Tomtom maps out new code system

A new way of pinpointing and identifying any location on earth has been launched by mapping service TomTom, potentially spelling the end of the postcode.

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TomTom said Mapcodes are four to seven character codes that are unique to any and every location, making them easy to remember. This new system, it says, will enable users to identify any location on the planet accurately, within metres.

Pieter Geelen, co-founder of Mapcode said: “The idea of Mapcode came about when we saw that millions of locations around the world do not have a recognisable address and were hard to find. Introducing a Mapcode system means everyone is empowered with the ability to identify any location on earth, regardless of the country or its infrastructure.”

The new system works in a similar way to postcodes, but does not require a database to maintain a record of existing addresses. Instead, Mapcode uses a piece of free software that anyone can download. Then, by entering a location’s latitude and longitude, a Mapcode is generated for that location and then saved.

Harold Goddijn, CEO of TomTom, said: “Mapcode is an important development in creating a new global standard that makes it easy for anyone to pinpoint any location. The technology will be supported by TomTom, and we hope to see other organisations adopting it in the near future.”

This new process could be attractive to countries like the UK where businesses have to pay to access the Royal Mail’s Postcode Address File in order to see full postal addresses and postcodes. Using Mapcode, users of the software need only type in a location or scroll over the map like you do in Google Maps and drop a pin in order to see a location’s Mapcode.

The software was developed by the founders of TomTom, but has been donated to the Mapcode Foundation to ensure it is readily available.