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

Carl Reed carl.n.reed at gmail.com
Mon Jul 27 16:35:00 PDT 2015

Josh -

Nice viewpoint.

I would add that emergency response systems (at least the ones I have
worked standards for) use addresses and if there is not an address a mile
marker (on interstates for example) and if you are in a building an
address, floor, and room number. As a last resort a coordinate is used.
There are problems with the latter such as accuracy, lack of signal (inside
buildings) and so forth. While the Next Generation 911 system in the US
(and related systems in Europe, Canada, and Australia) is enhanced to deal
with the wireless mobile world and IPv6, addresses are still viewed as the
predominate form of location communication. Just check out the standards
stack as defined in the i3 architecture! Somehow I do not see a dispatcher
saying to a responding officer, "Shots fired at 103132" :-)



On Mon, Jul 27, 2015 at 2:12 PM, Joshua Lieberman <josh at oklieb.net> wrote:

> This does raise interesting questions ( and perhaps even relate to OS
> software design) but not questions that usually enter these addressing
> debates. The questions revolve around what people really get out of
> addresses. Numerical codes only seem to have much success when there is
> some system that benefits from using them, such as postal services. It is
> interesting, though, that people keep trying to use zip codes as
> aggregation regions, even when they are really not defined as regions at
> all. That points to what people often seem to understand from traditional
> addresses that “easy to remember” grid or coordinate schemes don’t provide
> – a sense of geographic context. A street address provides a street,
> possibly a district, a town or city, and possibly a state as well as a
> country to provide a regional context for a location. Part of this is
> undoubtedly error-handling: if I’ve the address number wrong, at least I
> can get on the right street and look for something familiar. My sense,
> though, is that the context itself is important: oh, that part of town.
> It may also be true that addresses are used differently by locals versus
> visitors or remote viewers. The latter may be more likely to punch a code
> into a GPS device and don’t care about context, but the former (whether by
> themselves or when asked by visitors) will have more of a sense of how to
> get to a location, what is at / around that location, and perhaps even
> whether it’s a good idea crime-wise to go near that location. All of that
> context is very hard to interpret from a code, cartesian or otherwise,
> since it doesn’t reference the natural or legislated geographic regions
> that provide the context. By all means create whatever global coding system
> you want, but understand that its principal use will be as a surrogate for
> lat-long position to invoke a routing program when clicked on in some
> digital document. It likely won’t fill the other roles that addresses play.
> -Josh Lieberman
> > On Jul 27, 2015, at 10:58 AM, Mr. Puneet Kishor <punk.kish at gmail.com>
> wrote:
> >
> > 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.
> >
> > Puneet.
> >
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Carl Reed, PhD
Carl Reed and Associates

Mobile: 970-402-0284
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