Gold medals

NLPG: The Goose that Laid the Golden Thread

In May we sponsored an event at Intellect, called A New Era in Public Sector Addressing and Mapping.

The aim of the event was to provide an introduction to IT suppliers and public sector organisations into the benefits of the new Public Sector Mapping Agreement (PSMA for short) and featured top speakers, including Lars Calvert from the Communities and Local Government, Richard Mason of Geoplace.

For me, the key takeaway was the level of commitment behind the project. The government is investing some £55 million a year to enable addressing and mapping data to be used freely across the public sector, so the pressure is on to recoup the investment. At the same time a number of hurdles remain in place, which will need to be addressed.

A lack of standards

Some of these hurdles were outlined by Postcode Anywhere MD, Guy Mucklow. One observation that generated discussion was the lack of standards currently being applied to the capture and storage of addresses in all kinds of applications. Using such standards in conjunction with good quality address data has the potential to improve data quality across the public sector and generate significant cost savings and efficiency gains.

Guy’s assertion is supported by many of the case studies highlighted in Everything Happens Somewhere – Case studies from the 2010 NLPG and NSG Exemplar Awards. Many of the case studies illustrate that if you are wise enough build systems on the rock of accurate address data all kinds of benefits ensue. Establishing National Land and Property Gazetteer’s Unique Property Reference Number, or UPRN, may well be the golden thread that links everything together.

Of course, that’s easier said than done. But, it’s one of the problems that companies like Postcode Anywhere should be focusing on.