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Birthday marks successful two years for OS MasterMap Address Layer 2


More than 21, 000 users across industry, commerce and the public sector are benefiting from the most accurate link between every British property address and its location “on the map”.

Figures released to celebrate the second birthday of Ordnance Survey’s nationally consistent spatial address data, OS MasterMap Address Layer 2, show growing take-up by central and local government, emergency services, utilities, insurance companies and logistics firms.

The Environment Agency is planning to use it to support activities such as issuing permits, flood-risk management and identifying companies’ green credentials.

Other customers include National Grid, Norwich Union, Highways Agency, Welsh Assembly Government, Yorkshire Water Services, Metropolitan Police, Bristol City Council and Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation.

Address Layer 2 includes more than 27 million postal addresses and 1.5 million non-addressable properties. Around 300 Ordnance Survey field surveyors across the country constantly update the information. This work is bolstered by updates from Royal Mail and others, resulting in a publication cycle that averages 1.3 million changes every six weeks.

The richness of data means there is virtually zero duplication in the identification and referencing not only of Britain’s postal addresses but also multi-occupancy addresses (MOWPAs) and non-addressable properties.

The non-addressables, or OWPAs (objects without postal addresses), in Address Layer 2 include utilities plant, community halls, churches and public conveniences. They all contain a geographic address that includes the nearest road name and locality, as well as up to four classifications or descriptions to support searching – vital for critical activities such as emergency response.

Managers at Hampshire Fire and Rescue trialled the data for three months and have now purchased it to use in their community fire risk information system. Fire Safety Manager John Hinton says: “The OWPA and MOWPA classifications and the postal addresses together serve as an excellent base for our requirements to identify buildings for fire-risk-reduction activities.”

In the utilities sector, Thames Water, Bristol Water and Wessex Water have all used Address Layer 2 to verify the locations of thousands of properties that receive their services but for which they had insufficient addressing data.

Another water company enjoying the benefits is Southern Water. Pete Brown, the company’s IT Business Programme Manager, says: “The additional data in Address Layer 2, particularly the details of multiple residences and properties without postal addresses, are of real benefit to us and are allowing us to identify more accurately all of the buildings receiving our services.”

National Grid used Address Layer 2 to help match the spatial coordinates of meter point addresses in the West Midlands with data from its own demand system, including the locations of network pipes and node numbers. “Using the Ordnance Survey Address Layer 2 data resulted in a cost of less than 5% of what this would have cost as a manual man-hours process,” says Dave Goldsmith, Distribution Customer Support Specialist at National Grid.

Increasingly, Ordnance Surveys partners are incorporating Address Layer 2 in their own products and services. They include GB Group, Cadcorp, ESRI, Dotted Eyes, eMapSite, GroundSure and Mapflow.

Address Layer 2 can also link with data from other organisations and the topographic and road network information contained in the other layers of the OS MasterMap product suite. This enables easier integration, viewing and analysis.

Each object in Address Layer 2 is identified by its TOID – Ordnance Survey’s unique identifier. This is linked to national address data from Royal Mail and the Valuation Office Agency. The Royal Mail data includes the Postal Address File (PAF) and a multiple residency file. Identifiers from all three organisations are included in a free cross-reference table available separately from Address Layer 2. Ordnance Survey aims to connect to more public-sector datasets in the future in this way.

“The past two years have seen an excellent customer response to OS MasterMap Address Layer 2,” says Vanessa Lawrence CB, Ordnance Survey’s Director General and Chief Executive. “We are keen that it supports data association, information exchange and analysis applications. That is why we provide the TOIDs and the cross-reference table free.”

Jennie Longden, Head of Address Management at Royal Mail, says: “I am delighted that Address Layer 2 has been a success. We look forward to continuing to supply PAF and the multi-residence data to Ordnance Survey in the future.”

Giving users total flexibility, Address Layer 2 data is also available in a form that complies with the latest BS 7666 standard. This defines how location information can be supplied for IT systems so that it can be shared more easily across and among organisations.

Later this year Ordnance Survey will be launching OS MasterMap Prebuild Address Layer, which will contain addresses of planned new buildings. Combined with Address Layer 2, the data will give customers access to the complete address lifecycle for the first time.

For more information on OS MasterMap Address Layer 2, visit

Notes to editors

Cadcorp is a registered trademark of Computer Aided Development Corporation Ltd. Dotted Eyes is a registered trademark of Dotted Eyes Ltd. Environment Agency is a registered trademark of The Environment Agency. ESRI is a registered trademark of Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc. GroundSure is a registered trademark of GroundSure Ltd. Mapflow is a registered trademark of Irish regional Information Systems Ltd. T/A Mapflow. National Grid is a registered trademark of NGrid Intellectual Property Ltd. Norwich Union is a registered trademark of Aviva plc. PAF and Royal Mail are registered trademarks of Royal Mail Group plc.


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