Everybody who deals with addressing seems to understand the problems – too many people/departments maintaining addresses in too many vertical applications. The result: bad addresses, inconsistencies, etc. that cause a slew of problems—including issues with public safety. There isn’t a single presentation I’ve given on the issues and problems of addresses where I don’t have people nodding their heads up-and-down in violent agreement.
So…why hasn’t this problem been fixed before? I think a lot of it comes back to the basic structure of local government. In local government, each department typically acts as its own business – if addressing is critical to their business than they’re going to take care of what they need first.
By the way, this type of issue isn’t restricted to local government; it’s more about human nature in general (and it’s also common within private enterprise). Both Mike Wierzbinski (a co-founder of Farragut) and I, for example, got our start at IBM designing solutions for a variety of large governmental and commercial clients. A lot of the solutions that we designed focused on creating repositories of information (oftentimes, huge databases) with the intent of reducing the need to manage individual “silos” of data and instead managing information as an enterprise resource.
Addressing is one example of that, but this issue affects other types of information as well, including streets, parcels, and land records. Any time you manage the same set of data in different databases, you run into problems with consistency and quality of information. Enterprise repositories allow information to be centrally managed and shared with other downstream users, thus increasing efficiency and resulting in better data.