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GeoPlace Q&As

Posted: 03 December 2010

Government initiative for national addressing The Local Government Group and Ordnance Survey are working together in partnership to create and maintain the national address gazetteer, through the creation of GeoPlace, a joint venture. This will remove
Government initiative for national addressing
The Local Government Group and Ordnance Survey are working together in partnership to create and maintain the national address gazetteer, through the creation of GeoPlace, a joint venture. This will remove the historical anomaly under which two separate public sector organisations create, maintain and provide addressing gazetteers to the market.
The initiative supports the Location Strategy's concept of a 'Core Reference Geography' and the key principles of the INSPIRE directive, including that data should only be collected once and kept where it can be maintained most effectively. It follows significant feedback from the market, including strong support for a single definitive national address gazetteer at customer level.
The Ordnance Survey consultation run by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) in December 2009 highlighted the recommendations of the Power of Information Taskforce and the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee to create a freely-available single definitive address and postcode database for the UK. It sought views on the proposal for a single national address register and 43% of respondents provided comments, the large majority supporting the proposal.
The creation of GeoPlace, in response to this strong market demand, will:
  • replace the need for two public bodies to produce two similar products, leading to direct public cost savings arising from the de-duplication of work;
  • create a product that meets the needs of Government - central and local;
  • lead to the more efficient transfer of address data within Government. This will, in turn, lead to improved decision-making and delivery of public services; and
  • provide the private sector with a single source of national spatial address information.

More detailed information is provided below.

GeoPlace - joint venture
Who is GeoPlace?
The Local Government Group and Ordnance Survey have formed a joint venture for the ongoing maintenance of a single definitive national address and street database. As part of the arrangements, the joint venture, which will be known as GeoPlace, has agreed terms to acquire Intelligent Addressing (Holdings) Ltd (IA) - local government's existing contractor and partner for gazetteer services. The acquisition, which is dependent on approval from the Office of Fair Trading, includes existing IA infrastructure and its intellectual property rights together with the benefit of the experience and knowledge of IA staff.
By combining processes, GeoPlace will manage a single address and street database, and will provide an address and street solution for users to a new specification.
All local land and property gazetteers (LLPGs) and local street gazetteers (LSGs) will continue to be supplied to the central hubs, where they will form the foundations for the national address gazetteer database.
Why produce a national address gazetteer database?
There has been a strong customer demand for a single definitive addressing solution supported by a wide range of authoritative bodies - including the Treasury Select Committee, the Power of Information Task Force, the Advisory Panel for Public Sector Information, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), the UK Statistics Authority and others.
The joint venture proposition follows significant support for a single national gazetteer as evidenced through DCLG's Ordnance Survey consultation. 43% of respondents to the consultation provided comments on the questions relating to a definitive national register (189 responses). A large proportion of these were supportive of the proposal to create a definitive national address register and stated that a single address register was vital.
Who will be running/responsible for the new joint venture?
Ordnance Survey and the Local Government Group, through a 50:50 partnership, own GeoPlace as a joint venture limited liability partnership (LLP).
When will a national address gazetteer database be available?
It is anticipated that the national address gazetteer database will be developed by April 2011, allowing data to be available that, with a product roadmap, will allow market review before product release. Based on market feedback and analysis of data from matching work conducted to create the Census address list, it is anticipated that the final products will be launched in the period July to September 2011.
How much is it going to cost to merge the two lists?
There will be a one-off investment required to merge the two systems. GeoPlace will fund the investment required to merge these two systems but this will be offset almost immediately by operational efficiency savings.

