Geocoded National Address Data

In today's digitally mobile world, location-based – or spatial – information influences almost everything we do. Access to spatial data is becoming increasingly important given the rapid take-up and use of mobile devices in Australia. One of the most ubiquitous and powerful spatial datasets in a digital economy is a highly accurate geocoded national address file.

On 26 February 2016, the Australian Government released one of the most requested ubiquitous, high-value datasets to the economy. PSMA's Geo-coded National Address File (G-NAF), and their Administrative Boundaries datasets.

This data is available via data.gov.au and updates are published on a quarterly basis.

The release follows the Government’s announcement as part of the National Innovation and Science Agenda on 7 December 2015 that the datasets would become available.

Release of data

The release of this data into the economy is a significant demonstration of the Government's commitment to better use of public data.

PSMA is an unlisted public company owned by the nine governments of Australia, including the Commonwealth and State and Territory Governments. PSMA receives location data from each of the jurisdictions and standardises, formats and aggregates the data into authoritative location based national datasets.

G-NAF is Australia's authoritative geocoded address file. It contains more than 13 million physical address records.

The previous licensing arrangements for accessing the G-NAF were highly restrictive, preventing optimal collaboration and data sharing between existing users. This resulted in underutilisation of the data.

Making the G-NAF available under open data terms has removed barriers to greater use of the data and unlocked and created opportunities for industry innovation and competitiveness.

Data uses and benefits

Beneficiaries include industry, community organisations, research institutions and government agencies.

Geocoded address data can be used in almost any business or operation. Examples include:

  • national, state and local infrastructure planning
  • business planning and analysis
  • logistics and service planning
  • emergency and disaster response
  • personal navigation and mapping
  • fraud prevention
  • address validation at the point of entry for business and government
  • effective government service delivery and policy development.

Accessing the datasets

This initiative to make the G-NAF and Administrative Boundaries datasets openly available has been achieved through collaboration between PSMA and the Commonwealth and State and Territory Governments. PSMA's success in aggregating data from across the jurisdictions has resulted in the development of an incredibly important and world leading national geocoded address dataset, which to date has been made commercially available.

The first release of the G-NAF and Administrative Boundaries datasets was made available for use and reuse at no cost to end users through the Australian Government’s online data portal, data.gov.au on 26 February 2016. The G-NAF is provided as a Pipe Separated Value (psv) file and the Administrative Boundaries dataset is provided as an ESRI Shapefile or MapInfo TAB format file. Updated versions of the data are published quarterly.

View further information about the Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda.

End user feedback

Since the Australian Government made the G-NAF openly available on 26 February 2016 it has been downloaded 3,600 times (as at 1 August 2017). By comparison, under restricted licence it was only downloaded around 180 times over an 18 month period.

During the same period, the national level Administrative Boundaries data has been downloaded 2,582 times (with an additional 15,178 downloads of the individual state-by-state datasets). By comparison, under restricted licence the national level dataset was only downloaded around 240 times over an 18 month period (with an additional 141 downloads of the individual state-by-state datasets).

Feedback from end users of the G-NAF and Administrative Boundaries data was sought via a short survey during May to June 2017. Of the responses received:

  • 41% started using the G-NAF after it became openly available;
  • 73% have achieved efficiencies and/or productivity growth as a result of open access to G-NAF;
  • 83% use the open G-NAF for address verification, 44% integrate it into products, 43% use it for reporting and analytics and 29% use it for application development;
  • 47% have introduced new operational processes and 41% have developed new goods or services;
  • 50% have further developed existing operational processes and 45% have further developed existing goods or services;
  • 97% rated G-NAF data as ‘good’ to ‘very high’ quality; and
  • 63% use the openly available Administrative Boundaries dataset.

Respondents indicated they are using the G-NAF data for a wide range of purposes including, planning transport services; developing new mapping applications; developing new insurance products and services for specific coverage areas; better utilisation of geocoding for property based services; integrating the data into existing business operations; and providing third party geocoded services.

This user feedback provides a more in-depth understanding of the innovation, efficiencies and productivity achieved through access to the high-value spatial data.

Questions and answers

  1. What is the G-NAF dataset
  2. What is the Administrative Boundaries dataset
  3. Do the open G-NAF and Administrative Boundaries datasets include the same data elements that are available under commercial arrangements directly with PSMA?
  4. Format of the G-NAF and Administrative Boundaries datasets
  5. When were the G-NAF and Administrative Boundaries datasets released and how often will they be updated?
  6. Terms for the G-NAF and Administrative Boundaries End User Licence Agreement
  7. What happens to users that have contracts or agreements for G-NAF or Administrative Boundaries products that were previously available under commercial arrangements?

1. What is the G-NAF dataset

G-NAF is Australia's authoritative, geocoded address file. It contains more than 13 million physical address records.

G-NAF is produced by PSMA Australia Limited (PSMA), a company owned by the nine governments of Australia. PSMA receives source data from each of the jurisdictions to produce G-NAF.

PSMA provides information about G-NAF on its website.

2. What is the Administrative Boundaries dataset

The Administrative Boundaries dataset is Australia’s most comprehensive national collection of boundaries including government, statistical and electoral boundaries.

The Administrative Boundaries dataset contains boundaries in seven themes: Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) boundaries, electoral boundaries, state and territory boundaries, local government areas, suburbs/localities, wards and town points. Some of the themes, such as the ABS boundaries, include further layers of data to support a wide range of analysis and segmentation activities.

Further information about the Administrative Boundaries dataset is available on the PSMA website.

3. Do the open G-NAF and Administrative Boundaries datasets include the same data elements that are available under commercial arrangements directly with PSMA?

Yes. The data elements in the open G-NAF and Administrative Boundaries datasets that are available from data.gov.au are the same as the data elements that are available under commercial arrangements directly with PSMA.

PSMA also provides responses to product-based FAQs for G-NAF and Administrative Boundaries.

4. Format of the G-NAF and Administrative Boundaries datasets

The G-NAF is provided as a Pipe Separated Value (PSV) file and the Administrative Boundaries dataset is provided as an ESRI Shapefile or MapInfo TAB format.

PSMA also offers these datasets in a number of other formats under commercial licence terms.

5. When were the G-NAF and Administrative Boundaries datasets released and how often will they be updated?

The openly available G-NAF and the Administrative Boundaries datasets were made available through data.gov.au on 26 February 2016. Updated versions of these datasets will be published on a quarterly basis.

6. Terms for the G-NAF and Administrative Boundaries End User Licence Agreement

The End User Licence Agreement terms for the open Administrative Boundaries dataset is the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.

The End User Licence Agreement terms for the open G-NAF is based on the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license, but includes a restriction relating to the use of the open G-NAF for mail-out purposes.

Making the G-NAF and Administrative Boundaries datasets openly available will remove barriers to greater use of the data and unlock and create opportunities for efficiencies and digital innovation.

End users must only use the data in ways that are consistent with the Australian Privacy Principles issued under the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth).

7. What happens to users that have contracts or agreements for G-NAF or Administrative Boundaries products that were previously available under commercial arrangements?

The open G-NAF and Administrative Boundaries that are available through data.gov.au from 26 February 2016 may be used by anyone subject to the terms of the End User Licence Agreement referred to above.

Users that have contracts or agreements for the G-NAF or Administrative Boundaries datasets that were previously available under commercial arrangements may wish to discuss arrangements with their suppliers. However existing commercial arrangements may include value add products and services in addition to the raw data available from data.gov.au.

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