At an informal workshop of the OSLO project on March 7 2013, interoperability experts from bpost, V-ICT-OR, the University of Ghent, and the ISA programme gathered to compare international address standards and apply them to the context of local governments.
The Flemish OSLO project (Open Standards for Local Administrations) is a public-private partnership funded by Flemish ICT service providers and public administrations. Started in February 2012, the project facilitates a working group with ICT experts from local and regional public administrations and ICT service providers to build a consensus on standards for information exchange. To finetune its specification on addresses, the OSLO project organised an informal workshop with interoperability experts from bpost, V-ICT-OR, the University of Ghent, and the ISA programme to review existing standards.
In Belgium, local governments manage a large part of an address, explains Pascal Desmarts of bpost. Local governments decide on the street names, and building numbers. In practice, we see that municipalities are applying different semantics. For example, they.may have historically allowed duplicate street names or applied different – at times complex – numbering schemes for apartments and mailboxes. Postal address included in base registers such as the national Civil Register or the Flemish CRAB address register are therefore at times ambiguous and of poor quality. In such cases, bpost approaches local governments individually and gives them some guidelines to remove ambiguity, for example by doing away with duplicate street names. In some aspects, the Base Registers themselves could also be improved to accommodate address complexity in the field. At the meeting, Pascal presented 5 cases of “complex address numbering”. According to Pascal, standards for exchanging information about addresses should be able to deal with these real-life cases of complex address numbering.
At the informal workshop the working group created a mapping table to compare the OSLO standard with the CRAB (Flemish Authentic Source for address data), the INSPIRE data specifications on Addresses, and the Belgian template in the UPU S42 standard. The mappings will be an integral part of the OSLO specifications, which will be released by June 2013.
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Challenging address stanards with real-life cases of complex address numbering in Belgium - from left to right: Xavier Querriau (bpost), Pascal Desmarets (bpost), Raf Buyle (V-ICT-OR), Stijn Goedertier (contractor ISA Programme), and Laurens De Vocht (University of Ghent)