There are several software packages on the market that incorporate data from the electoral roll to allow you to find phone numbers and addresses based on people’s names. UK-Info Disk 2002 Version 7 is one such package. In its Standard form it’s potentially of interest to anyone, from the generally nosey to those with a genuine interest in tracking down old friends, business partners and so on. The Professional version, though, adds a lot more to the mix, with reverse searching and postcode searching among other features. It’s almost certainly used by the people who phone you up and mispronounce your name at you on a Saturday morning in a vain attempt to offer you double glazing.
Coverage includes the UK population and the Republic of Ireland too. Be warned, though; 37 percent of the UK population is ex-directory and therefore not included in the database. Actually, there are three main databases in the product – the Electoral Roll/Business database with 43.5 million records, the BT/OSIS database (“Directory enquiries”) with 17 million records and the Dun & Bradstreet database with 2.2 million records. There’s a limited number of BT/OSIS data searches that you can carry out – 100 for the standard version and 1,000 for the Pro version. After that you have to buy more searches from i-CD, although this doesn’t affect your access to the other two databases.
You can search for names within a locality, search by postcode, search within a selected map area, or just show the location of a search result on a map. The mapping function is pretty accurate, although it was a few hundred yards out on a couple of the searches we tried. Even so, it’s scary to see how easy it is to pinpoint where you live.
There’s also a route-planning feature included in UK-Info Disk 2002 Version 7, although this is basic at best. For a start you can’t define things like average speed, road types to avoid, cost per mile/km and so on. And the routes the program displayed for us were pretty arbitrary; for one simple North-South journey the recommended route was about 20 percent longer than necessary. This isn’t the program’s strong point and should probably be ignored.
Another (minor) complaint with UK-Info Disk 2002 Version 7 is that its handling of postcodes is irritating. You have to have an exact number of spaces depending on the format of the postcode. For example, seven character postcodes are entered with no spaces (e.g. OX142ED), while six character postcodes are entered with one space between the two sets of three characters (e.g. SW6 3DX) and five character postcodes are entered with two spaces. Why?
The Professional version of UK-Info Disk 2002 Version 7 has to be licensed before it can be unlocked, otherwise it behaves as the Standard version. With the Professional version can search by business type (find all publishing houses in the Greater London area, for example), or find all instances of a particular search query within a given postcode. You can build up a mailing list or a phone-pestering (sorry, cold-calling) list and display listings for other people living in the same house or the same area. It’s also possible to build up more complex searches. For example, you can find all instances of “Smith” and “Jones” who live in the same street. Icons tell you which database generated each particular search result and the search results can be sorted and exported for use in other programs.
Contact: 020 7909 2200