I. The Base Adresse National (BAN) Project


Interaction type  Government and Public Synergy -> Public
Trigger Event Adoption of new governmental policies which bring people in the center of the decision process.
Domain Topographic Data (National Address Database).
Organisation(s) IGN, La Poste, the OpenStreetMap France association, local authorities, governmental agencies and the General Secretariat for Modernization of Public Action (SGMAP) through Etalab
Actors IGN, La Poste, the OpenStreetMap France association, local authorities, governmental agencies and the General Secretariat for Modernization of Public Action (SGMAP) through Etalab
Data sets in use Addresses
Process All involved partners will contribute their existing data and along with the help of citizens the consolidated database will be kept up-to-date.
Feedback A national address database which functions a common reference dataset.
Goal Create a complete and up-to-date address database for France which will be free and open for everyone.
Side effects The creation of novel synergies between government and the citizens
Contact Point Online Resources


The Base Addresse National (BAN) project is a database with the purpose to reference all the addresses of the French territory. The project’s aim is to provide all the necessary data for the French addresses, facilitate access for all interested parties including citizens, provide on-line tools and services to use the recorded data and enable everyone to contribute to the improvement of its content.

The BAN project is a collaborative effort of the IGN, La Poste, the OpenStreetMap France Association, local authorities and other governmental agencies under the auspice of the General Secretariat for Modernization of the Public Action (SGMAP) and its mission Etalab. The project is co-governed by the General Data Administrator and the National Geographic Information Council. The data and the project’s description and tools are available from the adresse.data.gouv.fr developed by the Etalab. Etalab is a mission created in 2011 responsible for the policy of opening and sharing public data of the French government, aiming for an open government.

Despite the fact that BAN is a quite technical and practical project, its initiation can be traced back to principles and directions of European Union (EU). EU is embracing the best practices and urges its members to follow the methods put forward by the Open Government Partnership initiative. In this context, and following the directions of the President of France, the governmental authorities need to build national action plans with civil society and commit themselves to respect and implement the principles of transparency, consultation and co-production. To this end, in 2015 France has announced the national plan “Pour une action publique transparente et collaborative”. One of those actions is the BAN project. The French government sees BAN as a project that highlights the will of the administration to create and maintain large collaborative common goods, such as the addresses, to build them with open source information systems and to serve their economic dynamic, the efficiency of public services and the autonomy of citizens. Thus, on April 15th 2015, the French Secretary of State for State Reform and Simplification, inaugurated the launch of the collaborative and free French National Address Database (“Base Adresse Nationale” – BAN).

In parallel with this high-end support, the BAN project is offering a solution to a number of practical problems. For example, 300 million letters and parcels return each year to their shipper for a cost that severely reduces the revenues of the French Post Service. Moreover, various French authorities had many, yet different, incomplete and incompatible address databases making any effort complicated, costly and time-consuming to keep all of them up-to-date. This situation, perhaps explains the BANO project, an effort by the French OpenStreetMap community (that took place before the BAN project) to create an open address database. However, today, the BAN project is more exhaustive than BANO (26M addresses against 16M), the BANO project is updated daily from the cadastre and the OSM data while BAN is updated once a week and BANO contains data on places without a numbered address.

The BAN associates each address of the French territory with its geographic coordinates. It does not contain any nominative data. It was built from the addresses databases of the participating governmental agencies and by citizen contributions. The data contributed have been harmonized, reconciled and the redundant names have been eliminated. Through the website adresse.data.gouv.fr, municipalities, enterprises and citizens can contribute and freely use this database on the principles of collaboration (share, improve and reuse a common good). The database is designed both to quickly identify all addresses on French territory and also manage the 200,000 to 300,000 addresses created each year.

The BAN project, apart from data curation, offers benefits to all stakeholders. For example, enables the municipalities to handle their daily address management by allowing to create, geotag or alter addresses and thus reducing bureaucracy and costs. For the private sector, the BAN project is a reliable and optimum tool for their mailing lists. It offers quality guarantee and allows addresses geolocation. For citizens, the BAN aims to propose a new solution to their addresses geolocation requirements on the address database authenticated by La Poste and the IGN. Furthermore, it allows emergency services and first responders to improve their efficiency.

All these are achieved through a number of tools and services that have been built on top of BAN project such as a free downloader for the address files, a geocoder comparable to web tools provided by internet giants, APIs for programmable integration and management, a Local Address Counter (Guichet Adresse Mairie) to support municipalities in creating, identifying and numbering the road network and an interactive map for exploring the data. Moreover, an error reporting is under development and until its completion errors can be reported to the managing bodies.

The project’s data are available under a dual license system: either a license with identical sharing (which can be either the dedicated license developed by La Poste and the IGN or an ODbL license via the diffusion made by OpenStreetMap France) and a paying license for traditional customers of the address who not wish to enter the logic of contribution.

As a side effect of the BAN project the success of a collaborative mentality between public authorities and civil society can be highlighted. The BAN is the product of an innovative collaboration model between public authorities, public actors and civil society so to build an essential registry for the economy, society and public services. This effort contributes to the modernizing of the government and of the local authorities by engaging them in open data policies, in the maintenance of a contributory common resource and in the co-production of an open source information system.

Main lessons:

  • High level governmental support can quickly set the basis for solving long standing bureaucratic problems.
  • Collaborative mentality can lead to successful projects.
  • Public participation is crucial for mass data collection and curation.