ODUG progress on a National Address Dataset
ODUG is continuing to work with stakeholders across the Open Data community to strengthen, with improved evidence and examples, the business case for an Open National Address Dataset. Two strong themes are emerging from our ongoing work:
- The complex Postcode Address File (PAF) licensing regime is a higher barrier to the wider use of the PAF than the actual licensing costs.
- There is a general lack of understanding about the importance of this data as core-reference data.
For this reason, whilst we are working to improve the detailed benefits case for the release of a National Address Dataset as Open Data under an Open Government License (which means that anyone can use and re-use this data) ODUG is asking for comment on the second recommendation made in the paper we published in November 2012 - on the future of the Postcode Address File – namely that in the event of the Royal Mail being privatised the Postcode Address File should not be placed into private ownership.
The short paper we are publishing today captures international examples which illustrate some very good reasons why national addressing data – a natural monopoly – should be owned and maintained as a public asset – so we can ensure its reliability and availability for all to use. It is simply wrong to put a single organisation, particularly one owned by private shareholders, in a position where they can command monopoly rents from an essential national asset. A natural monopoly should not be privatised!
There is very little in our society which is not underpinned by location information. Our lives are governed by time and place – address and location data is the DNA of our society. So you do not need to be an open data user or an expert in addressing data to support the proposition that our national postcode address file should not pass into private ownership. Before you make your comments please consider the following:
- Addressing is fundamental core reference data – which underpins our society
- This data is, by implication, a natural monopoly – the public needs to own this data
- The data underpins property ownership, national security and the emergency services.
- The data is essential to (amongst other things) public service delivery, many products, all physical travel infrastructure, the utilities we all depend on, all deliveries and many leisure activities.
- It has been a widely contested dataset over many years, and is the most requested dataset here on data.gov.uk – because of its importance and wide reach.
Please let us know …. what do YOU think? …. as an individual? …. as a business? …. as an organisation? We will welcome your comments below: