Posts tagged 'Postcodes'

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Sunday, March 3, 2024

I've imported the latest postcode data from the ONS to the website. I had some issues with parishes, the postcodes reference new parish codes but the parish name lookups still use the old codes, so I've had to manually fix up the data, which I may well have messed up. If you notice any issues with parishes or anywhere else in the postcode data, let me know

Saturday, January 20, 2024

I've updated the site to include details of another level of administrative area, county electoral divisions. For example - Cambridgeshire postcodes

You can grab the data as CSV, KML, GeoJSON and Shape files. Let me know if you hit any problems.

In unrelated news, I've adjusted the blog subscription so you can subscribe just for blog posts about website updates or for all updates, since I occasionally rant about random subjects that most subscribers probably aren't interested in. If you've signed up already, you will only receive notifications about website updates. If you want to sign up for everything, currently you'll need to unsubscribe and sign up again. If you haven't signed up and would like to, head over to the sign-up page

Saturday, December 2, 2023

I've uploaded the latest ONS postcode data. There is an issue with ITL codes in the Northamptonshire area which I can't currently resolve but I will keep an eye out for updated data from the ONS. If you see any other problems, let me know

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

I was complaining recently about the poor state of UPRN data. But it turns out I was mostly wrong and the problem was my poor research abilities (or things have changed for the better recently). A Disqus conversation led me to this page which provides the links between different identifiers.

These are all CSV files that can be imported into your favourite database. To get the street name of a UPRN, we need to download the UPRN -> USRN links file. Once we've got the USRN, we need to download the Road TOID -> USRN links file. Once we've got the TOID, we can link to the street name using the OS Open Names download (it's probably also possible to do this using the OS Open Roads download but that's a bit more difficult to process).

We're still not able to construct an open version of PAF but we are slowly creeping closer towards that. 

So I've pulled all that data into this site and started displaying it in a couple of places (like here and here) but I'm keen to hear suggestions for other potential uses for this data e.g. all the roads in a postcode area/district/sector, all the postcodes for a road. 

One thing to note. The OS provides a UPRN dataset and the ONS also provides a UPRN dataset. The OS version doesn't include postcodes but the ONS version does so is likely to be somewhat more useful.

Update - I'm not convinced the data provided in the linked identifiers is completely accurate. I noticed some strange results for some roads, so tried re-importing using the RoadLink TOID rather than the USRN (there's a useful diagram in this document that shows how everything links together). That gave better results but still not entirely accurate, this postcode shows two properties on the wrong street. I guess it's better than nothing but you're probably still better off purchasing PAF currently

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

  [ "ref:GB:uprn"]

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?

Sunday, August 27, 2023

I've uploaded the latest UK postcode data to the website. Sanity checks suggest everything is OK, but let me know if something looks wrong

Sunday, June 11, 2023

I've uploaded the latest ONS postcode data to the website. There have been quite a few changes in administrative areas which caused a few issues, but hopefully everything is fixed up correctly, let me know if you see any problems

Friday, June 2, 2023

Earlier this week I received an email about the map of the S65 1YT postcode. I was showing the location as Dinnington but apparently the postcode was actually located in Rotherham. I get these kind of emails fairly regularly and generally the problem is caused by a new postcode having duff data due to some kind of cock-up when it was created. But this postcode had been around since 1995, so something else was wrong here.

The first port of call was the Royal Mail's Postcode Finder. Searching for the postcode there brought up an address of the Halifax in Rotherham but looking at the map showed the location in Dinnington. Doing the same on Google Maps brought up Dinnington. Going into Street View, the Dinnington address was a residential street, there was definitely no Halifax there (unless they've started operating out of someone's house). The street names were the same so at this point I'm fairly convinced there's a problem with the source data and the address is correct but the location was wrong. Looking at other postcodes in S65 made me even more convinced the location is wrong, this one postcode sits miles away from other S65 postcodes.

So I fixed the location on my website. Unfortunately this doesn't fix a lot of the related data for the postcode and will also get wiped out when I upload the next version of the ONS Postcode Directory (which should have been released in May)

Next I decided to report the problem to Royal Mail. When I received a response, I was a bit surprised to read "I’m sorry, we don’t plot properties and postcodes on any maps" and "The map embedded into the Royal Mail website is a third party controlled service and we do not have any control or contact information I’m afraid". They literally plot postcodes on maps on their Postcode Finder page. The second point is accurate, if a little bewildering. The maps are provided by woosmaps and after a bit of searching I discovered their postcode lookups are provided by postcodeanywhere, which seems to be part of Loqate. It's a bit odd that the Royal Mail, provider of postcode data in the UK, are outsourcing their postcode lookup needs to a company who will be sourcing their data from the Royal Mail and then blaming any problems on the anonymous third party. 

I'm awaiting a response to my follow up questions. It would be nice to get the location for this postcode fixed 28 years after it was introduced

Update - I received another response from the Royal Mail, mostly repeating what they had already said, but adding

"The Postcode S65 1YT was made live on the database in February 2023 and once an address is made live on PAF the address can be seen on our postcodes on-line service at within 24-48 hours.  However, that information can take several months to filter through to end users of Postcode Address File data.  This will happen as external companies update their own databases and mapping systems with the latest Address Management Products over which we have no jurisdiction."

They seem to have completely missed the point that what is on the Royal Mail website is exactly what I'm seeing on my website. I don't have a lot going on so maybe I'll follow up and see if I get a more sensible response.


Tuesday, May 23, 2023

I've added post towns to postcode districts. The data isn't perfect since postcode districts may have multiple post towns and I'm unable to get the data at the individual postcode level as it's not freely available. If you do need the post town for individual postcodes, you'll need to purchase the PAF dataset from one of the Royal Mail's resellers

Posts on the old blog tagged 'Postcodes'