Is Loc8 becoming the default post code for Ireland?

17 Jan 2012

Adventurer Charley Boorman launching Loc8codes in 2010

In the absence of an official system, Loc8 codes are becoming the default post code for Ireland, Loc8 founder and former naval officer Gary Delaney has claimed. Some 80,000 Loc8 codes have been accessed by the public in the last year and 200,000 codes have been created by Loc8 users.

Unlike traditional post codes which are pre-web, the Loc8 web-based code map can help businesses and other services reach more than 400,000 non-property-based destinations, as well as traditional property addresses.

Ireland’s small but geographically spread population traditionally negated the urgent need for post codes. However, with the advent of e-commerce, GPS systems and smartphones, any nation without a functioning post code system is at a disadvantage.

And Delaney has also pointed out that already there are reports of ambulances being delayed because they cannot find the address of a patient.

Traditional post codes, he said, will not solve the problem but web-connected codes like the Loc8 codes will prove vital.

A plan to introduce traditional area-based post codes is now four years too late and appears to have been shelved by the new Government, Delaney pointed out.

A Loc8 code is a carefully structured and self-checking code which defines any destination to within a few metres, allowing commercial vehicles to find even the right access gate to a site. However, shortened Loc8 codes can also be used to just find general areas, but the experience from analysis of web searches to date clearly shows that the big demand in Ireland is for precise Loc8 codes that define pinpoint rather than general area destinations.

Delaney’s start-up Loc8, which operates from the village of Crosshaven in Cork, is already generating new jobs and its web-based technology is compatible with Garmin Navigon, Google and TomTom, as well as iPhone apps.

The 80,000 individual Loc8 code lookups included the public looking up the location of Loc8 codes which they had been given by others or following Loc8 code map links on business and community websites to see their exact locations on the associated Ordnance Survey web mapping. This figure does not include the tens of thousands of mobile uses of Loc8 codes on sat navs and iPhone apps.

Businesses need post codes for the digital age

More than 5,000 businesses now display their Loc8 code on their website to help visitors find them more quickly;- including hotels, guest houses, tourist features, food outlets, farms and sporting locations. Most notably, the GAA and local authorities are users of Loc8 codes and the growing number of users, which recently hit 8,000/month, highlights how both locals and tourists alike have come to depend on Loc8 codes for quickly finding places both in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Delaney stated that his office frequently gets enquiries from as far way as Australia looking for Loc8 codes for holiday or business destinations around the country.

“During 2011, Loc8 codes of the Clayton Hotel in Galway, the Crowne Plaza Park & Fly in Dublin and Airside Airport Parking in Dublin were pinpointed on Loc8 code web maps over 2,000 times each and Ummera Smoked Food Products in West Cork was pinpointed nearly 700 times. In Northern Ireland, the most popular Loc8 code lookups include both medical and religious sites; Altnagelvin Hospital in Derry being the most popular, having been pinpointed on the Loc8 code webmap more than 500 times in the last year.

“These are all in addition to the 200,000 Loc8 codes that have been created by users for their own private or business properties, both through the web service and the associated iPhone app, since Loc8 code launched 18 months ago,” Delaney said.

Loc8 codes have also been associated with more than 1.7m addresses in An Post’s Geodirectory address database for specialist customers taking orders for services via the web, he added.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years