Digital National Framework to be incorporated in Open Address initiative

20 April 2015

The Digital National Framework Open Addresses

The Location Information Specialist Group (LISG), part of BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, is delighted to announce that Open Addresses has been selected to take the Digital National Framework (DNF) forward. Open Addresses is the nation’s first open data address company run by the Open Data Institute. BCS was invited to administer and make the award of funds left over from the DNF collaboration to an initiative that would take the concept forward.

Dan Rickman, Chair of the BCS LI Specialist Group says: “Open Addresses is a very deserved initiative to take this project forward.”

Jeni Tennison, Executive Director at Open Addresses said: “We’re delighted to receive this landmark funding from BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT. As our first funding beyond our initial Cabinet Office grant, this support is a demonstration of the wide interest in open address data. Addresses are a vital part of the nation’s information infrastructure. This funding will help promote the use of a common code for each address, enabling people to match and bring data together and to create better services that we can all benefit from.”

The DNF was created by a group of small and medium sized software companies including: 1Spatial, Dotted Eyes and Manchester Geomatics. Together they worked with Ordnance Survey and the British Geological Survey to define a framework for linking geospatial data which culminated in production of a number of specification and guidelines for best practice to link data - these can be found at

In addition, as a practical outcome of the DNF work, Great Britain advocated that the EU INSPIRE programme adopt already existing Universal Resource Identifiers (URIs) as unique record codes rather than creating another Unique Reference Number from scratch, with associated costs of creating and cross-matching existing references.

Dan adds: “The recent Ordnance Survey announcement that Unique Property Reference Numbers (UPRNs) are to be made open data has enabled the BCS LISG to sponsor Open Addresses to apply DNF principles”. 

Mike Sanderson, chair of the DNF sub-group of LISG, comments: “The ability to add UPRNs to the recently launched open address records will add significantly to the number of users able to make real use of open linked data.”

The Open Address project will seek to:

  • expand the Open Address data model, linked URLs and API services to support open data UPRNs
  • determine and report on whether and how the UPRN for an address/property can be established without using copyrighted address products
  • establish a legally safe process to update the data that Open Addresses currently publishes to include UPRNs.

Open Addresses gathers and publishes data through a number of methods: as static bulk data, as linked data on the internet and as a set of APIs that can be used to build digital services. Each of these methods will be expanded to cater for OS UPRNs both when gathering and publishing data.

Open Addresses will also determine whether and how a person or service provider can determine a UPRN for an address without needing to purchase expensive, copyrighted address products and without introducing third party rights into the resulting dataset which would mean that it cannot be released as open data. The findings will be openly published for anyone to use.

Based on the above approaches Open Addresses will establish a process to determine and gather UPRNs for the dataset that Open Addresses currently publishes. It may be possible to perform a bulk update, alternatively it may be necessary to discover UPRNs over time through the collaborative maintenance model.

Dan concludes: “Through this work Open Addresses and BCS’ DNF sub-group will help the public sector, service providers, communities and the general people to realise the potential of address data that can be easily and openly linked and matched together by everyone."

Contact the Press Office