Local authorities have a range of statutory responsibilities (which vary according to the type of authority) connected to the creation, maintenance and availability of address and street information.
Recognising local government as the primary source of new address and street information and Ordnance Survey's public task, the Local Government Association and Ordnance Survey established GeoPlace as a joint venture to create definitive national databases of addresses and streets. GeoPlace achieves this by collecting address and street information from local authorities and using this to create national databases.
GeoPlace provides technical guidance to local authorities on the collection of street and address information: 'GeoPlace Data Entry Conventions and Best Practice for Addresses (DEC-Addresses Version 3.4), September 2016.'
The basis for providing this guidance is to enable local authorities across England and Wales to use the same technical reference document to produce a consistent national dataset which is provided, through Ordnance Survey, across the public sector and into commercial markets.
Local authorities will have their own policy for the naming of streets and the numbering of properties.
GeoPlace does not advise that councils include or remove punctuation in official naming or on the street name plate. Street naming and numbering is a council policy decision.
However, the Data Entry Conventions documentation does state that GeoPlace would prefer not receive data (including street names) with punctuation.
This is for two main reasons:
- machine readability – punctuation can be misinterpreted by computers
- usability – for example, if loaded into say an emergency service command and control system and a caller provides a street name, the search will be faster if the search is entered and returned without punctuation.
Whilst GeoPlace advises that punctuation should not be included in the data provided by local authorities, GeoPlace will process data with punctuation where the council has officially named the street with punctuation.