The impact of missing or incorrect addresses

Peter Pudney, Gentry White


Addresses are critical for finding locations. They are used by emergency services, by utilities, for delivery of mail and parcels, and for our daily navigation. The inability to find a location because an address is missing from a database or points to the wrong location incurs an economic cost, and these costs can be significant. There are two key challenges to estimating the potential cost of missing and incorrect address information. The first challenge is to estimate the number of addresses that are missing or incorrect in the various databases used by different agencies. The second challenge is to estimate the cost of missing or incorrect address; these are not reported by the various agencies that incur these costs. Over the course of the week-long MISG-2015 workshop these challenges were explored. We had insufficient data to make accurate estimates of the extent or cost of addressing errors. However, seven confirmed cases where ambulance delay was a factor in the cause of death indicate that the cost of addressing errors is likely to exceed $1 million per year in Queensland. More data is required to estimate the costs of addressing errors to other service providers and to estimate how effective corrections are in reducing the costs of addressing errors. Our findings should help focus efforts on developing processes to detect and correct errors.

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