GDS looks to develop potential of open address data

The Government Digital Service and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) have teamed up to help the development of open address datasets.

This follows on from a pledge in last week’s Budget where a £5m commitment was made to develop options for an authoritative address register that is open and freely available. The GDS said that work was already underway to improve how data is used.

The GDS Data Group and BIS said they were working in with other stakeholders to explore how to exploit the benefits of open and freely available address data.

“We know that we have a lot of work to do, and a lot of people to engage,” said the government’s director of data Paul Maltby.

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We are aware of the fundamental role played by local authorities in the creation and maintenance of addresses, and the important contributions of Geoplace, Ordnance Survey and Royal Mail. We look forward to continuing these conversations over the coming months.”

He added that address data serves a broader purpose than the delivery of post, parcels and services.

“It anchors everything to a specific place, and it’s often this anchor that’s used to connect other types of data together. So for a modern economy, high-quality geospatial data, linked to the addresses that people use on a day to day basis, is incredibly important,” he said.

Maltby added that the Budget announcement was an “exciting” government commitment to explore how an open address register can “enable innovation, meet user needs, and deliver substantial and tangible benefits to the public and the economy by enabling new products and services.”

Last week, Peter Wells, an associate at the Open Data Institute, praised the Budget commitment but warned that key datasets could be made inaccessible if the Land Registry was privatised.

Colin Marrs

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