Free and open address list launches today and calls for individuals and organisations to get involved

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Open Addresses UK launches today [Wednesday 14 January 2015] to deliver the United Kingdom’s first open address list, that will be available for everyone to use without restriction. The project is supported and funded by the Cabinet’s Office Release of Data Fund and strengthens the UK’s position as a world leader in open data.

Between June and August 2014, the ODI conducted an initial scoping phase for the Open Addresses UK project to assess its longer-term feasibility. This work included technical scoping, an assessment of data available for free in the public domain, and an Open Addresses Symposium held by the ODI in August 2014.

From today, individuals and organisations are being invited to collaborate in developing and maintaining the sustainable address list by submitting data. Details of how to do this are on the Open Addresses UK website.

Users are able to upload single or multiple datasets as well as download address data. Benefits of the Open Addresses UK list include:

  • Uploaded data will be free from third-party intellectual property (IP) and will always be available to download in bulk for free.

  • A set of data sourcing guidelines for users will maintain and protect personal information.

  • When combined with other open datasets, opportunities for the development of new goods and services will be created.

  • New addresses can become immediately identifiable to essential (utilities, emergency services) and non-essential (retailers, fast-food) suppliers.

Gianfranco Cecconi, Open Addresses UK Technical Lead said: "Open Addresses UK is committed to providing a free, robust dataset containing quality address data that rightly deserves to be open and accessible to everyone. Our aim is, and will always be, to develop a conceptually and structurally innovative platform for people to contribute to, by uploading and sharing open address data or developing their own applications using it."

Why the UK needs open addresses

The need for a free, open address database has been well documented within Open Data User Group (ODUG) business cases and in the recent report on an Open Address Gazetteer, written for the UK Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).

Heather Savory, Chair of ODUG said: "One of the first benefits cases ODUG developed in 2012 was a call on the government to deliver an open national address dataset. Address data is a key underpinning component of our National Information Infrastructure, essential to connecting other datasets together for analysis, without the need for personal identifiers, to underpin the evidence-based design of innovative, cost-effective public services; also to allow business innovation with other open public datasets to assist economic growth.

The aim of the Open Addresses UK venture being launched today it to build a national address register which is free of monopoly intellectual property restrictions so this address data will be genuinely open. This project is a challenge but not one which is insurmountable and I hope it will receive the full support required to achieve the aim of delivering a truly open national address register, free at the point of use and for re-use by anyone. That would be a fabulous result for us all."

Photo competition

To promote the new address list and encourage people to donate addresses for inclusion, Open Addresses UK is launching a photography competition, highlighting the rich diversity of locations across the UK. People are being asked to submit original photographs of addresses that will then be used to illustrate the work of Open Addresses UK and will be promoted across digital and social media channels. The competition will be judged by a panel including renowned photographer, Paul Clarke. it is open to anyone and more information is available on the Open Addresses UK website.