OSMA Strides Ahead - Addressing Rumbles Onward

It’s been a busy couple of weeks since I came back from leave and this seems like a good opportunity to let everyone know where things are going with the replacement for the One Scotland Mapping Agreement (OSMA) and with addressing, both in general and as part of OSMA.  As ever, whilst this posting is generally based around things which have been directly worked upon, there is also an underlying commentary based on what various people have told me in the course of discussions.  These therefore may be unsubstantiated but are often collaborated!!

Before I went away the OSMA Replacement Business Case document was submitted to the Project Board for comment and Diana (Murray, who is the Project Executive) did a sterling job in sharpening up the document.  We had a final run through it on the 1st October and the finalised document submitted to Scottish Government prior to the nascent Spatial Information Board meeting on the 5th.  I don’t think that it would be appropriate to post the entire document on Knowledge Hub but if you are an OSMA member and wish to see it please email me and I’ll send you a copy directly (most of it anyway as I don’t seem to be able to save any bits with a £ character).

In summary the Business Case sets out the requirements for Ordnance Survey products and services, the potential working partnership arrangements with OS, options for the term of the agreement and a discussion of the issues around funding the agreement.

The meeting on the 5th was generally supportive and negotiations are to commence shortly between representatives of OSMA members, led by Scottish Government.  As these discussions and negotiations progress, I will endeavour to keep you up to date wherever possible.

It’s time for 3 word Friday – how about “Addressing Rumbles Onwards”?  I’ve been thinking a lot about addressing and how it should all fit together with OSMA.  In order to defend against any suggestion of parochialism these thoughts have been widened to include PSMA, PAF licensing and OpenData.

The concept of a National Address Gazetteer is fundamentally sound and to be honest is a blindingly obvious idea.  In the ongoing “our addresses are better than yours” contest over the years there have been statements and counter statements made by all parties to promote their own interests.  Thinking on a pragmatic level I wonder how much the various protagonists over the years have actually considered that the public (who actually fund the above contest) could not care less which is the best address as long as they get mail delivered, online shopping ordered and delivered and that they can access services, the latter being increasingly important in terms of identity authentication.  If Royal Mail uses one address which is different to that used by government, it only causes confusion.  If you are still with me on this, have you ever tried to explain this down the phone to an irate member of the public who is convinced that they know their address? 

AddressBase is, I believe anyway, a good move in right direction.  It isn’t the universal panacea for addressing but does bring the two main products together and provides a route to the UPRN from both.  We have been working with Royal Mail to see if we can improve the business processes to make things more efficient between street naming and numbering and AMU. A simple process improvement was to supply the UPRN to Royal Mail along with the other info for new addresses i.e. attach the UPRN as earlier in the property life cycle as possible and make it stick.  Guess who wasn’t overtly happy with this!

Others are actively pursuing the OpenAddress idea – I posted some thoughts on this previously – and I believe that a paper will be published in the near future.  The more that one ferrets around in the murky licensing and IPR environment, the present situation appears more and more ridiculous – unless of course you are one of the two organisations who make shedloads of money from addressing. Ironically the primary source of addressing i.e. local government isn’t one of them.

The Public Sector Licence for PAF seems to be nearer but in a more restricted scope than originally intended.  This is welcomed for PSMA/OSMA but if Government aimed just a little higher and centrally funded an efficient National Address and provided it as an OpenData product is would be unnecessary.

Will try to post more regularly but don’t want to tread on toes at this time.

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