Oct
08

GoCode and Support for the Association

By

We are not inclined to promote advertising on the Association website, but Mr. Pigot has an interesting post code idea, which might be a proper solution for some posts, or other applications, and his letter is biographical.  In any event, he supports our initiative, and it’s good to let the world know that we are on the right track.  

GOOD NEWS FROM IRELAND FOR THE WORLD

 GO CODES – AN EXCITING LOCATION CODE DEVELOPMENT

 ORIGINATING IN IRELAND BUT WITH INTERNATIONAL IMPLICATIONS

 Alex, the Managing Director of the TICo Group, a print and mail business in Dublin, Ireland, has established a new company called GO Code which has developed a  location/postal code. Go Code is capable of being applied anywhere in the world. Below is an article by Alex recalling how he developed his own idea and what he is doing to turn this idea into a working 21st century postcode for Ireland and for developing countries. Alex also welcomes Charles Prescott’s proposal for a common project on postal data.

 A boy asks a question!

 Charles Prescott’s stimulating article in the July edition of the Prescott Report on a Proposal for a Common Project on Postal Data caused me to reflect on a journey which I began in boyhood and which is not yet finished. Let me explain.

 Perhaps I was born to be in the postal business because when I was kid, living in a pleasant South Dublin suburb, I was aware that our house and those of our neighbours had numbers, such as 24 Arcadia Drive. But I also knew that people living outside of cities and towns in Ireland dispensed with numbers and had exotic addresses, such as Hazel View, Knocknagoshel. “Why have they no number Dad?” I’d say “Because they live in the country son” my father would reply.

 I was a persistent kid and I could spot an inadequate answer when I heard it. I wasn’t satisfied. But I had other things to do, like growing up, passing exams, playing rugby and of course, starting in business……in the postal business as it happens. And guess what: the question I used to ask Dad hadn’t gone away. But now I was in a position to do something about it!!

 How I got started on developing Go Codes 

 In his recent article on a common project for postal data, Charles wrote:-

 Direct marketers have frequently remarked on[a] problem. When they complain of the difficulty of approaching a market, it is often due to the inadequacy of the address system in a country.

 I was that direct marketing soldier and I still am to some extent. But I now know the solution to my problem.

 I wish I could say that I woke up one morning with a brilliant idea, already developed, to bring Go Coding to a waiting world! But it has been a long hard 10 year slog to develop Go Codes and I can see another tough road ahead of me to get Go Codes up and running in as many countries as possible.

  I had been looking around for ideas to help me develop a quick and cheap solution to address problems in Ireland, where 40% of addresses are non unique (i.e. the only difference between the addresses of two houses is the name of the occupant). The non-uniqueness problem is compounded by the fact that Ireland does not have a postcode. In 2003, while writing a paper I produced for the Irish postal regulator, my research led me to conclude that a simpler, more memorable and more functional  GPS based code for single territories could be molded from other global models which had already been created.  In 2005, I was invited to serve on a Government Committee to examine the case for the introduction of an Irish postcode and the further independent research I did to enable me take a full part in this committee led me to develop finally  my own location/postcode system in late 2006.

 The Irish Government is now slowly moving towards a competitive tender process to introduce postcodes and while I am keeping in touch with that process, I decided to press ahead anyway and develop Go Code with my team here in Dublin.

 What are Go Codes and what can they do?

 Go Codes leave traditional postcode systems that were introduced in the 1960’s and 1970’s looking very much past their sell by date.

 Go Code’s key characteristics are:

 a seven character alphanumeric code, which in Ireland identifies every 21 square metre area and can easily be applied to all other countries. (Unlike a traditional postcode GO Code does not JUST identify addresses.)

 can be used by anyone with a PC, mobile device, or satellite navigation device

 identifies every location  to an accuracy of approximately 4 x 5 metres and has already been used to build a data base of 2 million addresses in Ireland

 does not need as large an investment as a traditional 20th Century postcode;

 enables every organisation and every citizen to locate their Go Code on the Go Code website – www.gocode.ie

 and enables a location to be communicated easily (by SMS, weblink, verbally and in writing)

 The first thing that strikes one about Go Codes is that they are not just about existing addresses. The position of every physical object can be Go Coded. For example Go Code can be used as a unique identifier for every single street light, manhole cover, post box, and anything else that has a permanent, or temporary, fixed location on the planet.

 For parts of the  world where  human settlements are not centrally planned (shanty towns, tribal villages, refugee camps)  and with little or no address structures in place, one simply “drops” the Go Code grid on the country and every dwelling automatically gets its own unique 7 digit address (e.g. L6G56LP, Ireland). It really is remarkably simple and very importantly, it is cheap to implement.

 And while one can of course establish data bases using Go Codes, they exist independently of such data bases. So, alone and injured on the side of the mountain in the middle of nowhere, an accident victim can easily text the Go Code of his or her exact location to the emergency services. Try doing that with a traditional postcode!

 Opportunities for spatial data analysis are limited only by the human imagination. Both public organisations and private business can use Go Codes to interpret spatial data with a degree of flexibility that has not existed up to now.

 For those wishing to learn more about this important new product, just click onto www.gocode.ie

 What next?

Well, together with my committed team in Dublin, I will continue to develop and market Go Code in Ireland and abroad. There are twelve of us involved on the project and we drive each other forward to achieve our goal of making Go Codes an everyday reality for as many people as possible.

 I believe the proposal for a Common Project on Postal Data, made by Charles Prescott is a very welcome development. The suggestion he makes to raise what is an international address problem to the international stage in full communication with the UPU and its extremely energetic Address Group” as Charles puts it, is just what the world needs now. In fact it’s long overdue.

Even though I have my hands full running the day to day business of a Company employing 50 people, not to mention constantly seeking out new opportunities, I make it my business to allot time to participating at international fora, especially the UPU. No man is an island and no business can afford to be an island. We learn from and teach each other by meeting and discussing. Count me in as a supporter of the Prescott initiative please.

Alex can be contacted at:

T8 Maple Avenue, Stillorgan Industrial Park, Blackrock, Co Dublin  L6G 56LP, Ireland
tel: +353-1-2959077 (GO Code: +353-1-2908300) fax: +353-1-2959079 mob: +353-87-2486665

e-mail: alex@tico-group.ie/alex.pigot@gocode.ie  web: www.tico-group.ie/www.gocode.ie

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