There’s been incredible momentum recently on the OpenAddresses project. As of now, we have opened more than 130 million addresses in nearly a dozen countries, 10 million more since our last update. Those addresses have come from 650 datasets, with a total of 70 people contributing to the project.
Why is this work so important for governments, companies, and citizens?
In the words of OpenAddresses contributor Coleman McCormick, “Almost everything that consumers do with maps these days has to do with places of interest: Foursquare check ins, Instagramming, turn-by-turn directions. [But] without connecting the places as we know them to actual map coordinates a computer can understand, we don’t have many useful mapping applications…[and] there’s still no good worldwide, open resource for address geocoding that app developers and mappers can use with no strings attached.”
Instead of a small number of large companies developing their own datasets in silos, OpenAddresses intends to create a resource that companies and governments of all shapes and sizes can use.
I recently shared that we wrote a continuous integration service for OpenAddresses that enables project contributors to quickly see the results of their work. Before implementing the CI service, contributors had to wait weeks or months before receiving feedback. Any project that relies on volunteers must make participation easy and fun, and the updated system cuts the wait time from weeks to days.
Now that we’ve built a core team around this project, and made it easier for users to see the fruits of their labor, we’re eager to keep the momentum going. We’re building a legal structure to ensure the project’s sustainability and inviting citizens and governments to add their address data.
If you work in local government and would like help through the process, we’ll be hosting a breakout session on OpenAddresses at this year’s Code for America Summit. We’ll also be at the Hackspace to help you add your address data.