Postcodes are necessary in even small countries like Ireland because:
- In rural areas the country has poorly defined addresses - based on large townland areas, not streets.
- In urban areas street names are duplicated and house numbers are often illogical.
- It assists emergency services in locating callouts.
- It assists delivery companies apart from the post office to locate addresses.
- It assists individuals to easily remember and share their location data.
- It assists the geolocation conversion of address data for marketing, research, planning for service provision.
- It provides easy reference to catalog objects, infrastructure, and inventory by location.
The reason for geolocation postcodes:
- Postcodes can be geolocation codes, based on real geographic location, such as the OpenPostcode, or descriptive post-office style sorting codes matching topographical features, routes, streets, towns, areas, etc., as used in the UK. Such old-style descriptive codes are not recommended for use here by An Post. Areas and features change: descriptive postcodes soon become out of date following new roads, new bridges, new developments, etc.
- A postcode or geolocation code never intends to replace a complete address - it points to a specific location, enhancing and verifying an address.
- There is nothing a subjective sorting-office style postcode can do that a geolocation code can't do; moreover where a geolocation code excels is that it has a simple practical integration with every GPS enabled navigation device without a database; by pointing directly to a mappable place it can easily correct partial or incorrect addresses, even without database support; by definition, it never has to be "official" and needs no management or central database as it is calculated by formula, not by committee (presentation of an incorrect postcode is no more tragic than incorrect addresses or phone numbers and dealt with by normal verification procedures and crosschecks); it is easily converted into navigation or electoral or ward or street division by databases and mapping software.
- A geolocation code has many more uses than a sorting-office postcode - available for points-of-interest, simple communication of GPS coordinates, marking, intelligent tagging of location based inventory, sites, and services; sorting of any number of objects and places, e.g. postboxes, road bridges, junctions, level crossings, railway bridges, roadsigns, pylons, telephone poles, manholes, petrol stations, garda stations, etc.
- As a location code on every address it opens up strategic advantages to business and government in Ireland with straightforward statistical analysis and mapping by location, by area, by electoral division, etc. It opens up access to service planning, marketing, logistics planning - greater efficiencies based on an opensource useful postcode. A postcode which adds meaning - and is not just a random set of junk characters at the end of an address. A geolocation code is essential in Ireland, especially in rural areas, for emergency services - it is a precise, exact, short pointer to a position in an emergency. A geolocation code would provide the fairest most logical basis for any proposed house valuation database and for household charges and itemised water meters without duplication of effort.
- No old-style postcode has ever been demonstrated to do more than just pre-sort bulk mail without a database or local knowledge.
Opensource is better by design:
An open postcode means it has a publicly available, free to use, calculation.
We will own and trust our own address data. One which is not open ties us to a for-profit contract, ties the hands of developers and enterprise in using the code creatively for the future, and introduces a waste in the code itself for obfuscation. Most importantly, proprietary codes cannot work as geolocation codes except for licensed users. To every other user, programmer, business, organisation, or government department they are just meaningless id codes.
You cannot measure the distance between two closed-source postcodes. You cannot get the coordinates of a closed-source postcode. You cannot make your own maps of closed-source postcodes. You cannot calculate the average distance of clients, customers, etc., from your location. You cannot track sales, plan marketing, organise service provisions, etc., by geolocation data on a closed-source postcode. You cannot sort address data by location on a closed-source postcode. You cannot use statistical analysis on location data from a closed-source postcode.
An open code is not centrally managed - no more than addresses are, no more than mapping is. It doesn't have to be central or official (land registry will use ITM, planning authorities will use OSI maps, insurance will continue to discriminate on area; a variety of different SatNav and location tools online and on phones continue; but the open postcode will seamlessly integrate into our current world without change).
Opensource is better by design.