UPRN - now an open key for linking property data

on the mapAddressBase internal business use customers can now release Unique Property Reference Numbers (UPRNs) on a royalty free and open basis in a move from Ordnance Survey, GeoPlace and the Improvement service aimed at supporting the transparency and open data agendas

The UPRN uniquely and definitively identifies every addressable location in the country - effectively acting as a 'golden thread' linking multiple information sets about each spatial address in the country.

Richard Mason, managing director at GeoPlace, said that the National Land & Property Gazetteer custodian, was "pleased to support the opening up of UPRNs so that AddressBase customers across all sectors can share data more effectively.

"Most transactions, provided by thousands of different organisations, include an address or street reference - from registering to vote, collection of waste, delivery of social care, payment of taxes, connection of utility services, quotation for insurance, delivery of packages, streetworks, allocation of school places and most crucially, responding to emergency situations, where time really can be life or death.

According to cllr Peter Fleming, chairman of the Local Government Association's Improvement and Innovation Board, "Local authorities first identified the value of using UPRNs to link information from various services such as social care needs, schools admissions, council tax, benefits, planning and waste collection and have saved the sector over £75 million over the last ten years.

"Opening up UPRNs will extend those benefits of linking data between services and will lead to further innovation and reduced costs in commissioning and delivering services and empowering local communities and business."

The unique property reference number remains consistent through a property's lifecycle, from planning permission to demolition, and is found within Ordnance Survey's AddressBase products. The UPRN is already used by organisations to link multiple datasets together and to reduce errors in data exchange between each other. For example, a local authority and utility company can continue to hold their own address information in existing formats, but by adding a single field for the UPRN, then can easily link matching records in their disparate databases together.

The Joint Emergency Services Group in Wales, supported by Welsh Government, Cabinet Office and Welsh Unitary Authorities have already developed a mechanism to electronically transfer information between public service organisations using the UPRN as the common identifier.

This collaborative approach has underpinned core operational systems with the UPRN and developed a proven, long-term and scalable solution to secure multi-agency electronic information exchange, setting the connectivity and data standards for wider integration and becoming the vanguard for public service improvement.

The same project has enabled sharing of information between partners and has reduced the phone transfer time on emergencies by 94%, from over 4 minutes to 16 seconds, and is projected to save over 18,000 hours across the emergency services in Wales per annum. It has provided increased confidence in incident location and improved resilience, efficiency and safety.

This policy will bring the use of the UPRN into line with the terms that apply to Ordnance Survey's TOID (contained within OS MasterMap products).

Picture: iStockphoto/tattywelshie