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16. One of the most remarkable examples of how much new value can reside inside what is essentially old information is the seemingly mundane field of postcodes. Originally, postcodes were allocated and recorded simply to help the Post Office deliver letters and parcels. These days the database describing which postcodes are to be found where in the UK underpins countless websites, from that of National Statistics to those of pizza-delivery companies. Every day new uses are found, generating extra value at no additional cost to the public sector.

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The report fails to note that the postcode database is owned by Royal Mail, who charge a lot of money for access to it. It's not available to individuals or non-profit groups without deep pockets. This is in sharp contrast to the US, where the equivalent zipcode information is freely available and widely used.

Posted by Paul Battley on 2007-06-08 17:43:59.
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Post code information needs to be free, in the same way as you're suggesting the Ordnance Survey should push forward with Open Space. Similarly, political boundaries, e.g. what house numbers in what streets vote towards which seats, should also be freed by the Government.

Posted by Ralph Corderoy on 2007-06-14 19:46:05.
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