ASSIGN- UPRN address match application

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The UPRN address matching application that allows a user to match one or more addresses from a systems address file to an authoritative address, and to allocate a Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN) for the location of that address.

Background and purpose

The background to the objective of matching addresses and UPRN is as follows:

It is well established that a person's health is significantly affected by their environment in which they live and work.

People live in flats, houses, or are homeless. People work at home, outside, or in offices or factories.

In order to identify or rectify health issues relating to environments it is necessary to evaluate the affect of location, type of property, and occupancy, on the people who live and work in them.

In order to measure the effects on health it is necessary to link the health records of people to the properties in which they live and work.

In order to create that link it is necessary to identify the relevant property and the usual way in which a property is identified is via the person's home or work address.

There are problems with using addresses as a way of linking:

  1. Addresses are recorded by provider organisations in inconsistent ways.
  2. Addresses themselves change over time.
  3. Many properties have more than one address that matches the property. For example the local authority may have one address, whilst the post office may have another.

One way of resolving this problem is to assign a property identifier to an actual location and link the various addresses to it. When this is done, then by linking a person's health record to this property identifier, issues relating to the property, location and occupancy can be studied, problems can be acted on, and lives will be saved.

Unique Property Reference Numbers (UPRNs) are property identifiers for every property in Great Britain. Ordnance Survey provides access to these in a number of products, but their AddressBase Premium product is the most comprehensive database. It is derived from local government's NLPG (National Land and Property Gazetteer) as created and maintained by GeoPlace, Ordnance Survey’s OS MasterMap Address Layer 2 and the Royal Mail’s PAF (Postcode Address File). It adheres to British Standard for addressing BS7666, and every property has its Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN) and geographical co-ordinates. It is updated every 6 weeks.

Furthermore, there is an assured link between all addresses associated with a property over its life cycle, and from local authority and Royal Mail sources.

That being the case, if there was a service that matched the address from someone's health record to at least ONE of the addresses supplied by Address Base Premium then the UPRN can be derived and linked to the person. This will save lives.

Discovery information model supports the mapping of health related addresses to addresses provided by an authoritative organisation, those addresses being a gold standard for pointing to a UPRN. The matching service provides two subtypes of service:

  1. A Web application that people can use to upload a list of addresses and obtain a list of matched addresses and UPRNs (this article)
  2. A REST API that systems can use to request a matched address and a UPRN for that address


To access the application the user must either be a user of Discovery, or must create their own account in line with level 1 authentication process. An authenticated user has authority to access the UPRN match user interface.

Inputting an address

There are two main functions available to the user

  1. Enter an address of some kind and attempt to get a match
  2. Upload a list of addresses (between 1 and 100,000) and attempt to get a list of matched entries

A match is presented in one of three forms and the user can select either/ or:

  • Plain English address : Simply displaying the address fields and their value,together with information
  • JSON structure. This is a machine readable structure which includes the same information and can be processed by a computer more easily than plain English
  • CSV file. Suitable for importing into Excel (with a note on converting UPRNs to text) or to a database.

The matching details for an address are described in more detail

Address matching information

The following table explains the information returned following a no match.

The term 'Candidate address' is the address entered by the user or submitted in the file. The 'authority address' is an address provided by the Ordnance survery address based premium and may be a post office address or a local authority address.

No match message Value Explanation
Address format Null address lines No address lines submitted
Insufficient characters The address format does not appear to contain enough characters to attempt to match (<9)
Post code quality invalid post code The post code is an invalid format
missing post code Post code is missing. The address may be matched without a post code but normally a post code is necessary even if incorrect in order to simply narrow down the potential matches
Out of area The post code is valid but unrecognised and appears to be out of area It should be noted that there will still be an attempt to match the address without a post code or a partial match on a post code.

The following information is provided when there is a match.

Field Value Description
Matched True There was a match. Note that this may not be an exact match
UPRN The unique property reference number provided by the Ordnance survey via the Address Based Premium service
Qualifier Equivalent This means that the algorithm thinks that it has found the equivalent entry as being the correct location. This does not mean it is an exact match, only that it thinks that the user 'candidate address' is the same location as the one that is listed below
Child The candidate address is likely to be a child of the authoritative address listed below. For example it might be a flat within the building
Parent The candidate address is not specific enough e.g. is a building whereas the authority's address is more detailed
Sibling The candidate address is likely to be close to the address listed below e.g next door. i.e. it nearby but not necessarily the exact property. This is useful when using UPRNs for geo location, but if using household addresses it cannot be guaranteed to group households. Care needs to be taken when using this in household grouping.

Address matching algorithms

main article UPRN address matching algorithms

Address matching is surprisingly difficult, and the algorithms used to match addresses are described in more detail by the UPRN address matching algorithms article.