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Ordnance Survey offers water companies a route to better customer service

Research with water utility records has signaled the potential of Ordnance Survey’s most accurate addressing data to improve the links between customer and asset management.

The national mapping agency tested how well information from OS MasterMap Address Layer 2 could improve the fit between billing details and locations on the delivery network.

Improving such information could help with customer profiling and debt recovery at a time when substantial amounts of unpaid bills are written off in the utility sector.

Ordnance Survey’s address geography was matched against utility records in a series of urban postcode units containing an average of 21,500 addresses. The results show an average of 16% more properties being identified and referenced to the relevant part of the infrastructure.

Two elements of Address Layer 2 made the difference: the inclusion of “alternative addresses” such as aliases, locality and district names; and details of multi-occupancy residences where flats and apartments share postal delivery points. Ordnance Survey supplies these with the reference details of their parent delivery address, making it easier to identify all properties receiving utility and other non-postal services.

The findings show the benefits of using OS MasterMap Address Layer 2 as a base for joining customer records with asset management information to improve customer service and systems integration.

Thames Water, Bristol Water and Wessex Water have all been able to verify the whereabouts of thousands of properties that receive their services but for which they had insufficient addressing data.

“We believe that better location information in the utility sector will be an increasingly important factor in debt recovery performance, customer profiling and operational success,” says Cara Reed, Senior Product Manager at Ordnance Survey. “Our flexible and nationally consistent address data can ensure that addresses that would otherwise not have been registered are fairly billed for the water they receive. It can also allow for the speedier location and resolution of faults.”

To build and maintain OS MasterMap Address Layer 2, Ordnance Survey field surveyors across the country add high-resolution spatial references to more than 27 million postal addresses, 1.5 million properties without a postal address and 290,000 multi-occupancy residences. More than half a million aliases are supplied.

All addresses are classified into residential or commercial. Business premises are placed in sub-categories where their trading or brand name provides clear details of their function.
A free cross-reference table allows Ordnance Survey’s data to be linked with other key datasets, including the Royal Mail Postcode Address File (PAF) and the Valuation Office Agency’s Non Domestic Rates and Council Tax data.

Since its launch in April 2006, OS MasterMap Address Layer 2 has proved ideal for a growing range of applications across different market sectors, including emergency response, civil contingency planning, risk assessment, asset insurance, planning, customer services and maintenance.

For more information about OS MasterMap Address Layer 2, visit www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/addresslayer2

or call business enquiries on +44 (0)8456 05 05 05

Notes to editors:

1. Ordnance Survey is Great Britain’s national mapping agency, providing the most accurate and up-to-date geographic data, relied on by government, business and individuals.
2. To download this news release, visit www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/media. There you can also subscribe to our RSS news feed, bringing you the latest Ordnance Survey news stories as soon as they are published.

3. Ordnance Survey, the OS Symbol and OS MasterMap are registered trademarks of Ordnance Survey. PAF and Royal Mail are registered trademarks of Royal mail Group plc.

For more information from Ordnance Survey, please contact:

Scott Sinclair – Head of Corporate Communications on 023 8079 2265 or scott.sinclair@ordnancesurvey.co.uk

Paul Beauchamp – Senior Press Officer on 023 8079 2568 or paul.beauchamp@ordnancesurvey.co.uk

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