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Using local knowledge for national benefit

Posted: 26 November 2012

On 25th October, with an estimated 1500 years' worth of addressing and street data expertise gathered together in one room, the GeoPlace annual conference and presentation of the Exemplar Awards was the place to be for anyone interested in the creation and usage of core geographic reference data sets.

The event was aimed at local address and street custodians within local authorities who have the responsibility for creating and maintaining local versions of the data. With the introduction of the Public Sector Mapping Service Agreement (PSMA), the work that address Custodians do has a wide impact across the whole of the public sector as all parts of government can now use the AddressBase⢠range of products; the national output of the local compilations of data.

Maintaining these local datasets isn't easy. Through a process which is under the control of an elected Group of regional Custodian chairs, local address and street datasets are subject to continuing improvement criteria. Improvements in data provide huge benefits and opportunities not just to local authorities but also to the growing number of PSMA members that are using the data to support their work.

The Data Co-operation Agreement (DCA), which is linked to the PSMA, brings local government together with GeoPlace under a data supply and service agreement. Under this agreement, there is a collective responsibility to ensure that levels are maintained and, wherever possible, continue with improvements to support innovation and efficiency and service delivery across the public sector.

And this is the crux of the conference. It is the annual opportunity to get Custodians together in one room to hear from, and discuss these data improvements with their elected representatives as well as with GeoPlace.

There is plenty of good news.

The synchronisation between Council Tax and the Address gazetteers has continued to improve and we are now pretty much at 100% synchronisation across the whole country. That is a massive achievement. The NDR sync is now an astonishing 91%. It was only a couple of years ago that we were talking about trying to get to 70%. So, there have been huge strides to bring in what is a complicated data set, in synchronisation with local gazetteers.

Additionally local authorities have worked to bring together AddressPoint/PAF with individual local gazetteers. We are now at a National link rate of around about 99%, which again is a massive achievement, considering that work on this area on started about 18 months ago. This has really contributed hugely to be able help the migration of organisations from PAF based address products through to UPRN based address products.

Take up of the AddressBase products by central government is continuing apace;

  • The DWP are now adopting a UPRN for their data warehouse, this is a huge strategic step forward as DWP manage massive levels of government transactions with the public
  • Tell Us Once have been a long-time supporter of the UPRN and are now committed to using AddressBase at the core of their transactions, across the public sector
  • The Electoral Registration Reform Program is building on the matching work that you started under the core project and they see that the UPRN is vital to the long term rolling management of the Electoral Register
  • The Department of Energy and Climate are using the UPRN in their energy certificate work
  • The National Police Systems that were managed by the NPIA are taking AddressBase
  • The Department of Education is rolling AddressBase out to over 20,000 schools as part of the Schools Admissions Program
  • In Wales, Welsh Government is building UPRN in to the direct electronic information transfer program and this, in turn, has driven outstanding improvement in the quality of local address data within Wales
  • And in Scotland a UPRN is used as part of the National Identity Card Program and the Citizen Account.

News of this usage of 'their' addressing datasets caused a real buzz within the delegates. It's exactly what they wanted to hear and take back to their Chief Executives.

The conference continued with a series of afternoon sessions ranging from; Promoting address and street data within authorities, working together with AddressBase, using the current data entry conventions and data transfer formats to public rights of way in the NSG.

Outputs from the conference can be seen at www.geoplace.co.uk/. This year's winning projects from the Exemplar Awards can be seen at www.geoplace.co.uk/geoplace/253.

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