Australian geocoded national address data freed

Making good on its promise from last year, the Australian government has released the Australian Geocoded National Address File and Administrative Boundaries datasets.

Under its new policy to make non-sensitive data open by default, the previously commercially available Australian Geocoded National Address File (G-NAF) and Administrative Boundaries datasets are now freely available.

The Australian government outlined its plans to free more of its data in its Australian Government Public Data Policy Statement released in December.

The G-NAF and boundaries datasets are available from the government's data.gov.au site.

"With the release of the G-NAF, Australia becomes one of only a few countries in the world to make national geocoded address data openly available," said Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation Angus Taylor. "Denmark made its geocoded address data open in 2002, and access to this data has been estimated to have added €62 million to the Danish economy in the five years from 2005 to 2009.

"So the opportunities this represents to Australia's economy are significant."

Over 13 million physical address records are contained in G-NAF, but the government stressed that no personal information was present in either file.

While G-NAF has been released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence (CC BY 4.0), the government has added a restriction that the data must not be used for collecting addresses for sending mail.

"The open G-NAF data must not be used for the generation of an address or a compilation of addresses for the sending of mail unless the user has verified that each address to be used for the sending of mail is capable of receiving mail by reference to a secondary source of information," a fact sheet said.

Secondary sources could include pulling verified addresses from a database or other mailing information held, or confirmation from owners that they can receive mail. The option of examining a premises is also detailed.

"The user confirming the address can receive physical mail by physically observing the physical location associated with the address," the sheet said.

"By itself, G-NAF is not suitable for sending mail. It is not produced for this purpose.

"However, a blanket restriction on the use of the open G-NAF for mailing purposes would likely have unintended consequences."

Updated versions of the data is scheduled to appear quarterly.

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