[OSGeo-Standards] [OSGeo-Discuss] Discuss Digest, Vol 103, Issue 20

Mr. Puneet Kishor punk.kish at gmail.com
Mon Jul 27 07:58:09 PDT 2015

My turn to respectfully disagree…

> On Jul 27, 2015, at 12:23 PM, Jonathan Moules <J.Moules at hrwallingford.com> wrote:
> You raise some good points.
>> Ease-of-use from the POV of the general public varies from culture to culture, context to context, time to time. Thinking that we can create a universal code that everyone in the world will glom on to is just fanciful and really a waste of time
> Yes and no. Some of the limitations, like the digit span I mentioned are a fundamental tenet of how the human mind works. Across all cultures people are better at remembering short things than long things. You're certainly correct that the cultural and contextual aspects make it tricky though.

A context-less nonsensical short phrase such as 4V.2J makes way less sense than “200 feet from the wooden bridge to the right of the banyan tree.” A big chunk of the population in my own land of birth would probably not understand what is “V” and “J” but they could repeat and remember the directions in their own language. Short != semantically meaningful.

>> Thinking that we can create a universal code that everyone in the world will glom on to is just fanciful and really a waste of time. If it had been needed badly, it would have created.
> Respectfully, I must disagree. In this thread alone at least six different versions have been linked to, so someone is certainly creating them. I can think of several real-world advantages, of such systems, for instance if I type in "SW1A 2AA" to google, I (correctly) get taken to Downing Street, but that's because the UK have a unique format to their postal codes. If I enter "20500", I don't get taken to the vicinity of the White House because google doesn't know what to do with it. I need to enter "US 20500" for that. If I want to go to the Kremlin I must enter "103132" which does work - except it took me a while to find out that code because I don't know what they call them in Russia (it's not a "zip code" or a "post code") (seems there are lots of terms: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postal_code#Terms ).
> Perhaps this problem could benefit from input from the Universal Postal Union?

I misspoke. Yes, a lot of such systems exist, perhaps several of them even aspiring to become globally used by the common public. However, none of them have achieved any success toward that goal. Yes, they can perhaps serve specialized needs (for example, providing mechanized directions to fire trucks), but accepted and used by common folks? the scenario strains my imagination. And, even mechanized/automated directions for firetrucks are a distant reach… have you seen the alleys and byways that have organically developed over the ages in most of the old world? The world out there is far from Cartesian.


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