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Royal Mail tests location device
A postman using a device to map the exact location of homes and businesses in a move which could improve satellite navigation systems (Royal Mail/PA)
The Royal Mail is trialling a device to map the exact location of homes and businesses in a move which could improve satellite navigation systems in cars.
It is being launched in East Anglia and will be rolled out across the UK later in the year if it is successful.
Post workers will be mapping the GPS longitude, latitude and altitude co-ordinates of every property in East Anglia using a satellite receiver - a distance measurement device which resembles a camera or pair of binoculars.
The Royal Mail stressed it will not collect any personal or confidential information, saying the initiative will help improve the accuracy of location-based data.
Royal Mail's Keith Jones, who is leading the initiative, said: "For individuals and companies, many everyday activities involve using information which is based on the location of an address. The emergency services, satellite navigation systems used by motorists and smartphone applications use this information.
"Mapping the co-ordinates which are accurate to the front door of addresses across the UK will help improve the accuracy of this information. Royal Mail has a long history of providing location-based information used by the emergency services, government departments, local authorities and tens of thousands of businesses across the UK."
Letters have been sent to residents in East Anglia explaining the scheme which Royal Mail said it was undertaking in response to a need by businesses and consumers for more accurate information.
A spokesman for the Communication Workers Union said: "We believe Royal Mail is the best organisation to capture and maintain address data - it should improve the existing delivery point database and enhance the postcode address file which is managed by Royal Mail.
"We raised concerns about resource and customer reaction to this new work and Royal Mail has taken these concerns on board. Postal workers who volunteer for this work in place of their deliveries will be fully trained.
"It's an ambitious project which could significantly improve the accuracy of positional data and it seems right to us that the UK's leading postal company undertakes this work."