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Below is a range of general FAQs. If you have more technical questions and are from the DCA community, you can find more FAQs on the GeoPlace Khub group FAQ page.

  • Q1 What is a Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN)?

    A Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN) is a unique number or ‘code’.

    There is one UPRN for every addressable location in Great Britain. That includes structures like houses and tower blocks, school buildings, farms and barns. Additionally, there is also a UPRN for every physical object that needs to be identified accurately – such as lamp posts, electricity pylons, and railway or motorway bridges.

    From the planning stage, right through to demolition, the UPRN never changes.  This means it is possible for businesses and organisations to use that ‘code’ in matching otherwise disparate datasets. As long as there’s a location, data can be matched accurately and with confidence.

  • Q2 What is a Unique Street Reference Number (USRN)?

    The Unique Street Reference Number (USRN) is a unique number or ‘code’. There is one for every street across Great Britain and, once allocated, a USRN never changes.

    The USRNs for England and Wales exist within the National Street Gazetteer (NSG) and USRNs are also supplied to Ordnance Survey to help in the creation of the OS MasterMap® Highways Network.

    For highways authorities and statutory undertakers, the USRN is a way to ensure works on street can be planned more effectively. For the public, this means less traffic congestion, increased safety and lower levels of disruption to road users.

  • Q3 How do I get my address corrected in the National Address Gazetteer?

    GeoPlace are unable to make changes to any addresses held in the National Address Gazetteer. The Local Land and Property Gazetteer (LLPG) Custodian at your local authority is responsible for creating and maintaining streets and addresses, which are then passed on to GeoPlace in the form of change only updates.

    If you are having any problems concerning your address please contact your local authority who will be able to check that the data they hold is correct and reflected in the National Address Gazetteer.

    This will only impact any companies using AddressBase products, so if this does not resolve the issues it could be that the person/company/service concerned are not using this data and therefore need to be contacted direct.

  • Q4 How do I find out what the UPRN is for my property?

    This isn't something that can be provided by GeoPlace.  You will need to contact the Local Land and Property Gazetteer (LLPG) Custodian or Street Naming and Numbering Officer at the local authority that your address falls under.

    If you require multiple UPRN's please contact the OrdnanceSurvey to find out what licensing options are available for AddressBase products. You can find out more on the Ordnance Survey website - AddressBase products.

  • Q5 How do I gain access to the GeoPlace street services?

    Supported Browsers

    Please ensure you use Google Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge or Safari when using the GeoPlace services site. From 15th June 2022, the Internet Explorer web browser will no longer be supported - many features on the services site are already incompatible with IE11 and below.

    Access to the search facility

    The search facility is available to all participating DCA authorities. This service is not available to members of the public.

    All new requests for logins to the site must be made via the DCA Principal Contact or Authority Address or Street Custodian.

    An email needs to be sent with the following information to the helpdesk:

    • Full name

    • Email address

    • Telephone number.

    There is no charge for this service.

    Access to NSG Upload

    Only two login's per authority/organisation are permitted for uploading data to the NSG.  To find out who has this access in your authority contact the helpdesk.

    Access to NSG Download

    To request additional access to the NSG download facility an email will need to be sent by the Authority Street Custodian with details of the user requiring this access.

    If you are not a local highway authority please go to the Register for Street Services section.

    Access to My Annual Improvement Schedule

    Access to complete the annual improvement schedule is provided to the Authority Street Custodian only.  This is usually available for completion around the end of February each year.  Communications are sent out with more details when this is available.  You will be able to review what was submitted in the previous years questionnaire through this link.

  • Q6 How do I gain access to the GeoPlace address services?

    Supported Browsers

    Please ensure you use Google Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge or Safari when using the GeoPlace services site. From 15th June 2022, the Internet Explorer web browser will no longer be supported - many features on the services site are already incompatible with IE11 and below.

    Access to the search facility

    The search facility is available to all participating DCA authorities, and existing fire and police users. This service is not available to members of the public.

