Tuesday 6 November 2007

Free the Postcode!

While writing my last post I came across this initiative (Free the Postcode!) from a link on Chris Fleming’s website. The website says:

“The postcode database - which turns a postcode to a latitude/longitude and back - is not free in the UK. In fact, it's very expensive. The Post Office owns it and sells it to various companies that make use of it for things like insurance or parcel tracking. There are however many people who'd like to use it for non-profit purposes. Say you want to lay out events like free concerts / gigs on a map and you only have the postcode... you have to buy the database.
Instead, wouldn't it be nice if it was free like zipcodes are in the US? To do this, you have to have a number of people collaborating with GPS units who note positions and postcodes. Hence this site to collect that data.”

It then provides a way for people to enter data that they have collected themselves with a GPS. My little knowledge of GPS was gained on some work I did on the GRADE project (Scoping a Geospatial Repository for Academic Deposit and Extraction). If you’re interested in the issues involved in the reuse of geospatial data you can take a look at the project here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree the ability to use the database to convert postal codes to GPS coordinates would be outstanding for events and such. Especially if it could be uploaded into other peoples GPS units via a webpage. I'd like to see a similar project here in the United States, but I can just see the Department of Homeland Security having a cow, terrorist with GPS locations of targets....Not like they couldn't get GPS information any other way. Sorry went on a rant there. We here in the States are busy sacrificing our Liberties for for Percived Safety.