So our interns at Hotels.ng just released something that they have been working on for a while - our locations API.

We are being ambitious, because - why not - and we want to define a new global address referencing system.

Every location is defined with a string like this:

NG-AK31UY-OD-45

This string can be used to find any building, in the entire world.

You can break down the string in this manner:

NG (first two chars) = Country. This follows ISO 3166-1 of countries

AK (second two characters) = Primary sub-division of the country as defined by ISO3166-2. In Nigeria this would be a 'state'

31 (next two characters) = The regions inside the primary sub-division. For Nigeria we would use 'Local Governments'.

UY = The village. It represents the sub-divisions inside the local government, which are usually defined as Villages.

OD = The road. It identifies the particular road being spoken about. This road can cut across multiple villages. A typical urban area can be composed of 10 villages, so roads will go through multiple villages.

45XX = the plot number. This number would tend to be equivalent to the house number, but if the house number changes, it stays constant.

Using this code: NG-AK31UY-OD-45, the locations API can be queried. It will provide GPS information for that location, as well as full hierarchy of all the information leading to that plot, e.g Nigeria > Lagos > Surulere > Masha Road > Number 34.

The system is extensible and flexible. It can act as a full replacement for the post-code system.

Furthermore, as people use it, it gets more and more accurate in identifying plots.

We are making the system completely open source including the data, and we hope that other companies will join us in extending it.

At Hotels.ng we will use this for mapping out our hotels in all the locations we are in, and hope that over time we will be able to build a comprehensive database of locations across Nigeria.

I'm really proud of the work done by Olayinka Omole, Stephen Afam-Osemene, Sekinat Yahaha and Segun Adeponle to make this happen.

If you want to contribute (either in cleaning data or coding), please pop us an email mark@hotels.ng, yinka@hotels.ng and stephen@hng.tech.

You can view the alpha of the platform on http://locations.hng.tech.