The Independent today headlined with an ‘investigative’ piece detailing how the revenue will be using ‘sophisticated mapping technology provided by GeoDirectory to quantify access to services and apply a multiplier to the property tx to be implemented later this year. In a nutshell (and details of the entire scheme remain publicly hazy – let’s talk about that tonight) they propose to triangulate access to services such as the Luas, the DART, shops, schools and other amenities to increase tax payable – assuming you use things closer to you. The first question I have to ask is : Is this is overly simplistic (fair, equitable, legal) way of determining taxable property value? Clearly it is deserving of deeper investigation itself…but there you go. What do you think?
The second question has to be whether this locational information should be commercialised. Check out GeoDirectory. It’s a commercial entity operated jointly by An Post and the Ordnance Survey of Ireland. When I saw that they were selling the service of locating addresses and buildings in Ireland I was struck by the continuing discussion over the lack of postal codes in Ireland. Unlike most western European countries Ireland does not have a publicly accessible uniform locational system. I will admit that I was very impressed with An Post in the time I have been in Ireland. That you could address a letter to a person in a town of 15,000 and still have it find its way to the intended recipient the within 24 hours floors me. In Canada there has been a uniform postal code system for decades now, but I could not count on next day delivery on places even within the same town when using a postal code that specifies an address within a small block radius – let alone addressed to a personal name with no clear address. An Post delivers. Yet, when it comes to the new streamlined machine-readable logistical mesh that we increasingly rely on, such addressing simply doesn’t compute. Yet, we still seem years off of adopting a uniform postal identifier system. Then I saw GeoDirectory and realise that it already exists, but is being controlled and being sold on a commercial basis. The question this raises is whether tyhis stymies the open usage of uniform locators as in other countries where the populace is empowered – often through being able to use the postal code system (and its associated boundaries) as a means of interaction and community involvement. Does the commercial control of uniform location identifiers hamper Ireland’s engagement with open government initiatives that seem to be flourishing in other areas?