As Christmas draws closer, nights lengthen and temperatures drop, many people will be doing their Christmas shopping, mince pie baking and Christmas card writing. This is also one of the busiest times of year for many businesses. Utility companies need to ensure people remain warm, online shopping delivery companies are frantically getting Christmas presents delivered on time, and the financial sector is processing and validating purchases.
This is all of course not forgetting Santa and his elves getting ready for the all-important night of December 24th. Most of the time as members of the public we can simply sit back and enjoy some festive treats why this all happens seamlessly without us even thinking about it.
We might venture out into the ever increasingly bracing weather for the traditional family walks possibly using one of our OS paper maps, something our brand is most known for. These maps are what made OS famous, but analytical data products are now how OS supports ever increasing numbers of businesses delivering these vital services to you over Christmas, and throughout the rest of the year.
As England’s football team aim to avoid dead ends and cul-de-sacs at the Russia World Cup – we’ve revealed the most popular street names shared by the players.
Residents across Great Britain live in 2,280 streets which share the same name as players’ surnames from England’s World Cup squad – with Danny Rose’s surname topping the table.
Whether it be Walker Lane in Rotherham, Kane Close in Coalville, or Southgate Avenue in Crawley, fans up and down the nation have added pride when cheering on the team (except maybe the good people of Welbeck Street in Kilmarnock!).
Guest blog by Egbe Manners, GI Consultant
One of my colleagues loves online shopping, so, when she moved to a new flat and her favourite home delivery services couldn’t find her address, she was frustrated. Increasingly having a successful delivery to her flat is becoming a differentiator to which online retailer she chooses. Is she expecting too much from online retailers?
Luckily, working at Ordnance Survey (OS), I know a bit about address data. I understand some of the challenges facing retailers to keep customer address data updated. It takes time, investment, and effort to maintain their mailing lists. However, it is worth the effort.
Having access to over 29.6 million addresses in Postal Address File (PAF) from Royal Mail, is a good starting point. However, finding those households within a building that has been divided could prove trickier. But this is made easier with the 12 million additional addresses that OS source from Britain’s local authorities.
A short while ago, my wife received two seemingly identical catalogues in the post from a well-known online fashion retailer. Both were addressed to our home, but the catalogues differed in two respects. Firstly, one was labelled using her maiden name, whilst the other used her married surname. The second difference was more interesting. The first catalogue promised a 30% reduction on all purchases as a loyal customer reward. The second catalogue promised a 20% reduction. This told me two important things: (1) my wife spends more with this retailer since we married; (2) the retailer in question has no master data management (MDM) strategy for addresses.
By Iain Goodwin, OS Relationship Manager across all government sectors
At a time when there’s an appetite for making better use of data to improve services, I’ve been thinking…
If we recognise the value of the output (a map as an evidence base to underpin decision making), what can be done to improve the input (the data)?
The answer, I believe, is unique geographic keys.
Data visualisation is absolutely crucial in helping public sector organisations work smarter and underpinning policy making. It helps to make sense of population characteristics, understand the needs of communities, and target resources effectively.
Examples of individual unique keys are scattered across the public sector: Healthcare has the NHS Number. HMRC has the National Insurance Number. The DVLA links us to our vehicle registrations with a Unique Driver Licence Number. But these organisations are concerned with their own characteristics. So, how can departments ensure these unique keys describe the same people?
The answer is to link them to the unique geographic keys that describe places. And in most cases, this will be property. Unlike unique keys for citizens, there is one version of the truth for property – the Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN).
One of the joys of working for OS is that you get asked to give authoritative answers to all sorts of geographic questions. ‘Classic’ questions such as how long is the coastline of Great Britain? often crop up. Which, if you read our recent blog on which English county has the longest coastline, you’ll know isn’t as easy to answer as you might think. Often, seemingly simple questions have no definitive solution. For me that doesn’t matter. The joy comes from thinking through the problem to come up with the best answer possible.
The coastline question reminded me of a problem I tried to tackle myself last year. Listening to a news story on the radio, it described “27 million households across the country”. Over the next 48 hours the story was repeated across a broad selection of media outlets and every time the same statistic came up. After mulling on this for a while I decided I didn’t like this number. It’s too imprecise. So, I decided to delve a little further and try and work out a more accurate number for myself.
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.
A short while ago, my wife received two seemingly identical catalogues in the post from a well-known online fashion retailer. Both were addressed to our home, but the catalogues differed in two respects. Firstly, one was labelled using her maiden surname, whilst the other used her married surname. The second difference was more interesting. The first catalogue promised a 30% reduction on all merchandise – as a loyal customer reward. The second catalogue promised a 20% reduction. This told me two important things: (1) my wife clearly spends more with this retailer since we married; (2) the retailer in question has no Master Data Management (MDM) strategy for addresses.
MDM refers to everything an organisation does to manage the critical data of the organisation, the goal being to provide a single version of the truth. In this article, I’ll explore why MDM is necessary for addresses and how it can be implemented.
Guest blog by Chris Chambers, Senior Product Manager
You might not know it, but Ordnance Survey’s legacy address products have been used in providing many services to you over the last 18 years. Be it the supply of council services such as waste collection, getting emergency vehicles to your location, supply of utility services, or getting a more accurate home insurance premium – many of these have been using Ordnance Survey’s ADDRESS-POINT, OS MasterMap Address Layer or OS MasterMap Address Layer 2 products.
Today’s guest blog is from Chris Chambers, our Address Portfolio Manager at Ordnance Survey.
Our AddressBase team has recently carried out detailed analysis of the 38,418,837 addresses in the AddressBase product suite to identify ‘postally addressable’ records. This work was based on our customers’ requirement to identify all properties within the AddressBase products that have the potential to receive mail, not solely the Royal Mail Postcode Address File (PAF) data contained within.