The Open Postcode Finder


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The Postcode Finder is a tool developed to encourage the addition of UK address data and postcodes into the OSM database. By providing a useful search and navigation facility, address data is usable by the consumer. The talk will focus on details of the data processing needed to put things into a useful format as well as challenges faced when presenting the information in a useful way. How to use the tool itself will also be covered as well as thoughts on future direction with adding new features to complement the existing tools.

This is my talk from State of the Map 2013 on Friday the 6th of September at 16:50.

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The Open Postcode Finder

  1. 1. The Open Postcode Finder Matt Williams Milliams
  2. 2. ● Aiming to be a sort of 'replacement' of the Royal Mail Postcode Finder using only open data. ● Allows search by postcode or address. ● By default only searches OpenStreetMap data. ● Will search OS Code-Point® Open if no match is found in OSM.
  3. 3. Searching ● If you search for a valid postcode you receive a list of all houses with the postcode as well as an inset map showing the area ● If there's no matching OSM houses, you'll just get the map (from OS Code-Point Open) ● Searching by address works similarly ● All houses in results list are hyperlinks to an address page
  4. 4. Address Page ● There is an address page for each extracted address from the OSM database showing the address map and postal address ● The street name is a link to all houses on that street ● The postcode is a link to all houses with that postcode ● You can also get a direct link to the relevant object in the OSM database
  5. 5. Technical ● Offline C++ processing tool – Uses the fantastic Osmium – Builds up logical street from the disparate nodes, ways and relations – Also tracks errors. ● A web application for the user interface – der/ – Uses Django, GeoDjango, PostgreSQL and PostGIS
  6. 6. Uses ● Aims to (one day) be a usable product for postcode searches – Very reliant on OSM data ● Provides a view into the OSM data which is normally hidden – This encourages people to add postcodes and addresses to OSM ● Has proved handy for merging in external data sources...
  7. 7. Land Registry House Price Data ● The Land Registry are publishing their 'price paid' data sets under the Open Government License ● This includes the price paid for a house (obviously) as well as a full address and postcode ● Using the postcode finder, we match up the entries into: – Address match, wrong postcode – Address match, no postcode – No match – Perfect match ● Then add the postcodes to the database manually
  8. 8. Progress in OSM UK c.f. 29 million in PAF; we're now at ~1.1% 2011-03-24 2011-06-24 2011-09-24 2011-12-24 2012-03-24 2012-06-24 2012-09-24 2012-12-24 2013-03-24 2013-06-24 0 50,000 100,000 150,000 200,000 250,000 300,000 350,000 Houses with post codes
  9. 9. Progress in OSM UK ● But two years ago we were at 0.25% - we've quadrupled ● There's been no real coordinated effort in OSM to add postcodes and addresses to OSM – There's been a lack of usable data sources ● With the Land Registry data and perhaps soon the Companies House data we can provide mappers with the information they need ● With the right tools and input data, we could increase coverage much more quickly
  10. 10. Thank you