France launches free-of-charge national address database

France launches free-of-charge national address database

France has launched its first National Address Database, and is set to provide access to the new service at no charge. La Poste said the Base Adresse Nationale (BAN) provides geographic coordinates for each of the 25m addresses in France.

Businesses, local authorities and citizens can use the service to download address files free-of-charge, if they agree to help improve the database and keep it up-to-date.

Those who do not wish to contribute data to the database can make use of it through a commercial licence.

The service, available at adresse.data.gouv.fr, was formed out of the address databases of La Poste itself, enhanced with government data and contributions from citizens.

The database does not contain personally identifiable information, the state-owned company said.

However, it is expected to prove useful for businesses in improving the accuracy of their mailing lists, delivery operators will find it easier to work in rural areas, while public sector organisations like the emergency services will be able to use the database to improve their navigation.

La Poste said the BAN project was an “innovative” partnership between public authorities, agencies and the private sector, to provide a “key benchmark” for the economy, society and public services.

The national database comes as part of an overall effort to modernise government and local governmental approaches to open data policies, and maintain common property and information technology on an open source basis.

Thierry Mandon, the French secretary of state for government reform and simplification, said: “The provision of the BAN is an essential step for our digital transformation, and essential in the reform of the state. In principle, this quality open data will help develop more effective public services. In practical terms, it will see citizens working together with several agencies to keep the system up to date — it’s a new way to strengthen public services.”

“Establishing and sharing open data within the National Address Database means addresses become a common benefit in the service of all,” said Philippe Wahl, La Poste Group chief executive.

“La Poste intends to make the open address system a real driver of modernisation and performance in public service.”

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