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Addressing Australia’s Mapping Requirements

Addressing Australia’s Mapping Requirements

A government owned company will next month launch a world first data product — a national geo-coded address file, known as G-NAF, which is expected to find a huge market among both government and business buyers.

Due to be launched on March 2 by Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson, G-NAF will be a particular boon to agencies delivering Incident Response (Emergency Management and Counter Terrorism) and will also address the needs of other organisations heavily reliant on address for the timely and accurate deployment of services. The first authoritative address index for Australia, G-NAC should eliminate the confusion caused by address ambiguity, by specifying State, Suburb, Street, Number and coordinate reference or Geocode of every address in Australia.

G-NAF has been developed by PSMA Australia Limited (Public Sector Mapping Agencies Australia) — an unlisted public company wholly owned by the state, territory and Commonwealth Governments of Australia that draws on the public sector’s extensive, but discrete, geospatial data resources to coordinate the development of national datasets that deliver economic, environmental and social benefits to Australia. After a six month long development period the G-NAF Build Project was completed on time and on budget. It has just survived a rigorous quality assurance phase.

Established in 1992 to tend to the mapping needs of the Australian Bureau of Statistics, PSMA has already delivered multiple framework datasets for Australia including transport, topography, cadastre, points of interest and administrative boundaries and won recognition as a world leader in data integration.

And its says G-NAF will support the needs of business and government organisations alike whose function is critically reliant on accurate addressing, whether it be a courier delivering a parcel; an ambulance responding to a 000 call; a government agency conducting demographic and environmental analysis for accurate disbursement of drought relief; or agents responding to a security alert at a location of national significance.

“An address is often formless, its content transient,” says PSMA CEO Dan Paull. “It lacks the mathematical consistency required for rigorous matching and analysis and no reference source exists to confirm the validity or otherwise of an address. The very things that gave strength to an address as it evolved — its flexibility and its openness to interpretation — have led to enormous complexities now in data geocoding and address matching— core activities underpinning the information economy.

‘Addresses are ubiquitously used across Australia by both the public and private sector, and improving the quality of addressing will in turn improve the quality of all organisations that inherently use addresses to deliver their products and services.”

Paull says with cooperative stakeholders including the mapping agencies and land registries of each of the Commonwealth, state and territory governments; The Australian Bureau of Statistics; Australia Post; The Electoral Council of Australia and the Australian Electoral Commission; and Centrelink, the project is testimony to Australia’s capacity to collaborate and cooperate for a common goal of national significance.

He says PSMA’s role as a government owned company has been to deliver a data set that provides the best available index of all the addresses in Australia. The organisation has meanwhile established a wide range of relationships with organisations who know what is required in the marketplace in terms of the way addresses are used, and will be able to deliver the benefits via their own intellectual property, experience, software and innovation.

“PSMA has been in operation for 10 years, and during that time we’ve established quite a significant network of value-added resellers, and we’ve been working closely with all of our existing and some new value-added resellers to ensure that the time delay, or the lag between the launch date on the second of March and the availability of product will be as short as possible,” he says.

The index will be updated frequently with the intention to elevate the update program to continuous, and will be centrally located and use internet technologies to ensure broad and ubiquitous access.

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More about Australian Bureau of StatisticsAustralian Electoral CommissionAustralia PostCentrelinkFirst Data

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