Open data: Government releases address data

G-NAF, Administrative Boundaries datasets posted on Data.gov.au

The federal government has made the Geocoded National Address File (G-NAF) and Administrative Boundaries datasets freely available through its open data repository, data.gov.au.

“With the release of the G-NAF, Australia becomes one of only a few countries in the world to make national geocoded address data openly available,” assistant minister for cities and digital transformation, Angus Taylor, said in a statement.

G-NAF includes 13 million physical address records, while the Administrative Boundaries dataset includes Australian Bureau of Statistics boundaries, electoral boundaries, state and territory boundaries, local government areas, suburbs/localities, wards and town points.

The G-NAF custodian is PSMA, a corporation jointly owned by the federal and state and territory governments.

The datasets are released under variations of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (users must abide by the Australian Privacy Principles and there is a restriction on using G-NAF to send mail).

“The previous licensing arrangements for accessing the G-NAF were highly restrictive, preventing optimal collaboration and data sharing between existing users,” a December Data.gov.au blog entry noted.

“This resulted in underutilisation of the data.”

G-NAF is one of the most requested ubiquitous, high-value datasets, the blog entry said.

The government last year it would open up G-NAF as part of its innovation agenda.

Data held by the federal government was deemed a “strategic national resource” under a policy statement authorised by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull as part of the agenda.

The policy committed the government to expanding public access to the data it creates.

Last year the government created a new Public Data Branch within the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC).

The Bureau of Communications Research has concluded that open data could be worth up to $25 billion per year for Australia (the equivalent of 1.5 per cent of the nation’s GDP).


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