Canada's situation is even worse. Geocoder.ca has been sued by Canada Post to take down their data (which Canada Post was selling for $5000).
The whole address data situation is really terrible. Glad to see Australia opening up the data.
The barrier is that the official source of zip code data, National Five-Digit ZIP Code and Post Office Directory, is copyrighted, and there is work in extracting the data from it.
The nice thing is that US copyright law limits the protection for "facts" . The selection and arrangement of facts can be copyrighted, but not the underlying facts themselves. So it's perfectly legal in the US to take the zip code data and distribute it, just not in the original form from the National Five-Digit ZIP Code and Post Office Directory.
As for other countries than the US, it would depend on their local laws.
 - http://pe.usps.com/Archive/HTML/DMMArchive0810/G013.htm
 - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_law_of_the_United_St...
>Works by certain independent agencies, corporations and federal subsidiaries may not be considered "government works" and may, therefore, be copyrightable. For instance, material produced by the United States Postal Service are typically subject to normal copyright.
On a similar note, do you (or anyone else) know how to get data about the parcels/property sizes in the US (e.g: I want to check if address X is over 10k square feet)? Are there any open sets from which it would be possible to compile this dataset, or the only way is to go to Maponics etc and pay (but still, where do Maponics got this data from)? I needed this for my last project - at the time I used Zillow API (http://www.zillow.com/howto/api/GetDeepSearchResults.htm) but it was rate limited and had data for only about 50% of addresses I queried.
No one should be using PAF to geocode, anyway.
(On a more cynical note: I bet this is only happening because geocoding via GoogleMaps has become "good enough" that nobody is paying the outrageous prices they used to ask for this data...)
Here's a related thread I've been following for sometime: https://datagovau.ideascale.com/a/dtd/Free-the-G-NAF-Address...
The data is free, but it's in Easting/Northing format rather than Latitude/Longitude. I would recommend converting it to Latitude/Longitude using the WGS84 projection (if that means nothing to you, basically it means you're using the standard format for coordinate data used in websites, can use the data with Google Maps, OSM, etc...).
I'm planning on doing this conversion soon, I intended to use the following C# library as a SQL Server CLR function, but I probably would've used breasal (or something similar) if I was using Linux:
For anyone who wants to use this C# library, worth reading this:
In his datasets he's already done the conversion to regular lat/lon.
Hopefully this means the data can be incorporated into projects like OpenStreetMaps, though I have no idea if it is appropriate (I guess it would be) nor if it's already incorporated or not (I would guess not, based on the article).
OpenAddresses was set up by some OSM developers as a better way of parsing, tracking and combining these kinds of address datasets rather than storing them directly in the OSM database.
There are already a lot of addresses in there in Queensland and Victoria, so it may be some work to combine them.
There are sometimes social problems with imports. The long term affect of imports can be negative (just look at USA)
It also makes the map "look done", and the USA, despite it's population size, doesn't have as active a community of mappers. The USA has about the sized OSM community as the UK or Germany, despite having 5 times the size.
One theory is that since the map for the USA "looked done", that people thought it was done, and hence didn't start mapping and that hindered the growth of the community there.
To see more, zoom in a lot in OSM in the UK or Germany, and compare similar sized towns/cities to the USA. The USA map will usually just have the roads (with names), whereas in the UK or Germany you'll find much more shops, schools, footpaths, carparks, parks etc. mapped.
 Details of the import http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/TIGER
 A long time OSM mapper points out some of the problems in 2015 of the USA's data http://www.openstreetmap.org/user/Richard/diary/34290 Or this: http://www.openstreetmap.org/user/Richard/diary/26099
The other missing thing is POIs (Points of Interest). Find an area you're familiar with, and add pubs, shops, cafes, vending machines, bus stops etc.
There's also the question of the license. Without opening a can of worms about the usefulness of sharealike provisions in general, I think it's safe to say that making a geocoding result trigger sharealike implications in a database is clearly problematic (consider geocoding a database of customer addresses, then being obliged to share the rest of the table!). Unfortunately OSM hasn't yet reached agreement on a geocoding guidance. Consequently a couple dozen of us working on OpenAddresses have gotten the project to over 200 million addresses in less than 2 years. OSM is now a decade old, has millions of registered mappers, and contains less than 60 million addresses.
I don't mean to be all doom and gloom, though. I would love to improve OSM as a home for address data. And I urge those of you who care about this incredibly important resource to join me -- hop on the talk and legal-talk lists and help make the case for a geocoding guidance that makes sense.
"New initiatives" are fine. "new bulk data imports" are a different thing. There are many social and technical problems with importing data. De-duplicating data is hard.
OSM, unlike OpenAddresses, wants to have one licence for all the data, rather than lots of little licences for each different region. OSM also (tries) to have one hierachial, address data format for the whole world, rather than a collection of different formats for each region.
> OSM is now a decade old, has millions of registered mappers, and contains less than 60 million addresses.
OSM is more than just addresses.
One of the biggest barriers that made me leave out various geographical/address routines in my own work was the legal minefield regarding who owns and can use this kind of data, and that I'd put myself at too much risk even if I did get some details together "legitimately".
Please let this be an actual open data licence, not a creative works licence (i.e. CC-anything but 0) applied to data, which has been the standard practice of the Australian government.
Can't believe how expensive this data was.. at some point we discovered that the suburb boundary polygons could be hacked out of the census reports though!
While they're not a perfect match for the official administrative boundaries, they're good enough for many use cases.
Amoung other things, they provide polygons for suburbs, LGAs, and postcodes.