[Talk-GB] addressing (was addr:place)

David Woolley forums at david-woolley.me.uk
Mon Oct 27 10:06:29 UTC 2014

On 27/10/14 01:04, Andy Street wrote:
> On Sun, 26 Oct 2014 22:41:56 +0000
> Chris Hill<osm at raggedred.net>  wrote:
>> >Addresses are allocated by Local Authorities, not Royal Mail. I use
>> >the address the LA recognise, plus the postcode which, AFAIK, Royal
>> >Mail do issue.
> I was aware that LAs have a role in numbering and naming new streets
> but I was unaware that they assigned full addresses.

As I understand it, they only allocate full addresses in the the context 
of postal town system.  Although postcodes make it less important that 
street name be unique within a postal town/London postal district, I 
think the local authorities still actually implement that restriction. 
I certainly think they will make them unique within an outbound postcode.

> Perhaps someone could take pity on this poor simpleton and explain how
> this works. I've grabbed my GPS, wandered down "High Street" and added
> a waymark outside number 10. When I get back home how do I go about
> converting this data into a full address that I can add to OSM?

You cannot use the authoritative database that the local authority uses, 
the NLPG, which, incidentally, includes things like sub-stations, garage 
blocks, and gas installations as well as postal delivery points.  That's 
because it is a copyright and monetised database, so you basically have 
to rely on local knowledge.  Local knowledge is an accepted source for 
OSM.  Whilst place name signs may sometimes give a clue as to 
administrative boundaries, I don't think you can put total reliance on 
them.  It is like the question with the low emission zone; signs only 
tell you the situation at one specific point.

In any case, if people give you a locality based, rather than postal 
town based address, they are likely to use estate agents' districts, for 
which there is probably no formal database, or historic locality names, 
which have no legally defined boundaries.  In practice, the advent of 
satellite navigators probably means that the post code is what people 
will give, even though, if postcodes hadn't existed an OSGB, or even 
WGS84, grid reference would have been better suited to the purpose.

Incidentally some local councils do, effectively, make the NLPG data for 
their council visible in their online query services, but you still 
can't use it for OSM.

Although there seems to be a big hunt on to add postcodes to OSM, 
because that is what the general public puts into their satellite 
navigators, and I suspect there are lot taken from unacceptable sources, 
the real holy grail would be to reconstruct the NLPG.

Looking at the specification, just linked to, it looks like RM post 
towns are a key piece of information.  The other information is the 
administrative unit, which is also something you cannot get from just an 
on the ground survey, without asking people.  I think most people only 
have a vague notion of the administrative unit they are in, even though 
it is key to local democracy.

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