Lost in translation: why digital address system needs urgent overhaul


It is of paramount importance to address the urgent matter of the National Digital Property Addressing System (NDPAS), also known as the Ghana Post GPS. In October 2017, the President of Ghana launched this system, with the goal of assigning a unique digital address to each location in Ghana. The aim was to create a spatial database of information for good governance and socio-economic development on a national scale. However, it has become apparent that the system is inadequate in its current state, and urgent action needs to be taken.

The Ghana Post GPS was designed to collect spatial data with base attributes, such as region and district information. However, this leaves the database lacking in complete attribute information, which is the most significant data for effective use. This attribute data is critical for making informed decisions and policies based on current information. Without complete attribute information, the Ghana Post GPS is ineffective in its purpose.

Following the implementation of Ghana Post GPS, the government instituted a policy mandating the provision of a digital address for certain services. This directive was enforced by multiple entities, including banks, the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), and the Registrar-General’s Department.

However, due to flaws in the design and implementation phase, the focus shifted from mapping properties to mapping individuals, which is impractical due to the transience of people. Consequently, the attribute data required for effective governance is now being amassed in disparate agencies’ databases that have no connection to Ghana Post GPS. Unfortunately, the limited attribute information available from Ghana Post GPS renders the government’s primary database for governance and socio-economic development ineffective in this regard.

In a country where a higher proportion of the population rents houses and business structures are owned by profit-driven individuals who are not regulated by any effective agency, the act of mapping individuals to properties rather than properties to individuals should be reconsidered. The entire digital addressing system needs to be reevaluated to ensure that it serves its intended purpose for good governance and socio-economic development. Urgent action is needed to address this matter and create a comprehensive spatial database information system that is up-to-date and effective for use.

>>>the writer is the founder of Where Geospatial, and currently the President of Where Geospatial Media – a non for profit organisation whose vision is to establish a geospatial ecosystem that aids development by utilising geospatial technologies. Professionally, he works as a GIS Solutions Engineer, assisting clients in integrating GIS technologies into their work processes to increase productivity through training and technical support. He occasionally publishes some of his thoughts in blogs. Email:  [email protected] LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/francis-andorful-2442a791

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