Archive for Postal Address

An energetic promotion of ecommerce on a regional scale and much to be encouraged.  But it’s a missed opportunity to use this as a platform to mobilize business leaders to demand that governments bring their populations “online” by installing current and accurate addressing systems.   If you don’t have an address, you don’t exist. And you can’t spend, or earn, much money.  An address for everyone.

Comments (0)

Posted by: | Comments (1)

Botswana is totally land-locked and sandwiched between South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe.  Not a terribly rough neighborhood, but again, aside from SA, not dramatically developed.  The Post has accepted the challenge of beginning the process of providing the citizenry addresses by developing a traditional block and lot and street name and number system.  Their first goal, 6000 homes in an urban area in one year, is not very dramatic, and bodes ill for efficient installation in a short time.  Were a geo-code system to be selected, it’s likely the job would be done much more quickly.  That is what we at GADA are advocating for at the Universal Postal Union.  Had we an opportunity, we would have made the same pitch for Botswana in order to save them money and time.

On the other hand, they are also planning to give the address all  the other jobs it traditionally has, which covers many service areas of government and utilities, some of which are challenging to accomodate with geocode systems, self-evident localization possible with consecutive numbers being one of them.   But even that can be accomodated with mobile phones and maps.  We will continue to advocate for faster deployment of geocode addresses so countries can reap the fruits of location identity as soon as possible. Sure, you get lots of other capability with consecutive numbering and street names, but the price in installation, and lost time, is too high.

Nevertheless, we salute the Botswana Post for launching this resource intense project and wish them well with it.


A Brief History of Open Addresses | Jeni Tennison.

Open Addresses UK is advocating for “the crowd” to crowdsource all addresses and create a free alternative to the PAF.  Very worthwhile reading this well-written piece for the fascinating bits of history scattered throughout.  Boat docks and bridges in the UK have addresses!  I don’t know why that should surprise me, but it does, and it’s meaningful. Henry I established the first postal system in the 12th century.  In its first 25 years it carried 4500 letters.  Literacy being what it was in the era, the number is understandable.  I wonder how big the postal workers’ union was…..

Abidjan uni to house post office of the future UPU – Universal Postal Union – WorldNews.

We know that the Cote d’Ivoire has had a 15-year stretch of civil discord and terrible war.  That the UPU is holding this major conference in the capitol appears to us to be an expression of hope by the national members of the UPU that the terror is behind the people of the country and progress will be possible.

Certainly, building a modern postal facility in the University is a lovely gesture and an opportunity to begin the construction of a modern postal system, which the country dearly needs.

Here at the Global Address Data Association, we hope that the project will contain an initiative to begin the work of developing a national street addressing project.  In fact, with but a little imagination, it would be possible to make such a project into an opportunity to experiment with some of the new digital tools that are available for location identification and the inexpensive computing capabilities needed to construct a database.

And certainly all those college students could be usefully employed on week-ends in putting up street names and numbers!  All that is needed is the vision!  Perhaps the Director General of the UPU might discuss the idea with Cote d’Ivoire’s leadership.

Congresswoman Bordallo Calls on Postmaster General to Correct Problems With Its New Address Recognition System on Guam.

It is of endless wonder and fascination to us here at GADA that it would require a Congresswoman to have to write to the Postmaster General in order to try to get the USPS to listen to its customers.  The USPS computerizes mail sorting, but the addressing used in the locality for years is not “standard USPS” as dictated by its address system.  And apparently the USPS didn’t know there would be problems, even after all those years of letter carriers hand-sorting mail.

We’re not opposed to the mechanization of sorting, or of extending standardized address and the obligation to use them to the public. There is always something lost when we standardize in the interests of the wider public good, which this would be.

BUT, the USPS could be significantly more sensitive and efficient about getting this done. Letter from the Congressional rep, indeed.

MPs criticise inclusion of postal data in mail sell-off – Telegraph.

The message we’ve been broadcasting is being absorbed.  The UK Parliament’s important Commons Public Administration Committee has criticized including the postcode address file in the assets of Royal Mail when it was made a public corporation. Its Chairman is quoted as saying, “Public access to pubic-sector data must never be sold or given away again.”

The Committee report notes, “The PAF should have been retained as a public data set, as a national asset, available free to all, for the benefit of the public and for the widest benefit of the UK economy.”

The Committee report asserts that the file was included in the sale to boost the price at which the stock was sold.  This to us is important market recognition of the value of the address.  

At last, someone is listening!


The Tanzanian Post and other government agencies’ reactions to the fact that thousands of people live in “unofficial settlements” are typical of embedded self-interested government systems.  Supposedly the post codes will be allocated to all residences, but not “unofficial settlements”.  Even the Director of Postal Affairs, who is responsible for the post code roll-out, says they will ignore those living in illegal/informal settlements.  Quite frankly, the reason is chilling: people living in prohibited areas will be denied the post codes because they are supposed to vacate the areas as they are prone to floods.

