Crowdsourcing Addresses

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A new crowdsourcing effort is being promoted to collect and freely provide geolocated addresses.  http://openaddresses.org/ is project that was launched in 2007 in Switzerland, headed by the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW). In 2009, a group of people and companies created a global directory of addresses and have developed a new website. Currently more than 5 million addresses are available and data for countries like Denmark or cantons as Solothurn (Switzerland) are fully acquired.

The data collection effort has a simple web mapping interface for users to add address locations.   The site is still being developed, downloading and uploading datasets is being funneled through an email address at the moment.  The search capabilities uses a name lookup  so it’s just restricted to place names (cities, countries) and there doesn’t seem to be a way to search based on an address.  Also, the name lookup is a bit confusing.  For example, looking up Larchmont  provided a listing of seven possibilities with no additional information other than “populated place – United States”.  Listing the state as a minimum would be helpful.

So how does the OpenAddress team want you to help?

First by entering addresses (think about your home, your neighbors’, your workplace, parents and friends)! Or even better, by providing addresses or other background data which will help the community to enter addresses, such as aerial photographs, building plans etc …

Actually contributing to the project is fairly simply.  Simply click on a location on the map, fill out the form that pops up and hit the “create” button.

The OpenAddress team has a host of background information and other links to help you get started.

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