How OS Places API is helping citizens find local services
OS Places API offers a simple way to connect to detailed and authoritative address data. Available via the OS Data Hub and updated daily, it is a great option if you want to add geocoding, form-filling, or any form of addressing to applications where addressing matters.
There are over 100 areas on GOV.UK where each year millions of people need to enter their postcode to find local services, from paying council tax, finding the nearest number plate supplier or even disposing of hazardous waste.
Government Digital Service (GDS) created their postcode lookup solution, which is powered by OS Places API, to create a simple, joined-up and personalised experience of government for everyone.
Users are then provided with instant results as their postcode is matched to their local authority, supplying them with relevant links to locally provided services.
Members of the public use ‘postcode lookups’ hundreds of thousands of times a month on the GOV.UK website. At the peak of Covid-19 tier checking, the GOV.UK postcode checker was receiving up to 6,000 requests per second.
NHS Digital also used the OS Places API to efficiently capture the addresses of people requesting Covid-19 home testing kits via the GOV.UK website, as part of the government’s national testing strategy.
The OS Places API could be quickly integrated with the NHS Digital’s online ordering systems, and the ‘Capture and Verification’ feature meant that when ordering a home testing kit, users could simply enter a postcode and easily select their address from a drop-down list. Only ‘clean’ and up-to-date addresses are captured, optimising efficient delivery of tests to anywhere in Great Britain.
In a period of extraordinary demand, the OS Places API sped up the online user journey and removed the need for manual address entries, which can result in less successful deliveries.
Visit the OS Data Hub
To find out more about OS Places API, and the other location data APIs available from OS, visit the OS Data Hub.
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