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Public-images-osm logo.svg ref:GB:uprn
Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN), the public sector mandated unique identifier for every addressable location in the United Kingdom. Show/edit corresponding data item.
Group: references
URL pattern$1
Used on these elements
may be used on nodesmay be used on waysmay be used on areas (and multipolygon relations)should not be used on relations (except multipolygon relations)
Status: approvedPage for proposal

The Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN) is the public sector mandated[1] unique identifier for every addressable location in the United Kingdom.[2]

Custodians working for relevant authorities assign unique identifiers – the UPRN – to individual, addressable locations. An addressable location may be any kind of building, or it may be an object that might not have a ‘normal' address – such as a bus shelter or an electricity substation for example. Overwhelmingly however, UPRNs are used in relation to buildings, which can include commercial, assembly, educational and domestic - the latter may be individual houses, tenement, or apartment blocks.

UPRNs provide every property or object with a consistent, persistent, numerical identifier (often between 8 and 12 digits, but not restricted to 12) throughout its lifecycle from planning through to demolition. Note that UPRNs can be allocated to both a building and individual units within the main building.

The relevance of UPRNs is that they can be linked to other identifiers such as Basic Land and Property Unit (BLPU), which are used in managing details of each property such as the address. Other linked identifiers that can be used are the Unique Street Reference Number (USRN) and postcode. In this way, various spatially linked data sources are used in Great Britain by Ordnance Survey to provide their address products.

Blocks of sequential UPRN values are allocated to gazetteer custodians in England and Wales by GeoPlace. In Scotland, the allocation of blocks of UPRNs is carried out by the Improvement Service. In Northern Ireland, UPRNs are the responsibility of the Department for Infrastructure (Northern Ireland), which are managed together with linked identifiers by Land & Property Services in conjunction with the Royal Mail and local authorities. Use of the UPRN also extends to the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. This proposal is intentionally silent on those island territories, in part because no data source is known, but also because local mappers may wish to use their local ISO codes (IM, GG and JE) in place of the GB ISO code for United Kingdom.

How to Map

Map UPRNs in the same way that you map addresses or amenities (e.g. shops) on or in buildings. In practice this means:

  • Where there is a one-to-one relationship between building and UPRN, then add the UPRN to the building's outline (way).
  • Where there are multiple UPRN's within a single building, you may add nodes within the building and add the UPRN to the nodes.

The important part is that the ref:GB:uprn tag is clearly associated with the feature it relates to in the original database of UPRN entries.

A single UPRN should only appear in OSM once. Anything listed in taginfo values with more than one occurrence is questionable has a link to Overpass Turbo similar to

Some counties have 'street level' UPRNs. These are often at the ends of roads, possibly used to mark the entrance to a new road on a new estate. The road will (or does) have a ref:GB:usrn=*. It is not clear whether we should add these to OSM or not. If yes, then this would lead to UPRNs being on multiple sections of the road OR at a single point on the road.


Please note that all data added to OSM must be licensed under a compatible license. In the case of UPRNs, this will normally be the Open Government Licence (OGL).

Unfortunately, the government has not released a mapping between UPRNs and addresses as open data, so any dataset which links a UPRN directly to an address is very likely to be derived from proprietary Ordnance Survey data and is not acceptable in OSM. If in doubt, please ask first.

Useful combination


  • On Talk-GB mailing list at several points during 2020
  • At a State of the Map 2020 online workshop


These maps show UPRNs:

at higher zooms.

Use Cases for UPRNs in OSM

This is a sample of potential uses of UPRNs to improve OSM data, including direct assignment of UPRNs to OSM elements.

  • Identification of farms which have been converted to residential usage. Usually farms will have one (rarely 2-3) UPRN whereas when a farm is converted for residential usage UPRNs will appear over older style farm buildings (typically forming a courtyard). Some farms will always have had more than one residential property on the farmyard site (often occupied by different generations of the farming family), but the associated buildings and distribution of UPRNs will be different.
  • Assignment of postcodes to houses where this is not possible through other open data. Although it is often possible to guess sensible break points where postcodes change on a street, when the break occurs in a single run of houses this is much harder. The availability of UPRN-Postcode mapping can resolve this. A specific example is Southwold Drive in Nottingham where the break between NG8 1PA and NG8 1PB could not be originally ascertained.
  • More precise mapping of small objects. Individual telephone kiosks and pillar postboxes (but not apparently other types) have UPRNs and the location is given to the nearest metre. These uprns can thus be used to locate these objects more accurately. No doubt there are other classes of objects where this applies. Caution is needed when phone boxes & pillar boxes are close together.
  • Adding uprns to the above object types (phone & pillar boxes) in OSM provides an easy way of evaluating positional accuracy of their mapping. See attached image.
    OSM Post-box jitter cf. UPRN location

  • UPRNs added to streets may be used to identify all elements making up a single street. USRNs are probably better suited to this purpose.
  • Checking that all addresses have been added. Using UPRNs can form a useful cross-check when mapping addresses.
  • Identifying maisonettes and other small apartment buildings. These can be difficult to identify from aerial imagery. Modern maisonettes are only slightly larger than houses (slightly deeper and higher roof line). Pre-WW1 ones (London) are indistinguishable from terraced houses (example Darwin Road, Ealing).

See also

  1. As mandated by the Government Digital Service (this may be for GB only)
  2. As described by GeoPlace.