Schools data and UPRN addresses

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Tuesday, October 3, 2023

I finally got round to importing schools data for England and Wales. I've not done a lot with it other than list nearby schools for individual postcodes. Let me know how you'd like to visualise or download the data.

One interesting thing I found in the schools data is the inclusion of the UPRN of the school. OK, it's interesting to me, possibly not to many other people. UPRNs uniquely identify addressable properties in Britain but although the data is freely available, it doesn't include the associated addresses. So it's kind of useless. I presume the reason we can't get the addresses is because the Royal Mail and its resellers make money from selling this data as PAF and if we could get a list of UPRNs and their addresses, PAF would be redundant. But this means no-one has much interest in UPRNs, because they don't serve any purpose for humans. 

We could try and build our own open source UPRN/address database, which is sort of happening at OSM. Run the query

node
  [ "ref:GB:uprn"]
  ["addr:street"]
  ({{bbox}});
out;

This currently doesn't return a huge amount of data and populating it is kind of difficult legally. I can find out my UPRN on Find My Address, but can I then use that to help populate OSM? Probably not, since the address data isn't open data. 

The government says we should be using UPRNs

"Systems, services and applications that store or publish data sets containing property and street information must use the UPRN and USRN identifiers."

But if everybody did this, all open property data would only include the UPRN and no address, which would make that data fairly unhelpful for humans. May I make the bold suggestion that it's time to make all this data open?

Tagged: Postcodes