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Digital Address Code (DAC) by India Post | Suggestion/Feedback on Draft Approach Paper for creating a Digital Address Code (DAC) for each address in the country

Suggestion/Feedback  on  Draft  Approach   Paper  for   creating   a  Digital Address Code for each address in the country - reg.

Government of India Ministry of Communication9 Department of Posts Mail Operations Division Dak Bhawan, New Delhi- 110 001 No:25-03/2021-D 


Dated: 18.10.2021

All Stakeholders

Department of Posts is in the process of creating a Digital Address Code for each address in the country.

2.        In this regard, an Approach Paper has been developed on the approach proposed to  be  adopted  by  the  Department  for  creating  Digital  Address  Code.    A  copy  of  the Approach Paper is attached.

3.        Suggestions/feedback on the draft Approach Paper on creating a Digital Address Code   (DAC)   may   be   forwarded   to   the  undersigned   by   posts   or   on  e-mail   i.d. & by 20th November, 2021.

Encl. Approach Paper on DAC

(Ajay Kumar Roy

DDG (Mail Operations)

Government of India

Department of Posts

Digital Address Code -  Approach Paper

1.  Why Digital Address Code?

a)  Online business transactions  to be fulfilled by delivery at doorsteps,  have seen an  exponential   rise  after  the  onset  of  Covid  19  pandemic.   Reaching   the addressee  by  means  of  conventional  addresses  and  landmarks  is  arduous. Sharing  of location  is often resorted  to at the last mile. Such interventions  can be  avoided,  if  the  address  can  be  identified  digitally  and  the  digital  address identity  replaces  the descriptive  address  needed  for fulfillment  of the business transaction.

b)  Authentication   of   identity   and   address   are   needed   for   various   business processes.  Aadhaar  is  the  digital  identity  platform  that  has  facilitated  online authentication  of  identity.  A  similar  system  for  address  authentication  would simplify   business   processes.   Geospatial   coordinates   can  be  used   as   the signature  for  authentication  of  addresses,  similar  to  biometrics  in  respect  of identity.  Any  random  location  on  a  digital  map  cannot  be  an  address.  An address represents  a residence, business entity or monument. Hence there is a need for an identity to the address, linked to its geospatial coordinates, so that it can be irrevocably identified and authenticated.

c)  Aadhaar  is commonly  used as proof  of address.  But,  Aadhaar  address cannot be  digitally  authenticated,  since  it  does  not  have  any  attribute  that  can  be verified  with  reference  to  the  digital  location.  All  address  proof  documents currently in use suffer from the same deficiency. An address that can be digitally authenticated  must  be linked  to the digital  location  (geospatial  coordinates)  of the  address.  Such  a digital  address  identity  could  be  used  for  online  address authentication.

d)  Use of fake addresses is at the root of eCommerce customer frauds. There is a need  for  verified  addresses   linked   to  geospatial  coordinates   that  can  be authenticated online.

e)  What  is  needed  is  an  address  identity  that  is  unique,  linked  to  geospatial coordinates  and  is usable  by  all  stakeholders.  Digital  Address  Code  (DAC)  is proposed as a solution. It would be an input that could be keyed in or captured out  of  a  QR  code  by  apps  of  service  providers  and  would  be  cognizable  by digital maps.

2.  What would be the attributes of DAC?

a)  DAC   would   be  linked  to  geospatial  coordinates   representing   the  address. Coordinates at the entrance or gate to the address would represent the address for this purpose.

b)  Exceptions: In respect of sensitive establishments whose geospatial coordinates should  not  be disclosed,  DAC  may  not  be  issued  or  it  may  be  linked  to  the coordinates   of   a   ‘neighborhood’  or   city.   The   concept   of   neighborhood   is elaborated  in this document. 

The same process would be applied to the DAC of addresses  in respect  of which the addressees  do not  want  to share  geospatial coordinates due to privacy concerns. In such cases, the addressees can use the neighborhood   code  and  manage  with  descriptive  addresses   as  is  done  at present for the last mile.

c    DAC would be unique for each address. “Address” would mean each individual dwelling unit or 

office or business. 

