In praise of OS


It seems a while since OS got a “big up” from me, not because I am in an anti OS phase just because there hasn’t been much to say about our NMA recently except some slightly sceptical comment.

Aiming at the Address Management Unit, thanks to http://www.flickr.com/photos/colinwu/

My friend Bob Barr is a tireless campaigner to resolve the remaining bits of the Address Wars and he now has the Royal Mail Address Management Unit in his sights, good thing he is not a member of the Tea Party or some similar organisation or the phrase “in his sights” might have some uncomfortable connotations.

He copied me in on a mail which I thought was worth sharing:

Royal Mail AMU costs its customers £25 million per annum and maintains a single file of 27m postal addresses.

OS costs its customers £120 million per annum, maps billions of objects, has built and maintains the largest geospatial database in the world has dozens of products and an enormous range of licences and licensees.

Do you think these two figures stack up, or is one offering appalling value for its monopoly rent?

I know that he has perhaps simplified matters but it seems to me that there is some sense in his argument. What do you think?

If government is considering an effort to privatise/offload Royal Mail in this parliament, it might be an opportune moment to try and get the Postcode Address File released into the public domain as part of the process, after all it is only a rounding error in the overall finances of RM.

Oh yes, in case you were wondering about the title of this post – one might be inclined to agree that my favourite NMA does seem to be offering somewhat better value for money to the taxpayer for the national map than the people who still deliver the wrong letters repeatedly to our house, even though they are correctly addressed. Oops, I thought that was why RM are tasked with maintaining and licensing PAF?


2 thoughts on “In praise of OS

  • Christopher Osborne

    I have always taken issue with the £20m maintenance cost that is repeatedly cited with the PAF. Even if they do make 1,000 address changes everyday, that still works out as £55 per address change in the DB which sounds like fantasy to me.

    • steven Post author

      Good observation Christopher.
      I wonder if there is anyone at RM AMU who would like to comment?

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