These are people with nowhere else to go. And from our experience at the Universal Postal Union, if you ask a post where it delivers to fulfill its universal service obligation, they will say, “Wherever the addressee is.”   No exceptions.  It is not for the post to determine if a building is illegal, or “prone to flooding”.  Its job is to deliver, not make land use judgments.  If the post has been given such authority, then this is deeply saddening. The post should not be the enforcer of land use laws.

But, sad and disappointed as this would make us,  let us give Director Makuburi the benefit of the doubt and assume that legislation in effect regarding the post’s ability to allocate postal codes, or to deliver, is limited by duly-adopted laws.  In fact she said during the implementation a number of challenges raised including poor city planning, lack of cooperation from the residents and people residing in hazardous areas who thought the government wanted to evict them. And, indeed, the government does want to evict these people.  

This points to a deeper problem.  When the post participates in alienating customers and potential customers, and enforcing land use laws which alienate citizens, it loses its credibility and reputation as a trustworthy institution.  It’s just another cog in the machine that the “have’s” employ to keep down the “have-nots”.  Of course these people did not co-operate with government officials; the officials weren’t approaching them to help them, but to shuffle them out of the only shelter they had been able to find.

Moreover, regarding those laws, this reminds us of other  ill-considered or out-of-date laws that anchor a society in the 19th century, like requiring schoolchildren to wear expensive school uniforms, which makes the local shop-keeper rich and deprives the poorest of an education.  Or requiring the presentation of a birth certificate for a child in order to register for school.  Since the wealth of a country depends on the education of successive generations of the young, why would a government intentionally create exclusionary barriers to development? Since a nation’s liberties and wealth depend on an informed and participative citizenry, why would it intentionally exclude them from a system it knows needs them involved?  “Because we’ve always done it that way.” 

The government’s failure to give these people post codes and addresses is, in our view, a violation of their human rights.  They have a right to an address, even if their dwelling is unauthorized.  They have a right to receive the benefits of government, and an address is critical to assure this benefit. An address is not a “reward”.  In today’s world, an address is as fundamental to one’s existence as their name.  To deny one an address is to announce they are not entitled to participate fully in the society. In fact, this article closes with the Minister for Education, Science and Technology reciting a very comprehensive list of the myriad uses to which the address is put to deliver benefits to citizens.  Make it happen, Mr. Minister.  Your comments show you understand.  If you can’t fit them into your address system, maybe you can give them geocode addresses, as is happening in the slums of Kolkata thanks to GoCode of Ireland.


George McKinney: Address changes mishandled  – Op-Ed Commentaries – The Charleston Gazette – West Virginia News and Sports –.

Here is one of the worst “developed country address mishaps” we have ever encountered.  The emergency services in a town in West Virginia took it upon itself to “change the addresses of homes and businesses” in the area covered by the emergency services.

It would appear that no other agencies were consulted, not even the Postal Service, which simply received notice of the change.  The author sets out the enormous consequences of this change: bad credit reports, panicky citizens being denied credit, the USPS not knowing what to do with mail, misdelivered mail, costs in money, time, and aggravation in changing one’s address with credit cards, Department of Motor Vehicles, banks, IRS, utilities, phone company, etc., etc.   The creation of opportunities for identity theft in this scenario was all too real.

Too much of modern life, including critically one’s personal and legal identity, is too dependent on the residential or business address for any one user of the address to decide to change it, let alone to do it for a large community.   No doubt the intention was noble – get to emergency locations more quickly.  But the solution chosen had horrific and totally foreseeable consequences.

Isn’t it time for there to be an “owner of the address system” identified who can be the “go to authority” when a change as important as this is proposed?   Or, perhaps in areas such as this, another locality-identification is necessary. Perhaps the Addy?  See, or another geolocator such as GoCode or NacGeo.  Or a simple “emergency services” number could be prominently displayed in front of each affected residence and a database of these be computerized and referred to by emergency services on receipt of a call. Home telephones could be programmed to recite it automatically when a 911 call is made from a phone within the locality.  There are a myriad of solutions available beyond tinkering with the already over-burdened postal address.

New postcode system to roll out across Ireland in 2015.

In a conclusion to perhaps the longest running drama in the address field,  Ireland will finally acquire a postcode system.  Here at GADA we can also proudly announce that our member GoCode, headed by Alex Pigot, played a critical role in the project.  Capita has acknowledged that Alex’s “vast knowledge of postal, addressing and postcode systems worldwide and how such systems are implemented was highly valuable to us in preparing what was acknowledged by the Irish government as an outstanding proposal document.”

Comments (1) – Press release – Postcode Anywhere – Postcode Anywhere Achieves Australia Post Certification.

Australia Post has a certification process for address-related software, a very useful validation for address-related software and systems.  Congratulations to Postcode Anywhere in obtaining that recognition.  Australians have long been an eager market for foreign merchants, so the use of this or other recognized systems will benefit everyone in the postal chain: customer, merchant and delivery company.  Would that other posts with eager overseas shopper customers had such certification systems, and address databases.  With the growth of ecommerce and the multiplication of parcels, the address is even more valuable than it was, and the cost to posts and customers greater, than ever before.  GADA has been working on this for some time. Please consider our work by joining our membership!




Where Are You From?

Where are the Visitors’ Servers? Our Global Visitors’ IP Addresses