ANANAN is in fact a fact – The postal code lawsuit is over vs CanadaPost Corp.

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Lawsuit Update

This is the final update on the status of Canada Post‘s copyright/trademark lawsuit against, Ervin Ruci and Geolytica.

Canada Post has discontinued this lawsuit.

The terms of settlement are confidential but our agreed statement is this:

Canada Post commenced court proceedings in 2012 against Geolytica Inc. for copyright infringement in relation to Geolytica Inc.’s Canadian Postal Code Geocoded Dataset and related services offered on its website at  The parties have now settled their dispute and Canada Post will discontinue the court proceedings.  The postal codes returned by various geocoder interface APIs and downloadable on, are estimated via a crowdsourcing process. They are not licensed by from Canada Post, the entity responsible for assigning postal codes to street addresses.  Geolytica continues to offer its products and services, using the postal code data it has collected via a crowdsourcing process which it created.

While it is unfortunate that it took Canada Post 4 years to come to this conclusion, this turn of events reinforces our long held position that our postal code data is crowd sourced.

As this is the last (mass) email you will receive on this topic, we thank you for your support and wish you all an “open data” future.

To read more about the history of this lawsuit, follow this link.

Ervin Ruci,

P.S. All excess donations and/or other funds we have received at the conclusion of this lawsuit, will be donated to those who conducted our legal defense pro bono over the past four years of legal wrangling, with special thanks to the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC) and RIDOUT & MAYBEE LLP.

I am not interested to fill your mailbox with unwanted email and I know you hate junk email as much as I hate frivolous lawsuits.
You are receiving this email because you have at some point in the past, emailed me in regards to the CanadaPost lawsuit.
While I would have preferred to personally respond to each and every one of you, that is not a viable option, logistically.
At any rate, this is the last email you will receive on this topic and I apologize if you’d have rather not received it.Still, if you feel like it, you can update your email preferences here or unsubscribe from this list.



Fosdem 2016

I presented an api for location entity recognition and geocoding at fosdem 2016 Geocoding the World with openaddresses.

This API can extract and geocode locations from Wikipedia articles or microblog posts with a high confidence score in places where the data is available. The EU version running at covers some countries pretty well (eg, Spain, The Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark) and others not so well (Poland, Slovakia, Estonia) because in the later case is missing street address names.

If you have your own address data get a copy of the server on the AWS and load it up on the local Mysql server. Then build your own real time twitter feed location tracker, or map the news of the day.

Or better yet, contribute to to improve this tool.

The minimal location entity set

A minimal location entity set is an alphanumeric description of a location which maps to a single point (Latitude, Longitude) without ambiguity, and is the shortest such description.
For example:
La Fàbrica del Sol, Passeig de Joan Salvat Papasseit, 1, 08003 Barcelona, Spain


While many geocoding systems attempt to return as much data as possible (such as alternative road names, neighborhood name, timezones, geohashes, Ordnance Survey gridrefs, calling codes, what3words, sunrise/sunset, and more) all this seems unnecessary since you may get this additional information of you perform a reverse geocoding lookup on the point.

Returning so much redundant information on an address lookup seems like a waste of space to me.

Let’s build a two step geocoding system, one that a) returns the most minimal info on the first request and b) returns all the rest of location details on the second.

Geocoder vs CanadaPost Lawsuit Updates
Lawsuit Update

CanadaPost’s lawsuit, now in its 4rth year, is ongoing and it looks like it is finally getting a court date soon (they have been quiet for a while, probably wishing to keep this under wraps until after the Federal Election.)

Either way, we are still here, and we are still providing a free database of postal addresses and postal codes that is bigger and better than ever.

The main database has grown considerably in the last 4 years, further proof that crowdsourcing works! As of the last update on 2015-09-30, 12613 new postal codes were added, with the total now approaching 1 million.

You may download all these data for free at (under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Canada License.)

Will keep you posted as to the latest developments from the federal court. All the best and thank you for your support.

Ervin Ruci

@Yapc::EU 2015 explaining fuzzy geocoding…

@Yapc::EU 2015 explaining fuzzy geocoding with


I gave a talk at State of the Map conference on crowdsourcing. (The slides are posted on my twitter feed , also available on Vimeo)

One observation I took home from the conference is that the state of public data around the word is similar to that in Canada, in the sense that governments and their affiliate entities hold on to the data for as long a possible, despite the fact that doing so, adversely affects the state of their economies and goes against the public good. (According to OSM France “Bano” project, a country loses up to 0.5% of its GDP due to lack of publicly available addressing data. Source)

Crowdsourcing the data is not an optimal solution, in the face of the lack a data feed from its authoritative source, because it results in datasets that contain errors. Still, this seems the only way to open up the data in my view, when the decision makers are convinced that keeping the data closed is better for their budgets (an interesting figure of 0.5 billion pounds was thrown around as the value of a closed post code list by the Royal Mail CEO Moya Greene, in her arguments for keeping the dataset closed. She also happened to be Canadapost’s CEO at the time they started their legal efforts aimed at enforcing CP’s alleged intellectual rights over Canadian postal codes.)

In France on the other hand they don’t have such problems, as they have not yet made the effort to create a post code system like the Canadian or the British ones, hence it is hard to make the half billion dollar argument there, still that does not mean that whatever system they have is open. People from the “Bano” project had to lobby hard to get the list of up to 1000 postal codes created by the French postal service open to the public, and when they actually did it was full of errors. Not only that but the French postal service has 4 different street address datasets (one for regular mail, one for advertising mail,  one for parcels and another one for a purpose I can’t remember now.) All 4 have quality issues, and the 4 different departments that created them do not talk nor cooperate with each other to improve their respective datasets. Funny stories of government inefficiency at the public’s expense. The Economist also wrote a piece on this topic a month ago.

In closing, public data all around the world is at various stages of unavailability because certain people of influence are convinced they are worth a lot of money. Nobody has yet shown how much money they are actually making from licensing this data. I doubt it is half a billion. Or 0.5% of the GDP.

I am certain it is more akin to a hidden tax we all have to pay.


The Verdict

I have posted before regarding my legal troubles in Albania, where a judge sued former university administrators, including myself, in criminal court, after the university refused to award his son a law degree.

Today I received the kangaroo court’s verdict in the name of the kangaroo republic of Albania.

The “kangaroo” designation is self evident in the included document and deserves no further comment.vendim 1-001