Connecting Standards At Inman in NYC

Jan 9, 2008  |  Michael Wurzer

I’m in NYC for the Inman Connect conference and I think this could be a lot of fun, and maybe a turning point for real estate data standards. One of my favorite ideas is to create a universal property ID, which would make it easier to use the web to connect information from different sites about the same property. Just last month at the RETS meetings in Miami, there was a good discussion on this possibility during a presentation from a representative of the Property Records Industry Association (PRIA).

Tomorrow, I’ve got a meeting with representatives from Google, Yahoo!, Zillow and Trulia to discuss syndication standards and I’m thinking the timing may be right to discuss the universal property ID concept as well. Just yesterday, the Data Portability Work Group announced that Google and Facebook both had represenatives join their effort. I’ve written before that the concepts of data portability (though most often written about in the context of social networks) are highly relevant to real estate data and multiple listing services. One of the building blocks for data portability is microformats, and there already are draft microformats for address and geo-data.

It seems pretty clear to me that these issues are all very related because discussions about real estate data standards really begin and end with identifying the property accurately. RESO, PRIA, Data Portability, and syndication portals like Google, Yahoo!, Trulia and Zillow all can connect on this one issue of property identification and, if that happens, that simple step could fundamentally change the way real estate data is shared.

3 Responses to “Connecting Standards At Inman in NYC”

  1. Magnus says:

    Keep up the good work. Being a provider of IT services to the real estate industry it for sure makes it easier with a unique identifier. (Delighted that we have it over here in Sweden, the same system for residential as commercial buildings).

    Regarding general standard work in the industry, the people at PISCES in UK are very productive. Maybe they could give arguments for driving it in the US. Read more at

  2. Paul says:

    To Magnus:

    PISCES and OSCRE have both attended the RETS meetings in the past. They have always been welcome to attend and participate. Most alternative (to RETS) standards efforts have put a high barrier to participation through fees and other encumbrances.

    I like to think that the people in RETS are the most productive of the various standards bodies that I have seen. A lot of work gets done in RETS.

    To Mike:

    I’m not sure I buy into the whole Microformat thing. I did look at it last year – read the book etc. It looks more like another bending of what is already established in XML/DTD/Schema but focussed on solving a problem with XHTML. I’d also point out that the ‘Microformat’ style is exactly the approach that has been used in the RETS schemas. Address is defined (as are many other building blocks) as independent building blocks that can be reused, mixed and matched as needed. Yes, I know, there is a little leakage between the primitives with the preference-order and address-preference-order elements, but that reflects the reality of usage.

    And it’s intended to be i18n (although there may be some issues that need working out.)

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