While our postcode area based products have always captured Australian localities including urban areas typically to street centre precision, only recently has the national address database been made freely available. This sensible liberation of taxpayer funded national data into the public domain has finally released the potential for us to refine our data to depict the postcode geography of Australia with accuracy to every single address in the nation!

Postcode areas brief history

We have covered the evolution of our products previously. In summary, localities and other places were collected into groups according to their postcodes and geometric containing area geographies constructed around them, further refined to street level where appropriate in urban and built-up areas. From this base revisions have routinely been implemented as new suburbs are built, postcode boundaries adjusted to accommodate them, changes from one postcode to another, the creation of entirely new postcodes and even some older communities abandoned and eventually the postcodes which once served them. Access to the national address file data finally allows us to take our postcode area products to the ultimate level of accuracy but still maintain an enormous performance advantage over any other digital representation.

This simplified graphic summarises that evolution..

Summary of how a postcode area has evolved over time..

Development summary.

We took advantage of the “quiet time” during 2020 – sadly extending deep into 2021 and possibly beyond – to develop techniques to turn the rather cryptic national address file raw data into useful geography and thus open paths for the development of routines to refine our postcode area data, where necessary, to encapsulate every single legitimate address within the boundary of it’s containing postcode area. While that might sound simple enough, as is so often the case, “easier said than done”! 

Evolution of a postcode area..

We completed the baseline in August 2021 – three months ahead of schedule!.

Currency and maintenance program.

We settled on the August 2020 release of the national address file for our baseline. Like all datasets, the national address file is updated periodically as new buildings are constructed and older ones redeveloped. We will incorporate changes into our postcode area products to reflect these changes. We expect this to be an annual update, at least initially. The first update round, based on the May 2021 data release, was completed late August 2021.

What it means for performance.

Our digital postcode products have always outperformed any previous iterations by a factor of ten. We started form scratch and thus do not carry any inherited digital baggage like legacy products do. As digital geography is defined by its “coordinates”, it follows that if we have more coordinates, the resulting file will take up more digital space. A casual inspection of this small area of inner Brisbane, Queensland..

..shows the new address-accurate boundaries (in pink) often have more “turns and corners” than their predecessors (in dark grey). This does mean that overall, they will be larger files on-disk, but because we do not need to slavishly adhere to the standard mapping features used by legacy data, they are and will remain a class ahead of anything else. In addition, technology continues to advance rapidly – trends towards faster processors, memory, solid state drives come readily to mind – for tech-heads, Moore’s Law still seems to be holding. We anticipate for most users with even a modest IT budget, our new products will still perform many orders of magnitude better than any other (we’ll do the bench-marking once complete, check back occasionally for an update)!

What does it mean for our valued customers and data users?

If you have a current update policy, you will have now (August 2021) received updates for all Australian states and territories – you made a sound decision! The latest – May 2021 – updates are complete.

For new customers, also good news! If you license a MapMakers’ postcode product during 2021, you will receive the address-accurate version – if already published – but at the same price as the version it has replaced – a small Covid 19 Relief Contribution to help offset the onerous imposts of our “we’re all in this together..” governments! Our prices will remain fixed for calendar 2021, so regardless of the status of your particular geographic area of interest on our development timetable, you will automatically receive address level product updates when thy become available, at no additional cost. So why wait, you’ll get the best and most accurate at the best price, so get it and use it now and get a free upgrade! Standard data series here, Census Enhanced data series here, and PDF Postcode Maps here!

Price rises will be necessary.

While our updating routines take advantage of all the tech at our disposal, the process requires constant supervision by skilled technicians. We will keep price increases to a minimum, but they will have to rise. Previous versions have been completely replaced by the address-accurate upgrades, the price structure will be revised on the web store early in 2022. In summary, buy now and beat the price rise!