South Africa : Joburg updates street address database

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Johannesburg - The City of Johannesburg is consolidating its information on street addresses, bringing all street addresses on to a single database to improve billing and service delivery.

"Thousands of street numbers and associated streets will be verified by the time the project ends in May," said Retha van Wyk, the acting deputy director of data administration and mapping.

In the project's first phase, which started in early 2007 and ended in April 2008, street addresses for approximately 80 000 stands around the city, which included 680 townships, were verified against the National Address Database (NAD) of the location-based services company, AfriGIS, and other datasets within the council.

Approximately 35 500 addresses were captured on the city's geographic information systems (GIS) and 400 new addresses required implementation during this time, reports Joburg.org.

"Phase two of the project commenced in April 2008 and is expected to be completed by the end of May 2009.

"The area includes the rest of the city, approximately 4 200 townships (666 000 stands) are to be verified."

A total of 1 500 townships have already been verified and an additional 120 000 street addresses were captured by 30 September 2008. Before completion of the project, approximately 100 000 stands still require verification.

Previously, the city's street address information was contained in various standalone property databases, such as valuations, GIS, planning, and billing.

"The city decided to develop its land information system (LIS) as the single source of property information in the city.

"The LIS contains property-related workflow processes that cut across departments, is spatially enabled, and provides an interface to the billing system, which runs on SAP [a data processing software application]," she said.

Ms van Wyk said Johannesburg is the first city in South Africa to have a single integrated property information system of this kind.

Physical street addresses were identified as one of the property datasets within the LIS, which needed to be updated as a requirement of the Property Rates Act of 2004 and the Financial Intelligence Centre Act of 2001, in conjunction with the National Credit Act that came into effect on 1 June 2007.

"Historically, the different metropolitan local councils allocated and maintained street addresses according to their own standards and methodologies.

"Some areas within the city used different combinations of stand numbers, plot numbers and farm portion numbers as a result. This in turn meant that some properties could not be uniquely identified and duplication occurred within the database," she said.

In 2007, AfriGIS was given the arduous task of verifying 400 000 street numbers and associated street names as part of updating the LIS.

This involved verifying current addresses and addresses reserved for future use, as well as matching addresses between the city's database and AfriGIS's NAD.

Since the implementation of the LIS, there has been an improvement in Joburg's billing system, improved turnaround times for development applications, easy access to property information and faster resolution of queries, according to Sharon Seckle, the operational manager of street addresses.

Also, the city's revenue streams have improved, allowing for better service delivery and improved customer relations.

Ms Seckle said correctly implemented street addresses directly affect citizens in terms of correct deliveries to their properties, response time of emergency services and delivery of council services. - BuaNews