Intelligent Addressing Supports European Address Infrastructure
Intelligent Addressing (IA) is Britain's
sole representative in the EURADIN (EURopean ADdresses INfrastructure)
project. The EURADIN
project, which runs over two years, aims to contribute to the
harmonization of European addresses, propose solutions for
interoperability and access, and facilitate the creation of new value
added products and services across Europe. Directions Magazine
Editor-in-chief Joe Francica contacted IA to get more details on its
involvement in the project and the impact on INSPIRE, the European-wide
initiative for spatial data infrastructure. Gayle Gander, head of
marketing for IA, provided the following interview.
Joe Francica (JF): Would you characterize the EURADIN project as one
that will attempt to create a new addressing system or convention that
overlays the existing addressing fabric for each European Union
country? That is, will EURADIN attempt to standardize a new addressing
system, thereby replacing the addressing scheme that exists today?
Gayle Gander (GG): At the moment, there isn't anything in
existence that could be considered a European Address Infrastructure.
EURADIN aims at constituting a Best Practice Network to promote
European address harmonization. The emphasis of the project is in
defining how to harmonize access to existing address datasets rather
than creating any new pan-European addressing system. The aim of the
project is to provide guidance to enable the interoperability of
existing address data and to work out a strategy on how to build up
access services to national or regional address infrastructures.
The project's main result will be a proposal for a European Address
Infrastructure and the implementation, testing and validation of a
pilot European Address Infrastructure. The results will then be used as
a reference for all European Member States to fulfill the INSPIRE
recommendations with respect to addresses. EURADIN will work with the
outputs from the expert Addressing group within INSPIRE, and so seeks
to complement and facilitate its implementation. This means that
EURADIN is absolutely not about creating a new addressing system,
rather taking the output from INSPIRE and facilitating its principles
throughout Europe to enable greater access, reuse and exploitation of
JF: What precipitated the creation of the EURADIN project? Was this
simply a case that the INSPIRE program could not move forward without
acknowledging that a European spatial data infrastructure had to
include a common addressing scheme? Or did it have more to do with
developing a system for vehicle navigation?
GG: The INSPIRE Directive is due to start transposition in
European Member States from May 2009, so under European law every
Member State will need to ensure that it can meet the requirements of
the Directive. Addresses are crucial for many reasons, including for
governance, business and for the citizens who use addresses to navigate
their way, day-to-day. Therefore a good address system and the
availability of high quality address information are fundamental to the
effective running of society.
The partners within EURADIN came together with the common belief that
it would be possible to provide access to all European addresses
through a single central hub. INSPIRE had already recognized the
importance of addressing by including address data as one of its "Annex
1" spatial data themes. EURADIN is simply building on the importance of
an address infrastructure as already acknowledged by INSPIRE.
Commercial realities should never be far from top-level thinking with
regard to such projects, however, at this stage, there are no plans to
directly commercialize the outputs from EURADIN.
JF: Will Intelligent Addressing be working with the Ordnance Survey
on this project? What role will each play in supporting the UK's role
GG: IA is the sole UK partner involved within the EURADIN project,
which has 30 participants from 16 countries working on nine different
The partners involved in the project are the main European stakeholders
and experts in addresses. As the sole UK partner, IA won't be working
directly with Ordnance Survey in developing the Addressing
Infrastructure. But once the pilot European Address Infrastructure is
published, IA would be happy to provide any additional guidance to OS
to enable it to meet the outputs of the project and the implementation
of the addressing requirements from INSPIRE.
JF: What specific technology and work product will IA provide to the
EURADIN project coordinators?
GG: Unusually, IA qualifies as a partner in EURADIN on three
counts; as a content provider, a public sector user, and a technology
partner providing unique experience and insight based on its
involvement with the National Land and Property Gazetteer (NLPG) since 1999.
As a recognized expert in this field, IA is involved in four of the
nine work packages: Data, Metadata, Dataflow and Business Models. On
the Data Work Package, IA is one of the few organizations that have
experience in modeling, developing and implementing dual language
addressing solutions, which are of significant importance in this
project. The Metadata and Dataflow Work Packages allow other EURADIN
members to glean information from how Great Britain has implemented a
"regionalized" version of ISO 19112 through the British Standard BS
7666 parts 0, 1 and 2. Finally, the input from IA into Business Model
Work Package provides an opportunity to provide essential feedback on
the complexities of data licensing, data sharing and the commercial
pressures which the EURADIN solution will come under while sharing data
across international boundaries and between governments.
JF: What do you envision to be the end product of your participation
toward the completion of the technical pilot? Will you be delivering an
addressing schema, metadata, parcel fabric? All of the above?
GG: We consider that the project will be successful if the results
achieved are used as reference for all European Members States to
fulfill the INSPIRE recommendations regarding addresses and that
address information is made more widely available through a portal
mechanism such as a central access point.
The work that IA does with addresses is already based on the British
Standard BS7666 and the International Standard ISO 19112, and we don't
believe that there is a need to create yet more schemas for addresses.
Our work is directed on the four specific work packages described above
and IA hopes that the data standards and technological advances already
made within GB through the NLPG and National Street Gazetteer (NSG)
initiatives can be extended to accommodate the requirements of the
wider European area rather than a completely new framework. Obviously
there will be some compromises along the way with such a wide variance
in addressing standards across all the member states, but with open
data standards and Web technologies common to a global marketplace any
data transformations should be somewhat easier to implement.
JF: Please feel free to provide any final thoughts on the project
and its objectives or its impact on European commerce.
GG: IA is a passionate believer that information should be made
accessible and available and that public sector information in
particular should be made available for reuse and exploitation by
organizations that can add value to the data for the benefit of the
European economy. As a company that was set up to work with address
data and work with local government to develop the NLPG, we well
understand the value of address data to government and to business and
believe that the objectives of EURADIN complement our own ethos.