    All new requests for logins to the site must be made via the DCA Principal Contact or Authority Address or Street Custodian.

    An email needs to be sent with the following information to the helpdesk:

    • Full name
    • Email address
    • Telephone number.

    There is no charge for this service.

    Access to Where is my COU file?

    Access to this service is automatically granted to Authority Address Custodians and any Additional Authority Address Custodians.  If access is required by another member of staff at your local authority, the request will need to come from the Authority Address Custodian or DCA Principal Contact via email to the GeoPlace helpdesk.

    Access to My Annual Improvement Schedule

    Access to complete the annual improvement schedule is provided to the Authority Address Custodian only.  This is usually available for completion around the end of February each year.  Communications are sent out with more details when this is available.  You will be able to review what was submitted in the previous years questionnaire through this link.

  • Q7 What is the National Street Gazetteer (NSG)?

    The NSG is the definitive database of streets in England and Wales. It is principally used by Local Authorities streetworks departments to coordinate the work that is being performed on the highway within their administrative area. It aims to minimise disruption and ensure public safety and forms part of the statutory duty of the local authority as defined in the New Roads and Streetworks Act (1991).

    The Local Street Gazetteer (LSG) also acts as a Local Authority's definitive dataset of the streets in their administrative areas and contains details on the highway, street or footpath, who is responsible for maintain it, what is it made of and a variety of other information that the Local Authority holds as attribute date. E.g. designations and related legal orders.

  • Q8 What is the National Address Gazetteer infrastructure?

    The National Address Gazetteer infrastructure, managed by GeoPlace, is the data storage and set of processes bringing together the existing local authority sourced addressing datasets together with Ordnance Survey, Valuation Office Agency and Royal Mail data.

    Through agreement with Scotland's Improvement Service Company, working on behalf of Scottish Government, the National Address Gazetteer includes Scottish address data.

    The National Address Gazetteer is the single source from which the AddressBase® products are developed.

  • Q9 How do I download NSG data?

    Once you are logged in to the GeoPlace services page, if you have NSG downloader access you will be able to access Download Data from the Street menu.

    The download matrix is displayed for all local and regional (TfL, Highways England, Network Rail and Welsh Government) highway authorities with the options to download Level 3, ASD, OD Files and in some cases where appropriate Lane Rental information (Kent and TfL).

    To download you will need to select the relevant file from the authorities listed of which the currency of the data is shown. There are also national compilations available for organisations that require a full national dataset. Please note that for contractor access you will only be able to access data for organisations that you work on behalf of.

    If you wish to customise this view to display the organisations you download data for, then use the Manage Your Downloads button on the right hand side of the page and select the organisations you wish to download data for. These will then become the only organisations available on the download matrix.

    If at any time you need to reduce or expand the list this can also be done through the Manage Your Downloads button.

  • Q10 How do I order address data?

    The NLPG (National Land and Property Gazetteer) no longer exists as a product, so if you are a new user of Address Data please contact the Ordnance Survey to inquire about or order AddressBase data. You can find out more information about AddressBase products here.

    PSGA members who have been receiving address updates prior to 29th January 2014 now receive NLPG re branded (AddressBase Incremental Change Supply (ABICS)). This data will continue to be supplied in the same frequency and format as it is now, until an acceptable alternative is available.

    If you receive an ABICS and require a fresh cut of the same data click here to download the re supply order form.

    You can request one refresh of data per financial year at no cost. Otherwise it is £155.00 plus VAT for each subsequent Order made in the same financial year.

    It is no longer possible to expand your data coverage, change the frequency of supplies, or place a new order for data, you will need to contact the Ordnance Survey PSGA helpdesk to arrange taking AddressBase data instead.

  • Q11 Who is JAG(UK)?

    The Joint Authorities Group(UK) – (JAG(UK)) - represents the organisations responsible for the roads and streets of the United Kingdom. JAG(UK) focuses on the daily operation, the coordination of works for asset or utility network management and other events taking place on the highway. JAG(UK's) member organisations are primarily local authorities and similar bodies whose principal activities are governed by highways, street, road and traffic management legislation.

