What numbers identify you and your belongings? Your National Insurance number? Your NHS number? Your Tesco Clubcard? Your postcode? Your number plate on your car? We are all used to unique letters and numbers to identify us in our daily life. At OS we also use a series of unique numbers and letters, called identifiers, in our location data, from buildings to streets to bridges.
We’ve been working to make more OS data open, including identifiers. Our data can then be used with other data held by local/central government and commercial organisations. With the identifiers to give a geospatial context, those combined datasets become useful information to make efficient decisions.
But what are identifiers?
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).
Guest post by Gayle Gander of GeoPlace (@GayleGander)
Case studies from the 2012 GeoPlace Exemplar Awards have now been published in book form.
The case studies celebrates the work of Award winning Custodians across the country and demonstrate how Authority Address Custodians and Authority Street Custodians are enabling local authorities to create efficiency savings and support service delivery.
The Custodians are the people responsible for creating and maintaining essential national resources in the form of the National Street Gazetteer and the National Address Gazetteer. The National Address Gazetteer is a critical part of the AddressBase® range of products which are now widely available, and being used by the public sector through the Public Sector Mapping Agreement (PSMA) as well as by the private sector.
The case studies featured in this book demonstrate the importance of address and street information to local government – with much of the best practice transferable to other organisations across the public sector.