Going beyond Great Britain with AddressBase Islands…

If you haven’t used or heard of it before, AddressBase is a family of three addressing products we’ve offered since 2011. These products provide the most comprehensive and definitive source of spatial addressing information for England, Scotland and Wales, amounting to over 41 million records.

The products are made up of numerous authoritative sources, all collated and compiled by GeoPlace, a partnership between Ordnance Survey and the Local Government Association.


The task of compiling these data sources and creating a product every six weeks is not to be underestimated, but during 2015 the Location Analytics Product team at OS began to question the possibilities of extending the address content coverage.

In March 2016 AddressBase Islands was launched, offering two additional products to the market, AddressBase Plus Islands and AddressBase Premium Islands. These products provide address coverage for Northern Ireland, Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. This adds over 14,500 km2 equating to over 1.1 million addresses to the Location Portfolio.

AddressBase Islands lifecycle diagram_v2_04

As you can imagine these new areas presented some unique challenges.

In England, Scotland and Wales, Local Authorities capture the majority of their address information to the British Addressing Standard (BS7666); something reflected in Isle of Man, but not required in Northern Ireland and Channel Islands. The ambition of the AddressBase Islands product was to provide customers with addressing information in the same format as that found in Great Britain. This means we have created approximately 25,000 address records and 80,000 street records. This ensures the AddressBase Islands products provide the addressing hierarchy structure customers have come to expect.

Another key challenge was accommodating the Coordinate Reference Systems, with the core AddressBase products previously only providing British National Grid coordinates. These coordinates are incompatible with the new Islands coverage meaning the Product team decided upon introducing the ETRS89 coordinate system to the Islands products and core AddressBase products. This involves translating all of the new areas as these are all provided in different reference systems.

Lastly, one of the core features of the AddressBase products is to provide a unique key for all addresses (Unique Property Reference Number – UPRN). When creating the Islands products this has involved centrally creating these numbers for the Channel Islands to ensure no duplicates persist throughout the entire coverage. But we also wanted to ensure the value of knowing the source data key was not lost. This means that an AddressBase Premium Islands customer will be able to access over 100,000 of these cross references.

The creation of these products proved a challenging and enjoyable experience, and we are already enjoying seeing our customers use the wealth of extra addressing information available from these new products.

Advantages of AddressBase Islands

As shown in our earlier blog post, ’why you need an address master data strategy’, the importance of having a strong address strategy is fundamental for many organisations. But with OS previously only providing coverage for England, Scotland and Wales and the three providers above only covering their individual areas; implementing an organisational wide strategy for all of these areas would have been very difficult. Many different formats and capture specifications would have needed to be accommodated. 

After a significant amount of work the two new products offer Northern Ireland, Channel Islands and Isle of Man addressing in the same schema as the current AddressBase products, meaning users will have one format of addressing data for all of these areas, simplifying their address management.

How to find out more…

The two AddressBase Islands products are available direct from us at OS and our Partners. In the first instance contact your Relationship Manager and more information can also be found on our product pages


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