Addressing products

What is the benefit of products created from a national address gazetteer database?
All customers will benefit from a single, definitive source database, from which products can be created that have the potential to deliver significant cost savings and operational benefits for users.
The products will combine the best features of the National Land and Property Gazetteer (NLPG) together with those of OS MasterMap® Address Layer 2. They will include the Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN) from local government, TOID® (unique identifier) references from Ordnance Survey and Postcode Address File (PAF®) from Royal Mail®, which will facilitate data sharing between all address customers.
Will the national address gazetteer database cover the whole of Great Britain?
Yes. The hub will be capable of holding Scottish data. Local government in Scotland and Scottish Government are supportive of the goal to create a National Address Gazetteer and are working with local government and Ordnance Survey to explore options for achieving this goal.
Will the national address gazetteer database cover Northern Ireland?
Currently there are no plans to include Northern Ireland's Pointer data.
Will it include Royal Mail's PAF database?
Data from Royal Mail's PAF database is a vital component of the national address gazetteer database.
Will customers have to pay Royal Mail royalties separately (for example, as currently for the Pan Government Agreement (PGA) or Mapping Services Agreement (MSA)?
Options are being explored for the payment of Royal Mail royalties by the public sector. For commercial customers, Royal Mail royalties will continue to apply as they do today.
Will products from the national address gazetteer database be available under the new distribution licence from Ordnance Survey?
Yes. Ordnance Survey Licensed Partners (including those who are currently NLPG resellers) will be able to distribute these products.
Following the release of OS OpenData, will products from the national address gazetteer database become OS OpenData products?
There are currently no plans to make the products created from the national address gazetteer database available for free.
What about the existing products?
Existing address products provided by Ordnance Survey and local government will continue to be available for some time after 1 April 2011, although it is expected that existing customers will transfer to the new national address gazetteer database over a period of time.
Will the products created from the national address gazetteer database replace ADDRESS POINT®, OS MasterMap Address Layer, Address Layer 2 and NLPG?
In time, yes. The supply to existing users of ADDRESS POINT, OS MasterMap Address Layer, Address Layer 2 and NLPG address-based products will continue for a period and current users will continue to get the data they require.
The additional benefits and data content that the products created from the national address gazetteer database will, in time, steer the market towards an improved product range. We will be working closely with customers to discuss migration options and arrangements and there will be a migration plan that will enable existing addressing customers to transfer to the new national address gazetteer product.
How much will products created from the national address gazetteer database cost?
It is anticipated that pricing will be comparable to existing address products, however, the products derived from the national address gazetteer database and existing address products will be free at the point of use for Public Sector Mapping Agreement members, as it will be centrally funded under the PSMA.

Public sector users

Will the products created from the national address gazetteer database be available through the new Public Sector Mapping Agreement?
All addressing products, inclusive of both existing Ordnance Survey and local government products and the new addressing products will be licensed and available to the public sector through the PSMA.
Will the products created from the national address gazetteer database replace the LLPGs and LSGs?
No, these remain with the creating authority, who then provide updates to the national address gazetteer database, as they do now for the NLPG and National Street Gazetteer (NSG).
Will the products created from the national address gazetteer database replace the NLPG and the NSG?
In time the dataset names will disappear, but the NLPG and the NSG data forms a core component of the national address gazetteer database and therefore, current users will be able to continue to access data compatible with that of today.
Any new product will be compatible with the current gazetteers and BS 7666.
The joint venture will continue to interact and provide the same service to all MSA authorities and NSG statutory users in the same way as the NLPG and NSG hubs currently work today.
Will individual local authorities have to pay directly for addressing?
No - funding has been centralised through the PSMA for all core data requirements including addressing (subject to Royal Mail royalty terms).
I work for a local authority that produces a LLPG for our area. Will I need to start again and produce a new gazetteer?
No. Current processes and working practices for exchange of data between local authorities and the addressing hub will continue. All local authority custodians have been sent a briefing paper outlining the details.
Will a national address gazetteer database include the NSG?
The hub managed by the joint venture will continue to manage the NSG in exactly the same way as it is operated now. Any future arrangements would ensure that local government's statutory obligations continue to be met.

Private/commercial users
What about addressing customers outside the PSMA?
When launched, commercial customers will be able to license the new product through Ordnance Survey. There will be a migration plan that will enable existing Ordnance Survey (addressing) and NLPG customers to transfer to the new national address gazetteer product over time. The national address gazetteer product will also be available through Ordnance Survey licensed partners.

Intelligent Addressing
Who is Intelligent Addressing?
In 1999, Intelligent Addressing Limited (IA), a private company now owned by Intelligent Addressing (Holdings) Limited, formed a public private partnership with local government to develop the NLPG in association with every local authority in England and Wales.
IA provided the original investment funding and the expertise necessary to develop the central NLPG data hub in exchange for a share of future royalties from the NLPG. Apart from ownership of the hub infrastructure and software, IA also retained joint ownership of the NLPG, until its original investment was repaid.
Local authorities have statutory responsibility for street naming and property numbering, and this change intelligence was captured in the NLPG, kept up to date, and constantly improved by every authority in England and Wales.
Why is GeoPlace LLP acquiring Intelligent Addressing and what is happening to it?
The acquisition of Intelligent Addressing (Holdings) Limited will ensure that the NLPG infrastructure, software, IPR and the valuable know-how built up by IA over the past 11 years, will be brought into public sector ownership.
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