Government announces plans for a single National Address Gazetteer

Ministers this morning have announced plans to create a National Address Gazetteer through a joint venture between Ordnance Survey (OS) and Intelligent Addressing (the custodians of the National Land & Property Gazetteer (NLPG)). A new joint venture company called ‘GeoPlace’ has been set up that will acquire IA and manage a single address and street gazetteer on behalf of the public sector as well as private industry. This follows overwhelming support for a single address gazetteer from DCLG’s OS Consultation exercise, which also led to many OS datasets becoming ‘Open’ (freely available on their website).

Further information can be found on the links below:

Currently the county council are entitled to use either OS’s Address-Point product, or the National Land & Property Gazetteer maintained by district/ borough councils and managed by Intelligent Addressing in behalf of the IDeA. Royal Mail also has a finger in this already full pie, by claiming royalties over the inclusion of the postcode in both datasets. In practice this means we pay all three companies to varying degrees for using it, both through the Mapping Service Agreement (shortly to become Public Sector Mapping Agreement), and a series of additional royalty payments for out of area postcodes and “pay-per-click” charges on our public facing web-applications that allow an address search. All this somewhat laughs in the face of the fact, that it is the local authority that does most of the leg work in actually creating and maintaining address in the first place!

This decade-old mess has cost local authorities millions in inefficiency and duplication of effort, and we are pleased to see this new initiative. Whether it is a success remains to be seen, previous attempts to address the problem (did you see what I did there), have ended in further muddying of the waters. The ‘super gazetteer’ is due to be developed by April 2011, with the product coming onto the market between July and September 2011.

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