Mail carriers in the UK are taking part in a new mapping project to record precise co-ordinates for the front door of home and business addresses.
Royal Mail said today it started a pilot project in East Anglia on Monday in which postmen and women will use special satellite receivers to record GPS longitude, latitude and altitude data for every property in the region.
The postal operator says if the pilot goes well, it could roll out the project across the UK later in the year, ultimately producing a database of location data for use by individuals and businesses beyond the current post code system – including for use by smartphone applications and satellite navigation systems used by motorists.
As well as meeting the demand from consumers and businesses for more accurate location, Royal Mail said the “Pinpoint” project could improve the accuracy of information for emergency services.
As mail volumes decline, the project could form a “trusted service” providing a new revenue stream for Royal Mail, it said.
Keith Jones, head of data strategy at Royal Mail, who is leading the project, said many everyday activities now involve using information based on the location of an address.
“Mapping the co-ordinates which are accurate to the front door of addresses across the UK will help improve the accuracy of this information,” he said.
“Royal Mail has a long history of providing location-based information used by the emergency services, government departments, local authorities and tens of thousands of businesses.”
Royal Mail said it was writing to every address in East Anglia to let people know about the initiative, while mail carriers are being given cards explaining the project, to be given to customers who ask about it. A dedicated webpage has also been produced offering more details of the programme.
The postal operator is stressing that during the project no personal or confidential information is to be captured – with no video or photographic information collected, and no details about residents – and said there would be no impact on the postal service as the address co-ordinates are recorded.
It said mail carriers are being given “extensive” training to take part in the project, which has the full support of the Communication Workers Union.
Source: Post&Parcel/Royal Mail