Why the current Eircode design must be dropped

Meath CoCo are, this coming week, to debate Eircode. The following is briefing material which has been sent to them on Eircode , supplied to me by but not produced by Loc8. Although this is a competitor, it has the massive advantage of being FREE. I reproduce this ‘as is’ for comment. Any comments by myself are contained within [brackets]

Why the current Eircode design must be dropped.

• As a result of its design, key Heritage and Tourist sites such as Newgrange and the Hill of Tara cannot have an Eircode. Eircode will not therefore, be useable for many elements of the Heritage, Tourism, Sporting, Angling, Logistics, Religious, Education, Marine, Farming and Forestry sectors in Ireland.

• Eircode will not improve the known ambiguity of Irish property addressing and therefore will not improve health and safety or general public safety and related duties of care for Local Authorities ; See here

• Eircode is not supported by any major technology companies including those who produce navigation systems such as Garmin or TomTom, which will make it difficult for ordinary people and tourists to use in their daily lives.

• The postal districts to be built into Eircode will extend new Dublin 4 and Dublin 6W like postal areas (routing keys) across the whole country with associated changes to property and business values as well as the apparent rezoning of land. This will have significant implications for Local Authorities and will result in many representations to Councillors. These new areas have never been published for consideration. [ this should be interesting….but it is in fairness something that comes with most  postcode systems. What is worrying is that these areas are not public. Why? ]

• Eircode has never been tested, piloted or certified fit-for-purpose. In all other countries a new postcode is piloted in a small population centre before national roll-out. This is not planned for Eircode. Eircode has never even been presented to a focus group for evaluation. A sample CD recently sent to industry groups, contained no Eircodes in order to allow evaluation and no indication of the new Dublin 4 like postal areas (routing keys) planned for the rest of the country

• Major Industries on which the success of Eircode is dependent have expressed serious concerns about the structure of Eircode. The Freight Transport Association, whose members deliver the bulk of goods to business and houses across Ireland (DHL, FEDEX, UPS, DPD etc) have said they will not use it and Emergency Services’ representatives have said it could cost lives. [This really is a killer – these people KNOW the benefits of postcodes. That they will go without, or with an unofficial system, rather than use the proposed one, that really tells us something]

• Minister White, and Rabbitte before him, has never engaged with and effectively ignored key user/industry groups in relation to Eircode and have repeatedly stated that the total cost of Eircode will be €27 million when it is known that it will cost the economy in excess of €100m. The specific costs of for Local Authorities have never been quantified. [More mushroom treatment…]

• Eircode is not the hierarchical code that was tendered for and it has never been subjected to a cost benefit analysis. It does not comply with the requirements identified by the National Postcode Board which was established by Minister Dempsey in 2006 to set out requirements.

• Eircode is over dependent on GPS and mobile phone technology to use it and will not be useable by an average citizen just by looking at it. It is deliberately randomised which will cause confusion. It contains none of the qualities of the UK postcode which are well proven to be useful to all user groups. [ the great thing about a UK style code, and they pioneered them, is that by looking at a map one can see what the code is. This Eircode, no..]

• Those who are contracted to deliver Eircode are a UK company which has no experience in postcodes and the tender that they won has been judged to have breached an EC regulation by a 18 month long EC investigation which also determined that it did not comply with EU/Irish best practice nor Department of Finance guidelines

• Eircode is currently the subject of an ongoing Joint Oireachtas Transport and Communication Committee Hearing which has no deadline for reporting.

• Eircode is currently the subject of a Comptroller & Auditors General investigation which is due to report after Eircode is rolled out. [horse, stable door…. ] 

Eircode is bad for citizens, bad for business, bad for tourism and bad for our emergency services. The manner it was launched by Pat Rabbitte ignored the Postcode Working Group & ignored expert advice. While Rabbittes successor, Alex White, has to date ignored all valid criticism of Eircode from interested parties.

• Eircode will be an expensive fiasco just like eVoting & PPARS in the past. [ well, probably not as expensive]

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10 thoughts on “Why the current Eircode design must be dropped

  1. Gary Delaney

    Brian,

    One small point, Loc8  did not provide the briefing to Meath Co Co it was another party and they copied us in. Be great if you could discreetly/ quietly correct so councillors do not think they are being manipulated by Loc8.  If this gets over line, will be hoping to get other Councils to pass the motion also.

    Many thanks

    Gary Sent on the move Gary Delaney

    Reply
  2. Pat Donnelly

    FTAI concerns? John Tuohy of Nightline exposed them comprehensively at his appearance before Joint Committee on Transport and Communications

    Deputy Michael Moynihan: I welcome the delegates from Nightline. There have been a few detractors with regard to the introduction of the Eircode system. It is refreshing to hear the volume of business Nightline has throughout the country and that it is in favour of this system. A number of people, including those in the emergency services, have been critical of it with respect to a raft of issues. I am not sure if the witnesses are aware of such criticism of the way it is proposed to implement the system. How would the delegates reassure such detractors, particularly some members of the emergency services who have been in contact with us, that what is proposed is the right way to go?

