified addressing system. This will include: building numbers, street names and district names. New consistent signage will be also be deployed.

Why is the change needed?

The old addressing system is difficult to navigate around, with duplicating street names and numbers, no sequential building numbering, and landmarks often having to be relied on for directions. The new change will bring the Emirate of Abu Dhabi in line with internationally recognised standards and, for the first time, provide a universal addressing system across the whole of the Emirate. A simpler, more practical addressing system will also be more effective and efficient, providing many additional benefits to living, working and visiting the Emirate.

Who is responsible for the new system?

The new addressing system has been devised and will be implemented by the Municipal System of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. The framework and standards have been established by the Department of Municipal Affairs, and they will oversee coordination of the universal database containing all addresses in the Emirate. The three municipalities (Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and the Western Region) will implement the physical signs of the new addressing system in their respective areas. The creation of a single brand – Onwani – will ensure consistency across the Emirate.

When will it start and how long will it take?

Implementation has already begun with new street signs visible in certain areas of Abu Dhabi City. Abu Dhabi Municipality will continue with the roll-out, while implementation for Al Ain and Western Region commence in 2015. The new system is due to be completed Emirate-wide by the end of 2016.

Will the old street names/numbers still be visible?

As the new signs are installed, the old signs will be removed. Within the new database system though, we will keep the old names for reference purposes - in case for example it is needed by the emergency response services.

What is the difference between the old system and the new adopted initiative?

The old addressing system was based on a number system so that an internal street was defined by nine digits that were difficult to remember. With one digit wrong you were lost. The new addressing system is based on a street name that is far easier to remember than nine digits. Even with one small spelling error you can most often resolve the error and find the right street.

We are aware that the old street numbers on the main streets on Abu Dhabi Island were useful for many purposes. After the new system has been installed, an accompanying similar street numbering will be applied.

What is the mechanism of the new addressing system? How are the streets numbered and named?

Each and every street is defined with a starting point and an end point. The starting point is usually the point where you enter the street coming from a main street or a collector street. In ascending order, you will always find the even address numbers on the right hand side of the street and the odd numbers on the left hand side. So, wherever you are in a street, looking at the address number you will know which direction the address number are increasing or decreasing. This makes it easy for you to find the address you search for.

All streets are given a unique name (unique per each Municipality) in Arabic, reflecting the cultural heritage of the Emirate and the country. The names are in addition transliterated to Latin / English letters; transliteration means translating the sounds but not the meaning – so that the name is pronounced the same way in all languages.

To find any address, you only need to know the building number and street name within the Municipality.

What is my complete address?

Address number, street name (and sub-number if applicable)
District name (optional)
City, Postcode (currently being developed)

An example:

Al Abu Hassan
3 Delma Street, apartment 11
Al Bateen
Abu Dhabi, AA7 3945
United Arab Emirate

There is an initiative to establish a post-code for the mail delivery services. This will later be integrated as part of the complete address.

The municipality has a database where all old and new addresses are compiled. If you know the old address, the new address can directly be found. If you find your place on e.g. Google map, your new address can be found. The easiest way to find your address however is to scan the QR code.

What does the postal code tell me? Can I still use my Post Office Box?

The postal code is primarily a code that the postal services use for distribution of mails all over the country. In principle the first digits signifies the highest order of area division, while the last digits signifies the lowest order of area division used for distribution of mail. Emirates Post will establish the UAE postal code based on the current administrative and new addressing district boundaries. Regardless of the new addressing system, as long as Emirates Post maintains the PO Box service, you must still use that for your mail.

Why is my new address number so high or low? Why is my new address so different than my plot number?

The number is dependent on the number of houses from the start of the street, so at the start the number is low and at the end the number is high. The plot number and address number for a building are given a number independently of each other. Some places with a large plot have more than one house, in which case each house will have a separate address number. Similarly, there may also be cases where one house is built on more than one plot. Therefore the plot numbering and the address numbering have to be two different numbering systems.

Is my plot number still the same?

Yes, your plot number will not change. In the database there will be a link between the plot and addressing numbering systems.

How do I use the new addressing system to reach an address?

You now only need two pieces of information to locate an address; the street name and the building number. You can enter the new address into your navigation system to map your journey, or use an updated street map. Alternatively, you can use the QR code to assist you plan your route.

If I give an address to a taxi driver or the emergency services, will they be able to locate the new address and reach in time?

The Department of Municipal Affairs is coordinating with a number of government entities, public institutions and businesses to ensure that the new address system is efficient and is adopted by residents and service providers, including taxi and emergency services. The smart addressing system will provide a ‘universal addressing platform’, where every entity will have access to a common location database – so that everyone can eventually use the same address.

However, since we are in transition, in case of an emergency, we suggest you provide a reference to your old address along with the new one, to avoid delays. Once the entire system is complete, the emergency services for a set period will operate via new and old address identification, before converting only to the new addresses.

In Abu Dhabi Municipality where new signs are being installed, data about new addresses are being published continuously, together with different programs for making the service organizations aware of the system.

Will my new address affect my utility services? Will my electricity and phone provider use my new address?

Utility companies currently have their own system for referencing location and will continue to use it in the short term. Soon, the smart addressing system will provide a ‘universal addressing platform’ where every entity – including the utility providers, will have access to a common location database. This will mean everyone - businesses and individuals alike - can use the same address as a reference point.

Can people still use their old addresses?

People should not use the old address because the old street name signs and address number signs are removed when the new signs are mounted. It should only be used in emergency if necessary.

Now that I have been assigned a new address, what are the next steps?

The first and only step is to inform your relatives, friends, business relations etc. about your new address. Eventually postal service, telecommunication services, gas companies etc. will start using the new address.

Who do I contact if I don’t understand the numbering/naming system or want more information?

Specific questions about addresses and signage should be directed to the Customer Service Centres in the appropriate municipality. A dedicated website will be available for more general information; please visit onwani.abudhabi.ae. In addition, a publicity campaign under the Onwani brand is being rolled out across the Emirate to inform the public of all the changes.