    Their responsibilities include regulation of streets and roads for any purpose, with a view to maintaining public safety, asset integrity and the movement of people and goods. JAG(UK) Support of the local authority streetworks community parallels the work the NSG does with the street data side. Both JAG (UK) and GeoPlace are keen to ensure LHAs work together in the most efficient way possible. 

  • Q12 What is HAUC(UK)?

    The Highway Authorities and Utilities Committee(UK) (HAUC)(UK)) was established in 1986 by the constituent bodies of the local highway authorities and the utilities to assist the Secretary of State in arriving at proposals for new street works legislation. HAUC(UK) played a significant role in the drawing up of the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991 (NRSWA), its subsidiary legislation and associated Codes of Practice.

    The main aims of HAUC(UK) are:

    • To advise the Secretary of State on issues relating to street works legislation
    • To provide guidance to practitioners
    • To provide a forum for matters of mutual interest in relation to street work
    • HAUC(UK) is principally made up of members from JAG(UK) (Joint Authorities Group) and Street Works UK
  • Q13 How are AddressBase® Products used by central government and the private sector?

    The AddressBase products are the most complete, accurate, current and content rich source of official geographic address data for Great Britain. The products enable organisations to maximise the value of their data assets through inclusion of precise geographic locations and a Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN) that resides perpetually for the lifecycle of every address.

    For Government organisations the UPRN is an underpinning linking mechanism that removes error in data exchange and communication, supports citizen service improvement and delivers efficiency gains in operational processes.

    For commercial organisations AddressBase provides the link between postal addresses and the UPRN as a means to locate and uniquely reference customers and assets to enable business growth, gain competitive advantage and reduce operational costs.

    Case studies can be found on the Ordnance Survey case study locator: www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/business-and-government/case-studies

  • Q14 What support is available to custodians in their role as part of Data Co-operation Agreement?

    GeoPlace offer a range of support for local authorities. This includes a dedicated Helpdesk team [email protected], technical support and online networking via our Knowledge Hub group khub.net/group/geoplace.

    You can find more information in the 'Support for Custodians' area.

  • Q15 What is the Public Sector Geospatial Agreement (PSGA)?

    The Public Sector Geospatial Agreement (PSGA) is a commercial arrangement that contractualises a new Public Task model between Ordnance Survey and Her Majesty's Government (HMG) - through the Geospatial Commission, which involves a new and enhanced service offering with additional data meeting identified future user needs.  The contract commenced on 1st April 2020 and concludes in March 2030.  It replaces the previous Public Sector Mapping Agreement (PSMA) which ran from April 2010 to March 2020.

  • Q16 What is the Data Co-operation Agreement (DCA)?

    The Data Co-operation Agreement issued by GeoPlace™ LLP to all District, County and Unitary councils in England and Wales, provides for a legally binding agreement between the parties to support the creation and maintenance of GeoPlace Databases (particularly related to address and street information for England and Wales and address information for Scotland through separate agreements).

    With an Effective Date of 1st April 2012, it replaces similar arrangements between all councils and the Local Government Information House (LGIH - a subsidiary of the LGA) which have been in place since 2005 (the Mapping Services Agreement (MSA)) expired on the 31st March 2012.

    More information on the DCA

  • Q17 What legislation is used for for Street Naming and Numbering?
  • Q18 What is the Local Land and Property Gazetteer (LLPG)?

    It is a BS7666 compliant address database maintained and used by a relevant local authority. As the database is maintained centrally and to a common standard it delivers real efficiencies and improvements in service delivery and interoperability when implemented throughout all parts of an organization. Subsets of the LLPG are supplied to GeoPlace in the form of authority address updates.  GeoPlace compiles these within GeoHub, together with a number of other input data sources, to form the basis of the National Address Gazetteer.

    There are a number of outputs from GeoHub including data which forms a core part of the AddressBase® range of products, available from Ordnance Survey.

  • Q19 As a software house developing & supporting applications used by Housing Associations can we access NSG downloads?