    Mr. John Tuohy: I believe the emergency services have come on board in support of the Eircode system now that they have been provided with more information on how it will work. I do not believe the emergency services are officially against its implementation. However, some other companies in our industry have been critical of it. Those are multinational companies that are minority players in the Irish market. However, they are big corporations in their own right, which means their voices are disproportionately loud in this conversation. The issue multinational corporations have with the proposed system is that they adopt a one-size-fits-all model for their computer systems. They use the same systems in every country in the world, systems that were largely developed 30 or 40 years ago. Such systems would support UK- or US-style postcodes but they would not support this new and innovative system. Those corporations would have to spend money adapting their systems to the Irish market and, for them, the market is probably too small for them to do that. Rather than changing their systems to support the new postcode, such corporations would prefer to change the new postcodes to work with their older computer systems. That is the issue that multinationals operating in this market – which are big companies in their own right, even though they are minority players – have with this new system.

    I draw a comparison between the introduction of this system and the design of the Dublin Port tunnel 12 or 14 years ago prior to its construction. In a similar way, minority interests said the port tunnel would be too small for trucks to be driven through it. I drove through it on my way into town this morning and I can assure the members there were no trucks stuck in it. That tunnel was built to EU standards that were new at that time, but a number of minority-interest operators in the market had lorries that were built to an older UK standard, which would not fit in the tunnel. Those operators wanted us to redesign the tunnel in order that their trucks would fit through it, as opposed to redesigning their trucks to the new EU standard. The members will note the parallel I am drawing. Similarly, a small number of multinational corporations do not like our new postcode system because it does not fit their systems. They do not want to spend money changing their systems to suit it and, therefore, they will shout loudly to try to persuade us to change our postcodes to suit them. It may appear that I am being cynical, but I think that is exactly what is going on. It is a similar debate.

    Reply
    1. brianmlucey Post author

      Pat
      Thanks for this. I appreciate that there is not, and never will be, unanimity on anything. And Nightline know their business. But the fact remains that they are very much on the other side of the fence here. The vast majority of potential users are not going to so use. Now, they might all be out of step with Nightline, but I doubt it.

      Reply
      1. Pat Donnelly

        Brian,
        Hundreds of potential user organisations across logistics, insurance, emergency services, mapping providers, banking, retail, etc. have been contacted by Eircode. They all will use Eircode, adoption is a matter of when, not if. That is the vast majority. The Eircode design debate isn’t real, it is similar to the “climate change debate”. There are no “better” alternatives available, their designs are all vastly inferior. The public, tourists, etc. will always have free access to Eircode lookups without the need to pay, or a need to access a database. If you really are interested in understanding this subject I’d be happy to buy you a coffee and explain.

  3. Damien

    Just to tackle some of the points you make which are clearly wrong….

    “As a result of its design, key Heritage and Tourist sites such as Newgrange and the Hill of Tara cannot have an Eircode”

    They will not have an Eircode at the launch, however there is no reason in the world why one cannot be added later. Eircode has space for millions of these in its code, its just a matter of adding them to the database.

    “Eircode will not improve the known ambiguity of Irish property addressing”

    This comment could not be more wrong. Eircode will provide every single address in every single property with a unique postcode, which no other proposed system will do.

    “Eircode is not supported by any major technology companies”

    its not currently supported as it has not been released. What you are looking for is impossible.

    However it should be noted that it should be quite trivial to get Eircode on GPS devices etc, as it would be loaded onto the device in exactly the same manner as all of the other postcode files, such as the UK postcode database is, and would be roughly the same size. (The entire UK postcode file of 1.7 million addresses is a download of about 10 megs for tom tom. The Eircode file would be the same size).

    Reply
    1. brianmlucey Post author

      Damien
      a) Eircode is for mailboxes, as I and most understand them. IF it is possible to give Eircodes to places that are not going to get mail, thats news
      b) Eircode may not have been released but it also seems not to have been field tested. Has it? Products are usually test marketed before launch
      B

      Reply
      1. Damien

        To take your point even further, not only could an Eircode be assigned to a location which does not get mail, virtual Eircodes could also be created which would be unrelated to a geographic location. This could for example be used for po boxes, or alternatively in a manner similar to the UK where vanity postcodes are provided to places like Buckingham palace. Neither of these things can be achieved using loc8.

        Of course the fact that they can be used in this manner does not mean that they will be, but its good to have the option in the future. This is common knowledge for anyone with an understanding of postcodes – just look at the UK.

        I’ve no idea if it has been “field tested” whatever that means, but it would certainly require much less testing than loc8, as you are just compiling a list rather than developing and testing software algorithms which would need to be implemented multiple times for multiple devices on multiple operating systems , as would be the case if loc8 was used.

        So in summary, loc8 will:

        – give every address a single unique identifier
        – easily fit on all devices currently using postcodes
        – allow much more flexibility in the future

        compared to loc8 which would:

        – give many properties more than one valid postcode
        – give the same postcode to multiple properties

        Given the above how can you possibly think that loc8 is a better code?

        Of course the cost argument is a different one, but loc8 was never going to be free either.

  4. Pingback: The Eircode mess – a view from the USA. | Brian M. Lucey

  5. van kleffens

    Recently I ordered goods from UK (DPD) and the Netherlands (TNT) with my new Eircode . Only with telephone calls I got the packages. They do not use the Eircode. Also was said they can only use 40 a day..

    Reply
  6. Pingback: Emergency services brand Eircode ‘worse than useless’ | Irish Examiner | Brian M. Lucey

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