Coming Soon: An open database of every U.S. address


Despite what your GPS would lead you to believe, addresses are not in the public domain. The Department of Transportation is among the agencies trying to fix that.

By Greg Otto – September 28, 2015
The Transportation Department is in the very early stages of trying to build the first publicly accessible database of the geographical location of every address in the country.

“The first responder community is going to be the biggest beneficiary,” said DOT Geographic Information Officer Steve Lewis, noting that many states and municipalities have already created a patchwork of address databases to be used by their emergency response units, but with varying degrees of accuracy. “If you’re routing an ambulance, the route might take you across one county into the next or one state into the next. Having a contiguous database of address points for the nation would provide better access outside of just a county or a city.”

Over the past few months, Lewis’ team at DOT has been working with a number of agencies on the federal, state, local and tribal levels to create pilot projects to explore what data needs to be collected and how it could be fed into the appropriate databases.

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