De facto Irish Postcode system from end of March?

At yesterday’s Barcamp Kilkenny (full review on the way) I sat in on Gary Delaney‘s talk entitled GPS Drawing. I actually met Gary in the hallway a few minutes earlier and asked him if his company – GPS Ireland – used to be called CharterNavGPS and is based in Crosshaven, Co. Cork? Yes. Which meant that was where I’d bought my Garmin Geko 201 nearly three years ago!

So we got chatting, discussing how things had developed in the intervening years and then Gary calmly dropped something of a bombshell into the conversation – GPS Ireland has developed a Post Code System for Ireland which will be available on Garmin SatNav Systems from the end of this month. Users will be able to get their Post Code from a web Mapping service at free of charge. From the website –

[The Irish Postal Service] An Post does not want or need a Post Code system, but the system we have developed can be used by them and any new Postal service after deregulation, if they wish…. Recent Press reports (25th Feb 2008) indicate that the Government’s proposal for discussion in the Dáil later in 2008 is not geographically based and, therefore, will represent significant costs and lead times to implement. GPS Ireland’s system is geographically based and is already implemented for testing by Garmin for their Nuvi 700 series of SatNav’s.

I think this is a brilliant run around the state’s own roadblocks (geddit?) and it will be fascinating to see if Gary’s system becomes the de facto postcode system for Ireland.


10 Responses to “De facto Irish Postcode system from end of March?”

  1. PaulSweeney Says:

    Is this available for mash ? If so cool !

  2. Conor O'Nolan Says:

    This is Postcode madness.
    Essentially anyone who wants a code has to go online and find out their own code using a map to pinpoint their house or workplace. They then need to transmit that code to a delivery company who are using GPS devices provided by GPSIreland.
    However a true postcode system run by the postal authorities would translate addresses in a database into a code and then post a card or letter to every house and business informing them of their postcode. Therefore everyone has the code automatically.

  3. John Dundon Says:

    What Gary is proposing is interesting however what I struggle to understand is that in order to find a postcode you have to pinpoint the location on a map first – if you do that you may as well just navigate to the address. I see the biggest challenge is not one of defining a postcode system but of implementation and acceptance by the public, not just users of Garmin sat nav. Studies abroad would suggest that it takes up to 10 years for a postcode system to be universally adopted by a country and the impetus needed to get it out there can only come from national initiatives. After all, An Post’s GeoDirectory has all the ingredients of a postcode system (not a very accessible one perhaps) with 1.8 million addresses in the Republic fully geocoded with accurate lat/long coordinates and a geodirectory ID (a ‘postcode’ if you like). What An Post lack is a desire to implement the GeoDirectory in the broader public domain to facilitate the roll out of a postcode system. Rather, for competitive advantage, they have chosen to keep the Geodirectory very much within the commercial domain so that LBS outfits such as ourselves continue to pay top dollar for something that, arguably, should be free in the first place.

  4. Gary Delaney Says:

    Anyone looking for a PostCode will only have to visit a web map once for each location.
    This code once tested and in use will be available to any SatNav manufactuer, GIS developer, map maker etc – it is just that Garmin have had the foresight to help develop and test it when others have been talking about it for years.
    Discussions about the merits/dismerits of any system are welcome – but if the discussion continues for a number of years it is useful if someone goes and just does it to assist in the efficiency of vehicle managmenet. I am that person in this case.
    Geodirectory is a typical OSI related product – huge cost to make, huge cost to update and huge cost to use. Lets go and use a system that is kept up to date by the users themselves!!!
    Futhermore Geodirectory codes buildings at their centres(Not Geographically)- from a vehicle navigation point of view the building is of no interest – it is the access from the nearest road that is of value – and this may change frequently requiring a Coding system that is flexible – hence the need for a system such a PONC!!!
    See you there!!!

  5. John Dundon Says:

    Thanks for your reply Gary. Are you are saying that the postcode, from a vechicle management point of view, should be the access to a building rather than the building itself? If so, how does your system deal with an address with many access points – does it have many postcodes, or if there are many delivery points in the building, e.g. businesses, do they share the same postcode.

  6. Langer Dan Says:

    The idea sounds good, but if the algorithm for conversion from grid location to “Irish Post Code(tm)” is held only by GPS Ireland and some manufacturers, then it’s useless. For widespread adoption, it needs to be a postcode than anyone with a GPS location can convert to, without a private company getting involved.
    If GPS Ireland is the gatekeeper, then it’s no better than a postal based postcode system with copyright held by a government agency.
    Since this is just a mathematical transformation, I’m sure it can be reverse engineered, but that’s not the point – the algorithm should be available and open to public review.

  7. Gary Delaney Says:

    Eamon: Any place (Not builiding or structure but place in the same way as any place can be given a grid reference!) can have a PostCode and as stated on my website, where different persons/organisations are in the same buidling they can have the same main postcode if they wish but there is provision for an additional element which gives floor number……see the website explanation.
    As for the algorithm – that has my copyright at present but that does not have to be the case for the future. Lets see if we can get it off the ground first and you can be sure that I will want as many people as possible to have access to the conversion – lets just see…
    See you there……

  8. Denis Hennessy Says:

    How does this postcode system relate to the (long overdue and often delayed) system that An Post are apparently introducing (see and ). It sounds like a disaster if there were two incompatible postcode systems in Ireland. The best solution would obviously be for both system to use the same mapping algorithm and then we could get the GPS goodness now and the postal goodness later with the same codes.

  9. Gary Delaney Says: is now available and providing PON Codes as a new means of post coding Ireland. This system is now also available on Garmin Nuvi 700 series SatNav’s for those who want to test it!!!

  10. garydubh Says:

    PON Codes now fully released as Loc8 Codes and directly supported on Garmin SatNavs see

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