Toward a Universal Address System – The Challenges


Last week at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC, the Envelope Manufacturers Association held a truly unprecedented and seminal event. Three inventors of geocode systems presented their systems for the audience to compare and contrast: Richard Abas of Geotude, Malaysia; Dr. Xinhang Shen of NACGeo, Toronto , Canada, and Alex Pigot of GoCode, Ireland. These are distinctive systems with individual strengths and shortcomings. The complexity of such a comparison is beyond the scope of this blog and anyone interested will be able to download their presentations from www.ema.org in the very near future.

The Executive Director spoke on the subject heading this blog entry. To download an Adobe print of the slides with our speech in notes view: Toward a Universal Address System - The Challenges (942)

For present purposes, suffice it to say that EMA did the industry an enormous favor in advancing awareness of the flexibility and power of these geolocation services.

In addition, Mohammad Adra of the Office of Inspector General of the USPS spoke on breaching the digital divide, while Mr. Gary Clayton of Privacy Compliance Group discussed the privacy implications of address data collection and transfer. We have written before about this issue being an obstacle to address hygiene, but we feel there is an answer in using the UPU as a trusted intermediary confirmation agent – maybe you don’t get a new address, but you might be able to learn that the address is no longer valid for a particular individual.

GADA was represented at the conference by the Executive Director, Charles Prescott, who presented an address at lunchtime bearing the same title as this blog entry. The challenges to having one universal address system at nearly any level, country, county, State, city, postcode or street are numerous: tradition and habit chief among them. In any event, having addresses AT ALL is the world’s major issue. Something approaching 60% of the world’s population lacks an address, and thus a legal identity. But there is good news from the UPU, World Bank, and many countries such as South Africa, Saudi Arabia, China, Costa Rica, and India. We also asked whether the Post was prima facie where responsibility for the address system belongs, although the logical of the delegation is obvious.  In Denmark another government department is responsible for it, and the data is licensed for free to legitimate businesses.  In any event, this particular question is more relevant to other countries where posts have demonstrated inability to muster the political will to get an address system built.  In the US we get good value for the USPS’s expenditures on the system, and they make a nice profit with it.  Toward a Universal Address System - The Challenges (942)


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