The City of Johannesburg (COJ) has partnered with location-based services company, AfriGIS, in a street address verification project to ensure reliable property information as a prerequisite for a credible billing process and service delivery to people living within the metropol.
Retha van Wyk, CoJ acting deputy-director: data administration and mapping, says previously the City's street address information was contained in various stand-alone property databases such as valuations, GIS, planning and billing.
"The city decided to develop its land information system (LIS) as the single source of property information in the city. The LIS contains property-related workflow processes that cut across departments, is spatially enabled, and provides an interface to the billing system, which runs on SAP," she says.
Physical street addresses were identified as one of the property datasets within the LIS which needed to be updated as a requirement of the Property Rates Act (No.6 of 2004) and the Financial Intelligence Centre Act (FICA) 38 of 2001, in conjunction with the National Credit Act that came into effect on 1 June 2007.
"Historically, the different Metropolitan Local Councils allocated and maintained street addresses according to their own standards and methodologies. Some areas within the CoJ used different combinations of stand numbers, plot numbers and farm portion numbers as a result. This in turn meant that some properties could not be uniquely identified and duplication occurred within the database," she says.
In 2007, a request for tender was issued for the verification, allocation and implementation of street addresses, which was granted to AfriGIS.
Magnus Rademeyer, AfriGIS MD, says the company was tasked with the verification of about 400 000 street numbers and associated street names already captured on GIS.
"The brief also included verifying current addresses and addresses reserved for future use, as well as matching addresses between CoJ's database and AfriGIS' National Address Database (NAD)," he says. "AfriGIS also utilised digital cameras with GPS capabilities for the verification of the street addresses in use.
"To date, approximately 18 000 photos of street addresses have been taken and spatially compared to the captured street numbers on GIS."
AfriGIS was also tasked with allocating new street numbers in areas where stand numbers, plot numbers or farm portion numbers are in use, and entering those numbers into the existing street address database by means of the city's customised street address tool.
Van Wyk says Phase 1 of the project was completed in April 2008 and included 680 townships in the Western Area of Johannesburg. Street addresses for approximately 80 000 stands were verified against the NAD and other datasets within the Council. Approximately 35 500 addresses were captured on GIS and 400 new addresses required implementation.
"Phase 2 of the project commenced in April 2008 and is expected to be completed by the end of May 2009. The area includes the rest of the City of Johannesburg, thus approximately 4200 townships (666 000 stands) were to be verified. A total of 1500 townships have already been verified and an additional 120 000 street addresses were captured by 30 September 2008. Before completion of the project, approximately 100 000 stands still require verification," she says.
Van Wyk says previously stand alone street address databases in the city contained data of various qualities that required cross comparisons, verifications and corrections.
"With the implementation of the LIS, operations within the city were improved as the LIS is now the only source of property-related information. Furthermore, the corporate geo-informatics directorate has been established as the custodian of physical street addresses within the city," she says.