|Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN), the public sector mandated unique identifier for every addressable location in the United Kingdom.|
|Used on these elements|
|Tools for this tag|
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 https://taginfo.openstreetmap.org/keys/ref:GB:uprn#values has a link to Overpass Turbo similar to https://overpass-turbo.eu/?w=%22ref%3AGB%3Auprn%22%3D%2210023712305%22+global&R
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.
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.
- The official mapping between UPRNs and geographic locations for Great Britain is available here as Open Data under the OGL.
- The ONS provides a mapping between UPRNs, postcodes, geographic locations, and regions in their National Statistics UPRN Lookup. This is also OGL-licensed.
- building=commercial has one or more UPRNs
- building=house has one or more UPRNs
- amenity=post_box has a UPRN, but only if post_box:type=pillar
- amenity=post_depot Sorting offices and delivery offices
- ...+ other objects that have UPRNs...
- 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.
- 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).
- Up until this point, some people had entered a few of these identifiers to OpenStreetMap using the tag ref:NPLG:UPRN:1=* (TagInfoGB reports 244 entries). No formal proposal and acceptance process occurred for this former tag. Many of these entries pre-date availability of UPRNs as open data and may not be licence-compatible with OSM
- Ordnance Survey OpenData#OS Open UPRN
- Ordnance Survey
- w:ONS UPRN Directory (on Wikipedia)