Some illustrations:

a.  Independent  house  will be  one  address  with  one  DAC.  If  the  house  is partitioned  into two, there would be an additional address  with additional DAC. Depending on the area occupied by the undivided property and the standards  used  for  capture  of  geospatial  coordinates,  the  two  DACs would be linked to the same coordinates or different coordinates.

b.  In  an  Apartment  building,  each  individual  apartment  would  be  allotted DAC. They will be linked to the geospatial coordinates of the entrance to the Apartment building or block.

c.   A  corporate  office  or  a  government   office  complex  would  also  have multiple  DACs  linked  to  the  geospatial  coordinates  of  the  building  in which the offices are located.

d.  In respect  of apartment  buildings  and office complexes,  the DACs  have to be mapped  to the respective  apartments/  offices to locate the specific apartment/ office represented by the DAC.

d)  DAC  would  be  permanent  for  each  address.  If  the  property  representing  the address gets mutated into multiple addresses each of the new addresses would be allotted new DAC.

e)  Directionality and intuitiveness  are desirable characteristics of any address.   An address   is   used   to  locate   a   physical   entity   for   the  purpose   of  effecting delivery, for attending a meeting  and so on. Hence a good address would give a sense of direction or orientation.

3.  Scope of Digital Address:

a.  Digital  Address  could  be  defined  as  a  unique,  standard  and  permanent identification of a physical  address  on a digital map. The  address  needs to be  differentiated from  the addressee.  The  digital  address  is an  attribute  of the  physical  address.  The  same  address could be associated  with multiple addressees.  While  the  address  is  unique,  the  addressee  is  not,  in  the context of addressing.

b.  Digital Address  would enable locating an address, not addressee.  Typically, for a consignment to reach the consignee (addressee),  one needs the name of the consignee and the address of the location where the consignment has to be delivered. Digital address takes care of the latter. A combination  of the name of the addressee (consignee) and the digital address would enable the delivery of a consignment.

c.   Changeable  parameters  like  street  numbers/  names,  colony  names  etc. would not become a part of the Digital Address.

4.  Designing Digital Address Code (DAC) for India:

a.  An address comprising references to physical attributes like roads etc would easily  get  outdated  and  hence  would  not  meet  the  permanence  criterion. Digital   address   code   would   be   a   unique   numeric   or   alphanumeric representation  of  the  geospatial  coordinates.   A  random  code  linked  to geospatial coordinates,  would be abstract. There is a need for a code that is standardized, directional and intuitive.

b.  In  the  Indian  context  a  numeric  code  is  desirable,  vis-â-vis  alphanumeric codes, considering the multitude of languages. Moreover, numeric codes are better suited for IVRS.

c.   DAC is expected to identify each address uniquely and link the address to its geospatial  coordinates.  In order to make the DAC intuitive,  two approaches are proposed:

i.   DAC  with  state  code:    First  two  digits  of  the  PIN  codes  in  India indicate  the  state.  State  codes  could  be derived  from  the  PIN code schema. The disadvantages  with this 

approach are:

1.  Two  digits  will  be  taken  up  upfront,  elongating  the  eventual

DAC, which is avoidable.

2.  Although  there  would  be  adequate  redundancy  to  allow  for creation of new states, there would be an en masse change of DAC which violates the permanence principle of DAC.

ii.   Generation  of  DAC  using  geospatial  workflow:  In this  approach,  the territorial jurisdiction of India can be represented with digits from 0 to 9 as  illustrated  in  Annexure  1.  (it  would  not  be  necessary  to  use  all digits;  a  couple   of  digits  could  be  reserved  for  redundancy).   By adopting an appropriate geospatial workflow calibrated  with habitation density  or  population  density,  it  would  be  possible  to  develop  an architecture   to  

digitally   identify  and  allocate   DAC   to  a  group  of addresses or even individual addresses.

Considering    the    advantages    of    an    automated    process    and    the disadvantages   of  using  state  codes,  the  second  approach  is  considered appropriate and discussed further.

d.  The  number  of digits  to  be  used  in DAC  needs  to be  assessed.  There  are approximately 35 crore (350 million) households in India. Taking into account businesses  and  other  non-household  locations,  the  number  of  addresses could  be  estimated  at  75  crore  (750  million)  which  could  be  further  safely approximated  at 100 crore (1 billion).  With 11 digits, it would be possible  to cover  100  billion  addresses.    Hence  it  is  proposed  to  have  11  digits  +  1 check digit, totaling 12 digits.

e.  There can be two approaches to the rest of the digits of the DAC:

Allocate  random  numbers: In  this  approach,  10  random  digits  will  be appended  to  the  initial  digit  (0  to  9)  ensuring  uniqueness  of  the  11 digit   number   so  generated.   The DAC   so   generated   would   lack inherent intelligence or directionality.

