Policy statement – Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN)

Whilst we are required to license and protect the Crown’s intellectual property rights, we allow the royalty-free use and sub-licensing of Unique Property Reference Numbers (UPRNs) under certain circumstances.

What is a UPRN?

A Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN) is a unique alphanumeric identifier for every spatial address in Great Britain and can be found in OS's Address products. It provides a comprehensive, complete, consistent identifier throughout a property’s life cycle – from planning permission through to demolition.

The UPRN contains no attribution or information (for example coordinate position) about the property.

What is our UPRN policy?

If you are licensed for an OS Address product for your own internal business use (IBU)*1, you are of course licensed to use the UPRN under the terms of your IBU licence.

In addition, our UPRN policy is that you (i.e. an IBU licensee for an OS Address product) may use UPRNs which you have sourced from an OS Address product on a royalty-free, perpetual basis, as follows:

1. For your own IBU, following the end of your Ordnance Survey IBU licence; and
2. To sub-license UPRNs to third parties for any purpose free of any licensing restrictions (both during and following the end of your OS IBU licence), PROVIDED THAT you have not extracted UPRNs by using or making reference to the coordinates within OS Address products data*2.

Apart from the above, no other licensing restrictions apply, and you do not even need to acknowledge copyright or database rights.

To be clear:

  • The UPRN policy does not permit the inclusion of other Ordnance Survey data attributes (other than the UPRN), and this will require licensing.
  • The UPRN policy only applies to IBU customers (including public sector entities licensed for Core Business), licensed by Ordnance Survey or one of our licensed partners.

Amendments to this policy

We (OS) may make amendments to this policy from time to time by posting an updated version of it on our website.

By continuing to use UPRNs obtained under this policy, you accept the terms of the policy, as amended by OS from time to time.

Why is the UPRN policy limited?

OS does not permit unrestricted use of UPRNs extracted using the co-ordinates from OS Address products, as this would enable the royalty-free and licence-free creation of geo-referenced address products or geo-referenced products intended to be used with addresses, either by Ordnance Survey licensees (e.g. customers who have entered into a 12 month licence for IBU) or by someone who is not an Ordnance Survey customer, but who has obtained geo-referenced UPRNs released by an Ordnance Survey customer.

This outcome would have a significant impact on the sustainability of Ordnance Survey Address products.
It should be noted that geo-referenced address products can and are created under the terms of Ordnance Survey’s licensed partner channel, which is the appropriate licensing route for creating value added products (please see our partner pages for further information about this).

To be clear, we (OS) are happy to support and enable the creation of any competing dataset (including a new dataset that provides geo-referenced addresses as an alternative to OS Address products) but would of course expect to do so via licensing arrangements which ensure royalties are returned to OS that reflect the value of any OS data used in the creation of such a dataset.

It should also be noted that Address products are part of our Public Task, under which we are required to produce and make available authoritative geo-referenced address data for all of GB, and to a high, nationally-consistent specification. Whilst we seek to lead the dissemination of useful open data, we are also required to be self-financing, and therefore are tasked with generating sustainable revenues in order to fund our Public Task.

Does the Open Government Licence apply to the UPRN policy?

No, UPRNs are not released under the terms of the OGL. The terms are set out above in the section headed “What is our UPRN Policy?”

What does this mean for you?

If you simply wish to use the UPRN for your own internal business use following the end of your IBU licence term, you are free to do so.

If you wish to share the UPRN (along with your own data) with third parties, as long as you have entered into an IBU licence and you can demonstrate that the method you have used to attach the UPRN to your data (which may have coordinates already in it) has not used spatial information from an OS Address product then you are free to use the UPRN without any licensing restrictions. This means you can share the UPRN (along with your data) with third parties on a royalty-free basis.

Please note that if your dataset has information from another source other than Ordnance Survey (third party data), then prior consent must be received from this party prior to release.

Examples of what you can do

  • If you wish to use the UPRN for IBU only, for example, to help with removing duplicate addresses from your own internal systems, you can use whatever method you wish (including use of co-ordinates) to match an OS Address product to your own data and integrate the UPRN into your system. Under the terms of the UPRN policy, you can continue to use the UPRN as part of your system, following expiry of your Ordnance Survey licence.
  • If you have a list of properties and you attach the UPRN to the properties by matching the UPRN to address details such as building number, street name and postcode (rather than coordinates), you can continue to use the UPRN as part of your system, following expiry of your Ordnance Survey licence, and you can share your list (including the UPRN) with third parties on an unrestricted basis.
  • If you have a list of postcodes to which you (i) attach UPRNs using the address details from an OS Address product, and then (ii) attach the coordinates from Code-Point Open, you can share your list of postcodes, together with coordinates (from Code-Point Open) and UPRNs, with third parties on an unrestricted basis.
  • If you are a Public sector customer licensed for OS Address products under the PSMA or OSMA, and want to associate your data with UPRNs, provided you have not used co-ordinates from an OS Address product to associate your data with the UPRN, you are able to publish that data including the UPRN, under terms of your choosing – including under the OGL. (Note, you may also retain the data beyond expiry of your PSMA or OSMA Member Licence).

Examples of what you cannot do

  • The policy only applies to IBU customers (whether licensed directly by Ordnance Survey, or by Licensed Partners) and does not apply to Licensed Partners who are licensed under the Framework Contract (Partners).
  • You can carry out the following activities for your IBU only, but cannot make the UPRNs available to third parties on a royalty-free, perpetual basis, free of licensing restrictions, as the method of identifying these records has used a form of spatial analysis:
    • Add UPRNs to your own dataset by identifying which UPRNs fall within a geographical extent, for example a conservation area or flood zone;
    • Add UPRNs to properties within an Open Data Product, such as OS Open Map Local, or identify which UPRNs fall within a particular geographical extent within an Open Data product such as Boundary Line.

*1 For clarity, this includes where you are (1) a Public Sector Mapping Agreement (PSMA) or One Scotland Mapping Agreement (OSMA) member or (2) licensed for “Business Use” (i.e. “solely for the internal administration and operation of your business”) by Ordnance Survey under the terms of its Framework Contract (Direct Customers) or licensed on equivalent Business Use terms via an Ordnance Survey Licensed Partner licensed to grant Business Use terms.

*2 For the avoidance of doubt, the policy does not permit you to sub-license UPRNs to third parties where you have used UPRNs (or some other unique identifier) sourced from a third party without licensing restrictions, to replace UPRNs which have been extracted by using or making reference to coordinates, whether sourced from a third party or by you. This clarification is made to ensure the policy is interpreted and used as intended by OS and to avoid a potential loophole.

Policy last updated: January 2016