    Unfortunately access to the NSG download is limited to DfT recognised Statutory Undertakers and Highway Authorities only. On advice from the DfT we are unable to issue usernames and passwords to any other organisations. Our advice would be for you to contact the local authority using your software; they have been issued a username and password and can make the data available to you provided you have signed the appropriate contractors license as required under the Public Services Mapping Agreement.

  • Q20 I am a utility company having problems downloading NSG data - OD file not current

    During May 2013 OD File Exchange was introduced, this means to download NSG data a user must have a current OD file held on the NSG website. The OD file must have been made in the previous or current month of the requested download.

    This will apply to all Utilities and Local Authorities. This has been implemented following a request from the Highway Authority and Utility Committee (HAUC) to ensure that all OD files are kept up to date and stored centrally on the NSG website. For more information on how to upload a file please see the ‘How do I upload NSG/ASD data?'

  • Q21 Are there any data entry or best practice guidelines for the address gazetteer?

    Yes. All data entry conventions for the address gazetteer and best practice guidelines are contained in the Data Entry Conventions and Best Practice for the National Land and Property Gazetteer. Files submitted to the hub should be generated using the DTF 7.3 format  Data Transfer Format 7.3 v3.1.

  • Q22 How do I upload NSG/ASD data?

    Uploading is a simple process that requires nothing more than a standard browser. To start uploading go to the login located to the top right of the services homepage. Once logged in click on Upload your data (under the street menu). 

    Click Add Files and browse to the location of your files.

    The files required are:

    • XXXX_LG.csv (mandatory)
    • XXXX_AD.csv (mandatory)
    • XXXX_OD.xml (mandatory)

    You can slect and upload multiple files at once.


    • Zip archive (Optional: all the above files no file name structure needed)

    Please note XXXX is the authority code.

    Once the mandatory files have been uploaded choose whether to submit a live or test submission.

    After this, your submission is locked. You will be notified via email once the submission has finished. If unsuccessful, please download the error report, correct the errors and repeat the above process. For more information on the error codes please read the compliance check specifications: DTF 8.1

  • Q23 What is Primary Route Network (PRN) and Road Classification?

    The system of roads classification is intended to direct motorists towards the most suitable routes for reaching their destination. It does this by identifying roads that are best suited for traffic.

    All UK roads (excluding motorways) fall into the following four categories:

    • A roads – major roads intended to provide large-scale transport links within or between areas.
    • B roads – roads intended to connect different areas, and to feed traffic between A roads and smaller roads on the network.
    • Classified unnumbered - smaller roads intended to connect together unclassified roads with A and B roads, and often linking a housing estate or a village to the rest of the network. Similar to ‘minor roads' on an Ordnance Survey map and sometimes known unofficially as C roads.
    • Unclassified – local roads intended for local traffic. The vast majority (60%) of roads in the UK fall within this category.

    Road classification uses a common system of route numbering, which is centrally administered for England and Wales by the Department for Transport.

    The primary route network (PRN) designates roads between places of traffic importance across the UK, with the aim of providing easily identifiable routes to access the whole of the country. Primary routes are marked green on most road maps, as opposed to the more common red of an ordinary A road; and road signs are green with white and yellow text.

    From April 2012 Local Authorities are responsible for designating road classifications and the primary route network. GeoPlace are responsible for consolidation of data on behalf of DfT alongside ensuring their inclusion in the NSG 

  • Q24 What is TRSG?

    The Trunk Road Street Gazetteer (TRSG) is the gazetteer that is used by the Highways Agency on all major motorways and trunk roads in the UK. Although built to the same specification and DTF, it is distinctly separate from the NSG. And instead of USRNs is uses a different reference, the TRRN (Trunk Road Referencing Number).

    For completeness the NSG still contains the complete network of trunk roads and motorways in the LSG with USRNs, however for noticing purposes Statutory undertakers must use the TRSG where it is available. It is recommend that NSG and TRSG are used in partnership to ensure that all parties understand where their interests start and finish.