ii.   Allocate  numbers  following  an  appropriate  geospatial  workflow:  The geographical  area  of  India  is  3.287  million  sq  kms.  A  seven  digit number  would  be  able  to  cover  0.3287 sq  kms  or  a  square  of  573 metres, if the geographical  area is evenly sub-divided. In reality, there would  be  sparsely  populated  and  densely  populated  regions.  There would  be  large  water  bodies  and  reserve  forests  that  would  not  be having  any  address.  By  adopting  an  algorithm  that  uses  habitation/ population   density,   it   would   be   feasible  to   design   a   geospatial workflow   that   allocates   the   subsequent   digits   on   the   basis   of habitation density.

f.   DAC  is  the  standardized  representation  of  a  descriptive  address,  linked  to the geospatial coordinates.  Since it has to guide the user to the destination, it is not confidential. Disclosing a combination of addressee and the address, without  consent,  would  be a breach  of privacy,  not the address  perse.The second   approach   that   provides   a   standardized   representation   of   the descriptive  address  and  is  directional,  is  considered   appropriate and  is discussed further.

g.  In densely populated areas, the area per address could be as low as 3 to 5 sq m (In multi-storied apartments the ground area is shared by the individual apartments).  In  sparsely  populated  areas  there  may  not  be  addresses  in several  kms  also.  Formation  of  grids  with  uniform  geographical  areas  like 5mx5m etc is not very useful in such a scenario. There is a need to design a solution that takes into consideration  variations  in habitation density. Hence, it is proposed to design a geospatial workflow  solution that can identify non- linear ‘grids'comprising approximately  300 addresses.

h.  In the proposed  design,  it can be seen that each ‘grid’ would be essentially be an agglomeration  of around 300 addresses.  Each such agglomeration  is proposed  to  be  termed  as  a  neighborhood.  As  a  design  criterion,  it  is proposed  to allocate  4  digits to identify  addresses  in a  neighborhood.  The DAC  of  the  neighborhood  would  end  with  4  zeros.  The  DAC  that  will  be allocated   to  a  neighborhood   by  the  system   would  be  something   

like: xxxxxxx0000c,  where  c  is  a  check  digit.  Going  by  an  estimated  75  crore addresses currently, the number of neighborhoods  in India would be around 25 lakhs.

The  last  4  digits  in  respect  of  the  addresses  within  a  neighborhood  are proposed to be allocated with a system driven consent process, to uniquely identify  the  address.  Until  such  time,  all  addresses  within  a  neighborhood would  end  with  ‘0000’.  Allocation  of  DAC  up  to  neighbourhood   level  is proposed to be by an automated process.

j.   Unique   identification   of   addresses    would   be   an   important   national 

infrastructure.  Apart  from  the  utility  for  the  logistics  and  the  eCommerce industry,  it would be an important tool in targeting  social sector benefits.  In order to be inclusive, even the smallest dwelling unit would get DAC. Hence satellite imagery with 5 m resolution is proposed to be used.

k.   It is possible  that new cities may  emerge  in sparsely  populated  areas. The proposed schema  would be able to allocate DAC in such scenarios,  without altering the DACs already  allocated in other areas. In order to ensure such redundancy, it is proposed  to reserve two digits in each of digit-places  from digit  2  to  digit  7  of  DAC.  This  strategy  will  ensure  that  directionality  is sustained in the DAC schema.

I.    Since the DAC would be linked to the geospatial coordinates of the address location, it would be feasible  to locate any physical address  accurately  on a digital map, without having to provide any other information like name of city/ locality/ street/ door number etc.

m.  Digital  address  code  (DAC)  is expected  to fulfill  the  requirements  put forth regarding  One Nation One Address  (ONOA)  by Working  Group of Ministers on Employment Generation and Skill 

Development dated 22 Oct 2020.

5.   Value Additions:

a.  There would be a process  for verification of DACs. Verified DACs would be eligible for online 

address authentication service.

b.  Address  changes  can  be  easily  notified  by  changing  the  DAC  associated with the addressee.

6.  Benefits of DAC:

a.   The  proposed  DAC  would  be  linked  to  geospatial  coordinates.   Address authentication could be provided as online  service. It would be an important step forward in Ease of Living.  KYC  verification process in business sectors like banking, insurance,  telecom etc. would be simplified. This would further result   in   reduced   cost   of   doing   business.   DAC   online authentication combined with Aadhaar authentication would be a truly digital eKYC.

b.  DAC  would  lead  to  higher  productivity  and  quality  of  service  in  delivery services, 

especially eCommerce.

c.   Adoption   of  DAC   would   lead   to  increased   financial   and  administrative efficiencies   across   sectors   like  property   taxation,   emergency   response, disaster  management,   election  management,   infrastructure  planning  and management, census operations and grievance redressal.

d.  DAC would simplify delivery and implementation of Government  Schemes.

Download DAC in PDF

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