UK 2017 Q4 Project: Addresses and Postcodes

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This quarter's project is to increase the quality and quantity of address and postcode data on OSM objects in the UK. For background information about postcodes, see Wikipedia: Postcodes in the United Kingdom.


Sources of Address Data

Note that the definitive database of addresses and postcodes maintained by Royal Mail (the Postcode Address File or PAF) is not licenced for re-use in OSM, and neither are the derived products AddressBase and the National Land and Property Gazeteer NLPG. Care also needs to be taken that any third-party sources that may appear ok to use, haven't had their addresses screened or washed against one of these sources. In particular, this was found to be the case with the ONS Price Paid dataset. While the price data can be used under the specified licence, the associated address data cannot. Some sources that are acceptable to use for adding addresses to OSM include:

Code-Point Open

Part of Ordnance Survey Opendata, and can be re-used in OSM under the Open Government Licence.

Food Hygiene Ratings System

Data on food outlets collated by the Food Standards Agency, licensed under Open Government Licence.


Data on schools licensed under Open Government Licence.

Challenges / Objectives / Progress Tracking

Some ideas for targets / aims for increasing postcode coverage during the quarter:

  • Ensure that each (geographic) postal sector has at least one postcode mapped. (~615 to go as of 2017-10-01; Current Stats.)
  • Reduce the number of (geographic) postal sectors with less than 5% of units having a mapped object. (~5573 as of 2017-10-01; Current Stats.)
  • Increase the number of unique postcodes in OSM to e.g. 8% of the total. (Starting from 7.3% as of 2017-10-01.)
  • Increase the number of OSM objects with postcodes.
  • Reduce the number of errors/typos in addr:postcode tags.
  • Reduce number of objects tagged with addresses (addr:* tags) but no postcode, by filling in postcodes. (Overpass Turbo Query)
  • Reduce number of objects tagged with postcodes but no other address tags (e.g. addr:street), by filling in the missing address details.
  • Fix errors in addresses. (OSMI Link)


Previous projects

See the list of UK Quarterly Projects