    Anyone who has interest in a motorway or trunk road and who would like to receive copy notices of any works via EToN, should contact the TRSG Custodian. Details can be obtained via the helpdesk 

  • Q25 What is a DfT or SWA code?

    The SWA Code or formally known as the Department for Transport (DfT) code, is a 4 digit code that has a 2 character prefix e.g. AB1234.

    GeoPlace alongside Highway Authorities and Utilities Committee (UK), (HAUC (UK)) manage the allocation of these codes on behalf of the DfT. The code uniquely identify Street Work Authorities and Statutory undertakers that have a legal right to carry out works in the highway. In order to download National Street Gazetteer (NSG) and/or Associated Street Data (ASD) data from our website, you need to have an SWA code assigned to your organisation. These codes are also a key requirement of the EToN noticing process.

    Apply for a SWA code Register for an NSG user account or request a SWA code on the NSG Registration

  • Q26 What is a Street?

    The main basis for the definition of a street is defined in BS 7666-1:2006 as the:

    "whole or part of a highway, road, lane, footpath, square, court, alley or passage"

    There are also a number of other statutory definitions of a street which should be referred to in the context of street works and Street Naming and Numbering legislation. The Utilities use the PUSWA Act 1950 definition:

    "A street includes any length of highway (other than a waterway) road, lane, footway, alley or passage, any square or court and any length of land laid out as a way whether it is for the time being formed as a way or not, irrespective of whether the highway, road or other thing is a thoroughfare or not."

    The New Roads and Street Works Act 1991 defines it as follows:

    For England and Wales:
    A "street" means the whole or any part of any of the following, irrespective of whether it is a thoroughfare-:
    (a) any highway, road, lane, footway, alley or passage.
    (b) any square or court and
    (c) any land laid out as a way whether it is for the time being formed as a way or not. Where a street passes over a bridge or through a tunnel, references to the street include the bridge or tunnel

    For Scotland:

    A "road" means any way (other than a substitute road made under section 74 (1) of the Roads (Scotland) Act 1984 or a waterway) whether or not there is over it a public right of passage and whether or not it is for the time being formed as a way and the expression includes a square or court and any part of a road.

  • Q27 What is contractor access to the NSG?

    The Direct Access service was set up as it is increasingly evident that much of the work that Local Authorities and Statutory Undertakers undertake was being carried out by other parties under contract. Although technically the NSG data should be obtained from each individual organisation, it was clear that when a company has multiple contracts and is working with multiple organisations, methods of obtaining data are inconsistent, infrequent and in some cases non-existent. The Utility and Contractor community and the HAUC group, therefore, requested that a process be developed to allow contractors Direct Access to NSG data.

    The key requirements of Direct Access are as follows:

    The Contractor:

    1) Must declare the organisation it is downloading data on behalf of.

    2) Must only download data where the appropriate Ordnance Survey licences are in place.  

    3) Will not be allocated a DfT code to issue street works notices or permit applications in their own right.

    When a Contractor downloads data, the transaction will be recorded and reported to the appropriate bodies. At this current time these are:

    • the Authority whose data was downloaded,
    • the Authority or Organisation that the contractor is working on behalf of GeoPlace LLP

    NB that the confirmation of licence agreement is subject to audit by Ordnance Survey.

    Once an agreement is in place the number of users within a single organisation is currently unlimited. Each person will be allocated their own account and is able to download different data as required.

    The current annual cost for this Direct Access service is £3200+VAT.

    This service is available to any organisation that is using data for street works, Highways maintenance, and traffic management on behalf of either Statutory Undertakers or Highways Authorities. Please note the service offered is for access to NSG data directly. Use of the data is still governed by individual contracts in place with Local Highways Authorities or Statutory Undertakers.

    To request this service please send a purchase order, along with details of the Primary Contact for the Contractor organisation. On receiving the purchase order we will set up access immediately. 

  • Q28 What does the NSG dataset look like?

