Geographic database opens up to business

Private-sector groups can now subscribe to the National Land and Property Gazetteer, a database of national address and property data
Written by Tim Ferguson, Contributor

An electronic national geographical database is now available for commercial use after all 376 English and Welsh local authorities signed up to supply data.

The National Land and Property Gazetteer (NLPG) was initiated in 1999 to centralise all address and property data onto a single database.

Information contained on the system includes addresses, postcodes and national grid references, as well as a unique property reference number for each individual property.

The NLPG has been used by public-sector organisations — such as the police, fire services and county councils — for the past four years but is now available for private-sector groups to subscribe to.

The value of the NLPG is huge, with companies dealing in fields such as insurance, customer profiling, logistics and satellite navigation potentially finding uses for the database.

An insurance company, for example, could access the system to make sure its information is up-to-date, and pick up fake or old addresses.

Subscriptions will be managed by the Improvement and Development Agency with private technology partner Intelligent Addressing.

Speaking to ZDNet.co.uk sister site silicon.com, Steve Brandwood, programme manager at Intelligent Addressing, said: "We've been working with local authorities for the last 10 years to help them create standardised address lists within each authority. We're now able to be reassured that the data quality is up where it needs to be."

Brandwood added that the centralising of address data has created significant efficiencies in public-sector organisations, some of which previously had up to 150 disparate databases.

Local authorities update their data locally and add it to the NLPG at least once a month, while some are using electronic feeds to update data in real-time as new planning applications are approved or buildings are demolished.

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