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CycleStreets blog

News from CycleStreets

Free the postcode

CycleStreets doesn’t yet have full postcode searching, though we at least take the first half of an entered postcode to get you to the right area, when doing a namefind search. We are currently using the excellent service from the great guys at Cloudmade.

Unless there is a massive surge of donations (!) we simply don’t have the funds to give Royal Mail £5,450, and if we did have such funds, it’s arguable that paying for faster server equipment would be a better priority.

Royal Mail has a monopoly on the UK postcode set at present. And now, in a real McLibel-style shot-in-the-foot exercise, Royal Mail has served a cease-and-desist order on, a supplier of a public postcode API (programming interface) for community groups. (CycleStreets hasn’t been using Ernest Marples, as they had never stated exactly what their data source is, and we want to stay squeaky-clean in case.)

Royal Mail’s treatment of a not-for-profit is quite expectedly attracting a lot of attention from around the blogosphere:

It’s also gaining parliamentary attention: Tom Watson MP has written a great letter to Royal Mail on the issue of postcode database availability following an earlier blog post he made. (NB CycleStreets does not, and will not, have any party-political affiliation.) It will be interesting to see what Royal Mail comes back with.

Postcodes – and indeed other data related to mapping – needs to be out in the Open.

2 Responses to “Free the postcode”

  1. Peter Miller Says:

    If you want CycleStreets to understand postcodes that matter to you then all you need to do is enter them once into or which quite legally as long as they are based on your own knowledge and not part of a massive screen scrape or Royal Mail data.

    I have entered all the post codes for my friends from my address book which means I can use my postcode as an origin for Cycle Streets journeys very happily.

  2. martin Says:

    This post got picked up by the Guardian yesterday!

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