    The NSG dataset comprises a set of local street gazetteers in compressed CSV (comma separated values) format - one file for each local Highway Authority area.

    In order to access the data you must first register as an authorised statutory undertaker or user of the data. This can be done online here: NSG Registration

    Alternatively data can be provided on DVD/CD which will incur an administrative charge

  • Q29 Who can use the NSG?

    The NSG can only be used by an organisation with a statutory duty to coordinate street works activities or dig in the road, or a legitimate government bodies that need to access the data connected to the core business function of an organisation contributing data to and from the NSG.

    Certain other organisation may use NSG data under agreement with a statutory body they are working on behalf of to help deliver their core services. For example contractors to a Highways authority may use NSG data, however the data should be supplied by the eligible organisation. Where these parties require access directly from the NSG certain qualifications must be met and a charge for access would be payable. 

  • Q30 Are there any data entry or best practice guidelines for the NSG?

    Yes. All data entry conventions for the LSG and best practice guidelines are contained in the NSG Data Entry Conventions and Best Practice document. Files submitted to the NSG hub should be generated using the Data Transfer Format 8.1.

  • Q31 Who should I contact if I have a query about AddressBase® range of products?

    Ordnance Survey (OS) have the sole responsibility for marketing and distribution of the range of the AddressBase® products.

    The PSGA Helpdesk can be contacted with any questions.

  • Q32 What is the role of custodians and SNN officers in the creation of the NAG infrastructure?

    District and Unitary Authorities have a statutory responsibility to name streets and number properties. This street naming and numbering (SNN) information is combined with other information to produce the Local Land and Property Gazetteer (LLPG). The LLPG is the mechanism to electronically capture property addresses and streets in accordance to the BS7666 format.

    Authority updates are supplied from the LLPG by address contributing authorities to GeoPlace on a regular basis. GeoPlace combined this local intelligence with other national data sources to produce the National Address Gazetteer infrastructure which in turn form the AddressBase range of products, made available through Ordnance Survey.

  • Q33 How do I access and use the address FTP site?

    Under the GeoPlace services pages the FTP link can be found under Address - Our Space.

    Please read GeoPlace's FTP Site User Guide which tells you how to access, upload and download files from the FTP server.

    There is a separate username and password for the Address FTP site and the Street FTP site.  The passwords stored by GeoPlace are encrypted, so if you do not have this information, and cannot find this internally then please contact the helpdesk who will be able to reset the password for you, the username will always remain the same.

    Please bear in mind resetting the password will affect anyone, or any systems using this login information.

    Please note: the FTP site is a data transfer facility therefore files are deleted after 3 months.

    There are 3 methods you can use to gain access to the FTP server:

    • Internet Browser (please note that not all browsers support the file transfer protocol)
    • Dedicated FTP client
    • DOS

    On the FTP site each authority has been assigned its own home area. Contained within this area are 2 directories; IN and OUT. In order to send (upload) files to the Address hub you should place them in the IN directory. Any files supplied to you will be placed in the OUT directory (in a sub-folder) for you to download. 

  • Q34 Who is GeoPlace?

    GeoPlace is the centre of excellence for spatial address and street information in Great Britain. GeoPlace is a Limited Liability Partnership jointly owned by the Local Government Association and Ordnance Survey. It brings together local government's address and streets gazetteers; the NLPG and the NSG, with all of Ordnance Survey's addressing products to create a 'national address gazetteer database' for England and Wales, providing one definitive source of accurate publicly-owned spatial address data. For more information please see About Us on the GeoPlace website.

  • Q35 What is a BLPU?

    A BLPU is a Basic Land and Property Unit. It is a real world object recorded within the NLPG (National Land and Property Gazetteer). See also BS 7666-2:2006, page 1, section 3.2 for definition.

  • Q36 What is the best browsers to use on the GeoPlace services site?

    Supported Browsers

    Please ensure you use Google Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge or Safari when using the GeoPlace services site. From 15th June 2022, the Internet Explorer web browser will no longer be supported - many features on the services site are already incompatible with IE11 and below.


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