The Open Addresses Symposium

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Since this was written, Open Addresses UK has gone live. Please visit the main site here.

As previously announced by Jeni Tennison, the ODI have recently been funded by the Open Data User Group to explore the feasibility of creating a new open address database. Recognising that previous attempts to unlock existing sources have failed, the project will explore whether it is possible to create and maintain a completely open alternative.

The discovery phase of a project requires, amongst other things, plenty of user research. To support this, the ODI recently held an Open Addresses Symposium to gather together a group of open data community members, addressing experts, and organisations that have an interest in either using or publishing address data.

The symposium had several goals:

  • to help gather requirements from the community
  • to highlight and explore feasible approaches for building an open address database
  • to share a vision for open addresses, and
  • to connect together members of the community interested in taking the project forward.

The day was organised as a mixture of short presentations and a series of "requirements round tables" to encourage discussion amongst attendees on a number of key topics. The talks included a key note from Morten Lind who shared experience gained from the building of an open address database for Denmark. Other talks covered issues such as the current shape of the address data ecosystem, tracking data provenance, address data inference, and relevant international standards.

Jeni Tennison also shared a vision for the Open Addresses project. The goal being to explore whether it is possible to build a collaboratively maintained open addressing database, suitable for use in a wider variety of different applications, that will provide scope for value-added products and services that avoid lock-in.

The Lanyrd page for the event has a list of the talks and all of the slides are available.

The event was very productive with useful discussion happening throughout the day. Others have already shared their summaries of the day and reflections on the challenges.

The ODI team are now collating all of the feedback as input into the next steps in the discovery phase. If successful the project will move into an Alpha phase in October/November with a Beta launch expected in early 2015.

Watch this space for further updates.