I find it interesting that Postal Codes in Canada are not freely available. No our postal service charges a nasty license fee to get them. This means that people who want to explore creating interest apps that might use postal codes to locate services… don’t. As one would expect, zip codes in the US are freely available for anyone to hack with (this great blog post really shows you all the options).
So, two questions.
First, with all the fuss the competition bureau has kicked up around the MLS data – are Canadian postal codes being used to extend the monopoly of Canada Post? Shouldn’t this be data that, if shared, would improve competition? (Let’s forget the fact that Canadian tax dollars created the Post Office and that it might be nice if Canadian citizens could freely use the capital created with their tax dollars to generate further innovation (like the US counterparts can). Sadly, UK citizens are stuck with the same terrible boat as us.
Second, I’d heard rumours that someone was trying to crowd source the location of postal codes in the UK, essentially asking people to simply type in their address and postal in a website to create a parallel dataset. I was wondering if that might be legal here or if Canada Post would launch a legal battle against it. Can you prevent someone from recreating (not copying) at data set like this? My assumption is no…
Either way, it would be nice if Canada Post joined the rest of North America and made this information freely available. It would certainly generate far more new businesses, innovations and efficiencies that would generate further tax dollars for the government and productivity for the Canadian economy… but then, the Post Office would lose a few dollars in revenue. Sigh.