Royal Mail ‘Pinpoint’ Mapping Initiative
Royal Mail is piloting an initiative to improve the accuracy of location-based information used by individuals and businesses. If successful, the initiative will be rolled out across the UK later in the year.
When my postman dropped my mail through the letterbox this morning there was a card explaining that homes in East Anglia will be part of the pilot. This will involve postmen and women mapping the precise co-ordinates or the GPS longitude, latitude and altitude co-ordinates of every delivery point in East Anglia including all homes and businesses in the area.
They explained that no collection of personal or confidential information would be collected but are just mapping address information, which will be accurate to the front door of every home.
Royal Mail already provides one of the UK’s most widely used location-based tools – the postcode. This is used by the emergency services, satellite navigation systems and smartphone applications. They want to help improve the accuracy of this information, hence the mapping address information.
So how will this happen and what will it involve, well on the card they sent me there was a picture of a postman with a small yellow telescope type piece of equipment. This is apparently a satellite receiver, which is purely a distance measurement device; it does not capture photographs or videos of people or their properties.
So should we be concerned about privacy, well Google have already intruded far more with their zoomable maps which can focus on an address or postcode. Their Google Maps with Street View lets anyone explore places around the world through 360-degree street-level imagery.
The Royal Mail website says, “With mail volumes in decline, it is important that Royal Mail continues to expand its range of trusted services. Royal Mail is undertaking this initiative in response to a need by businesses and consumers for more accurate local information.”
The geographic mapping data currently being collected will certainly be valuable to businesses and service providers.