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Northumbria researchers help give Gibraltar its first official address register

Database management systems developed by researchers at Northumbria University have helped the Government of Gibraltar consolidate 36 different address lists into one, intelligent database of commercial and domestic addresses in the country.

Until recently, Gibraltar’s public services such as the post office, telecoms, utilities and ambulance service, kept separate address lists each with their own personalised formats. This created difficulties and barriers to inter-service communication, a duplication of effort, and inefficient data update. While many departments had pursued automation, this was done in a fragmented manner without standards or consistency.

UK company Atlantic Geomatics (AGUK), working together with researchers from Northumbria University, has now produced a database of all addresses in Gibraltar which, when adopted by the Government through legislation, will trigger the process of a major practice change in Gibraltar. It replaces the 36 lists with a single, spatial official address register that contains geographic data and postcodes for all addresses in Gibraltar for the first time.

“We developed a way of migrating rich object-based and semi-structured databases into newer databases without any loss of data,” explains Akhtar Ali from Northumbria’s Computer and Electronic Security Systems Department. “The database migration and conversion method ensures that both source and target databases are equivalent and that no data is lost during the process.”

The work not only enabled AGUK to secure the Gibraltar contract, safeguarding jobs at the company, but it will also have a major impact on the people of Gibraltar. This new database will improve the delivery of various services including mail delivery, emergency services, utilities and telecoms.


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