You must now use UPRNs and USRNs to identify property and street locations

Written by GeoPlace on 1 July 2020 in Sponsored Article
Sponsored Article

GeoPlace explains where to get these identifiers and how it's helping to support public sector organisations to better understand them

The Government has announced that the Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN) and Unique Street Reference Number (USRN) will be released under Open Government Licence. Additionally, the Open Standards Board, via Government Digital Service (GDS), has mandated that from 1st July, the UPRN and USRN are the public sector standard for referencing and sharing property and street information.

This means that all new public sector systems and projects that include address and/or street data should include the identifiers.

The mandate reflects the Government’s recognition that UPRNs and USRNs provide lynchpins for the public sector’s use of location data. When they are attached to data from different sources, they ensure that each organisation can provide the same identifier to any information on an addressable location or street, providing consistency and confidence in how they are labelled.

It removes any ambiguity in identifying a street or address, and the duplication of effort in attaching identifiers.

In turn, this makes it easier to match and analyse disparate datasets, helping organisations to unify data, spot relationships and patterns, and gain insights for planning their operations and making policy. This can help to create internal efficiencies, reduce costs and improve services for citizens.

Getting value from the identifiers

A cost benefit analysis for local authorities and street data for local authorities and emergency services in England and Wales commissioned by GeoPlace projected net benefits up to £200 million by 2020 from better use of the address and street data that councils create and maintain on a statutory basis. Based on the current rates of adoption, this represents a return on investment after discounting of 4:1. The research, demonstrated that the RoI could be significantly higher if barriers to adoption, particularly around access to funds, staff retention and improved national collaboration are addressed. The mandate goes a long way towards making this happen.

Find my identifiers

Working closely with local authorities, who have a statutory responsibility to create the address and street data, GeoPlace manages the large data infrastructure that supports address and street information users across the public and private sectors.

The GDS mandate states that applications that use datasets containing properties and streets must use the correct UPRN and USRN which must be verified via a trusted source.

The definitive set of IDs are obtained from the products created and maintained by GeoPlace from data collected by local authorities and licenced to the public sector by Ordnance Survey under the Public Sector Geospatial Agreement. 

On behalf of local authorities, GeoPlace has created and to provide a central point for queries on open UPRNs and USRN and enable people to find out what their UPRN or USRN is.

FindMyAddress makes it possible to find official addresses, UPRNs and locations for every property in England, Scotland and Wales.

FindMyStreet, which has been funded by the Local Government Association, enables users to search for USRNs, street names and locations in England and Wales and find out the maintenance responsibility of the street.

How do I get hold of UPRNs and USRNs

GeoPlace manages the National Address Gazetteer that OS uses to publish the AddressBase range of products and the new OS Open UPRNs. We also maintain the National Street Gazetteer, the primary source for USRNs. We supply USRNs to OS, so that they can create the OS MasterMap® Highways Network and include USRNs in the new OS Open USRN product. 

You can find out more about these at -

All of these datasets are available free of charge to the public sector under the Public Sector Geospatial Agreement.

Helping you utilise the identifiers

As the originators of these unique identifiers, GeoPlace advises organisations on how to maximise the opportunity that open access presents. 

For 20 years, our team of data experts has been handling UPRNs and USRNs on a daily basis. Matching, cleansing, analysing location data.  As a result, we’re probably the UK’s foremost location data advisors and we’re also one of the most accessible organisations you’ll ever work with.

We can provide support to public sector organisations that want to understand more about embedding the UPRN or USRN into their systems:

  • Data acquisition, assurance, and validation
  • Data linking and translation, sharing and publishing
  • Data and product pricing and licensing
  • Data quality improvement, analysis and analytics
  • Developing common data standards and conventions
  • Adopting AddressBase® products
  • Understanding legislation and policy as part of data strategy and process implementation
  • Promoting excellence in road network and traffic management

We can show you how to increase efficiency and reduce costs by collating, comparing, validating, and sharing data that’s been enriched with UPRNs or USRNs.

For more information about the Power of Place visit

Richard Duffield is Head of Customer Insights at GeoPlace

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