Collaborating to Improve B.C. Civic Address Data

Posted by Jesikah Post on behalf of the DataBC Team.


What is this about?

Over the past three years, DataBC has been working closely with local governments, the Integrated Cadastral Information Society (ICI Society) and partner ministries to improve both the quality and availability of civic address data.  In 2014 and 2015, DataBC presented at eight, one day ICI Society member conferences held throughout the province, highlighting the potential innovation made available by sharing high quality address data under an open license.   DataBC also participated in a working group that focused on both the standardization and improvement of address data quality.  Most recently, DataBC has participated in a series of webinars aimed at educating local governments on how DataBC tools can help improve their civic address information.


Challenges & Benefits

Addresses can have a number of quality issues that make them difficult to use.  For example, invalid street names, non-standard abbreviations for street type, misspellings, and incorrect jurisdictional names or street directions are common data problem. The B.C. Physical Address Geocoder, a tool provided by DataBC, aims to solve that problem. The Geocoder works by receiving an input address and outputting its geographic location, a standardized format of the address and useful information about the address data quality – all of which are based on a set of rules and reliable reference data.

DataBC has been encouraging local governments to use the feedback generated by the Geocoder to improve their address information.  This involves processing a city’s address list in the Geocoder and analyzing the quality issues reported to determine cause and resolution.  In early 2016, DataBC worked with the ICI Society to help streamline this workflow by incorporating the Geocoder into the Society’s data quality check process that shares quality reports with data suppliers.

High quality address data is beneficial to everyone.  Most local governments in BC share their address lists with members of the ICI Society and this means the information is readily accessible to the Province as well as major utilities and some First Nations.  Also, many jurisdictions distribute their address lists directly on their websites under an open license which helps to foster the creation of innovative by-products.  Address information is critical to improving the Province’s road network dataset , 911 emergency response, utilities planning, and a variety of other uses that rely on locating civic addresses.

DataBC looks forward to continued collaboration on address data improvements working with local governments, partner ministries and the ICI Society.




Integrated Cadastral Information Society

ICI Society newsletter (April 12, 2016)

ICI Society newsletter (April 4, 2016)

DataBC Blog (April 2016)

DataBC Blog (November 2015)

BC Physical Address Geocoder

2 responses to “Collaborating to Improve B.C. Civic Address Data

  1. Frank

    I first started working with addresses as a new member of the City of Calgary’s Operations Research group back in 1977. It was a hard job then, and by your account, it still is. Congratulations on your progress toward our common goal of having a geocode that is both simple to use and accurate,

    1. Dawson,

      Thanks for your positive feedback!

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