Adding partial addresses using OS Open UPRN, ONS UPRN Directory and Land Registry INSPIRE polygons

Following on from a thread last year about UK House Numbers and some discussions in the Talk-GB mailing list …

I’ve been trying the following in East London:

Find buildings in OSM which appear to be reasonably well aligned. I’m using the Land Registry Index polygons spatial data (INSPIRE) to find buildings the areas of which are at least 85% within an INSPIRE polygon. Buildings which are generally non-addressable outbuildings like garages, sheds, greenhouses, etc. are excluded. Only buildings where there is a Land Registry record a a freehold property will be found, which excludes a lot of social housing and new builds.

Remove duplicates, as an INSPIRE polygon which contains multiple buildings may be a site like a school where the address tags might be better placed on the enclosing amenity=school polygon (or any other number of top level tags).

Find the building polygons which contain only one UPRN from OS Open UPRN. This excludes buildings subdivided into flats, as they will have multiple UPRNs and there is no appropriately licensed data source to

Link the UPRN to the postcode from the ONS UPRN Directory (ONSUD) or National Statistics UPRN Lookup (NSUL).

The resulting output, with addr:postcode, ref:GB:uprn and ref:GB:inspireid tags can be conflated using JOSM. The INSPIRE ID is undocumented, but can be used to search for properties on the Land Registry website, so may be useful to data consumers (or it may be considered unnecessary bloat, in which case I’ll discard it).

Checking that the buildings really are well aligned and split using the the OSMUK LR Polygons layer and sanity-checking the postcodes using the CodePoint Postcodes layer can be quite time-consuming, but is absolutely necessary before anything gets into the OSM database. Usually there are still a number of buildings which still need to be realigned, split, etc.

Once the postcode is known, addr:city (and addr:suburb if applicable) can be added. Obviously this can be done for most addresses by just looking at one of the available map layers, but it’s helpful near the boundary between post towns.

If there’s more than one instance of a postcode, addr:street can be determined with reasonable confidence. Again, this can usually be done by simply looking at the map, but it helps work out to which street corner houses belong.

For older houses where the street name remains unchanged, some house numbers can be found from the out-of-copyright OS map layers available from NLS. Some house numbers are also visible in Bing’s street side imagery or Mapillary.

After all the easy bits above, I’ve now got a lot of real on the ground surveying to do using StreetComplete/SCEE.

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As this really should be covered by the rules on imports and automated edits, I have removed data previously added using variants of the above and started drafting a formal import proposal at Proposed import of UK postcodes, UPRNs and INSPIRE IDs (England & Wales) - OpenStreetMap Wiki