Author Topic: Unhelpful addresses, how do folk cope?  (Read 9518 times)

Kim

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Re: Unhelpful addresses, how do folk cope?
« Reply #25 on: May 08, 2017, 09:54:04 am »
Apart from it being a bit harder to remember numbers, wtf is wrong with lat long?

Lack of error correction.  Transpose a couple of digits in a latitude and you can end up at a plausible but wrong building.  "curls.stweing.priate" is more obviously wrong at point of transcription, and an intelligent human with spelling skills may be able to recover the data.


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what3words has the fundamental massive problem that given a pair of three words you have no idea how far apart they are.

I don't think that's a massive problem, unless you're testing for adjacency (which can always be done by resolving to lat/long and comparing).  Most of the time you just want a unique identifier.

It's like saying that with domain names you've no idea whether hosts are on the same network segment.


The real problem is that the algorithm is proprietary.  It's a good idea, but it'll never reach full usefulness unless it's free for anyone to include in their location-wrangling code.  So DHL might accept it to address parcels, but it's unlikely to appear as an alternative coordinate format option on your eTrex.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: Unhelpful addresses, how do folk cope?
« Reply #26 on: May 08, 2017, 10:58:31 am »
Apart from it being a bit harder to remember numbers, wtf is wrong with lat long?

Lack of error correction.  Transpose a couple of digits in a latitude and you can end up at a plausible but wrong building.  "curls.stweing.priate" is more obviously wrong at point of transcription, and an intelligent human with spelling skills may be able to recover the data.


Quote
what3words has the fundamental massive problem that given a pair of three words you have no idea how far apart they are.

I don't think that's a massive problem, unless you're testing for adjacency (which can always be done by resolving to lat/long and comparing).  Most of the time you just want a unique identifier.
Say you are working on software that is doing something by locality, maybe checking house prices, or crime rates and your inputs are addresses using what3words.
Now the same software using inputs using addresses with latlong.

So, which is easier?
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Salvatore

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Re: Unhelpful addresses, how do folk cope?
« Reply #27 on: May 08, 2017, 11:23:34 am »
In rural Finland (and Sweden) you can cycle for hours without seeing a dwelling then you come to (for example) no. 3429. It makes me wonder where no. 1 is.

Here's a map of a Finnish village with some wacky house numbers. Perhaps it makes sense to posti.

Quote
et avec John, excellent lecteur de road-book, on s'en est sortis sans erreur

Re: Unhelpful addresses, how do folk cope?
« Reply #28 on: May 08, 2017, 12:09:30 pm »
In rural Finland (and Sweden) you can cycle for hours without seeing a dwelling then you come to (for example) no. 3429. It makes me wonder where no. 1 is.

Belgium.
I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that.

Salvatore

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Re: Unhelpful addresses, how do folk cope?
« Reply #29 on: May 08, 2017, 01:08:31 pm »
In rural Finland (and Sweden) you can cycle for hours without seeing a dwelling then you come to (for example) no. 3429.

Correction: it was number 2866 I was thinking of (not far from Tepsa as it happens)

Quote
et avec John, excellent lecteur de road-book, on s'en est sortis sans erreur

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Unhelpful addresses, how do folk cope?
« Reply #30 on: May 08, 2017, 01:37:38 pm »
Apart from it being a bit harder to remember numbers, wtf is wrong with lat long?

Lack of error correction.  Transpose a couple of digits in a latitude and you can end up at a plausible but wrong building.  "curls.stweing.priate" is more obviously wrong at point of transcription, and an intelligent human with spelling skills may be able to recover the data.


Quote
what3words has the fundamental massive problem that given a pair of three words you have no idea how far apart they are.

I don't think that's a massive problem, unless you're testing for adjacency (which can always be done by resolving to lat/long and comparing).  Most of the time you just want a unique identifier.
Say you are working on software that is doing something by locality, maybe checking house prices, or crime rates and your inputs are addresses using what3words.
Now the same software using inputs using addresses with latlong.

So, which is easier?

For a human operator, probably the what3words.  Not least because an invalid input can produce an error immediately, rather than generating bollocks output to investigate.

Sure there's an overhead for the computer to convert to lat/long internally, but computers are really good at doing tedious calculations, and spend most of their lives twiddling their electronic thumbs anyway.

Yes the programmer would have to do a bit more work to licence and include their algorithm.  Which is why it would be better if it were open source.  It's no worse than accepting postcodes.


In the real world, how often do *humans* compare lat/longs directly?  Perhaps when navigating at sea?  Obviously they would stick to lat/long.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: Unhelpful addresses, how do folk cope?
« Reply #31 on: May 08, 2017, 01:58:27 pm »
For a human operator, probably the what3words.  Not least because an invalid input can produce an error immediately, rather than generating bollocks output to investigate.

Sure there's an overhead for the computer to convert to lat/long internally, but computers are really good at doing tedious calculations, and spend most of their lives twiddling their electronic thumbs anyway.

Yes the programmer would have to do a bit more work to licence and include their algorithm.  Which is why it would be better if it were open source.  It's no worse than accepting postcodes.


In the real world, how often do *humans* compare lat/longs directly?  Perhaps when navigating at sea?  Obviously they would stick to lat/long.
Not often.
But very often we compare postcodes. We know immediately that houses are in a similar locality or near a school, for example.
That becomes impossible with what3words. Not as easy with latlong as it is with postcodes. But a heck of a lot easier than it is with what3words.

Even with the 'block' postcode systems used by countries like Australia and the USA, the postcodes give you an immediate idea of locality. Latlong gives you an idea of locality. what3words gives you no idea at all.
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Cudzoziemiec

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Re: Unhelpful addresses, how do folk cope?
« Reply #32 on: May 08, 2017, 02:07:05 pm »
Post codes would strike me as being a better tool for comparison by humans than either what3words or lat/long. But that's not at all the kind of thing what3words was designed for; it's an address rather than a location. Lat/long or a grid reference (where there is one) would be a potentially more precise location and easier to find on a map, but also more error prone, harder to remember and harder to make sense of for people who are not familiar with the system; just as postal addresses rely on a combination of names and numbers rather than being purely numeric. If Amazon or whoever ever go ahead and deliver stuff by drone, lat/long would make more sense for that, but not for humans driving vans.
I do not ride a great big Mercian, gangster tanwalls, fixed cog in the back.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Unhelpful addresses, how do folk cope?
« Reply #33 on: May 08, 2017, 02:07:34 pm »
Yes, that's a disadvantage.  I suppose words could be selected so that dictionary order reflected physical adjacency, but that would likely reduce human memorability, which is what they're optimising for.

It's a good idea for solving a set of specific problems (particularly those that involve humans talking to each other about specific locations away from traditional landmarks).  That doesn't mean it works well for everything, any more than WGS84 coordinates or a system based on the historical structure of the Royal Mail's sorting system does.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: Unhelpful addresses, how do folk cope?
« Reply #34 on: May 08, 2017, 02:33:03 pm »
What3words is handy for guiding someone to a location.  You give them a website URL and tell them to enter worda.wordb.wordc and it shows them the location.  That's easily done over a phone.  It's less easy with Lat/long.  You can enter lat/long into Google Maps in a number of formats, which in itself is a problem.  Which format are you going to use over the phone (deg/min/sec, deg/decimal minutes, decimal degrees?) and will the recipient be able to take the details accurately and be able to handle a negative value successfully.  What3words certainly isn't a perfect tool with respect to geographic adjacency, but it does work for quick transfer of memorable address. Most rural destinations are sufficiently wide to enable the user to pick one of several sets of words in order to find one that's more memorable.

If you select your location on the W3W map, you can right click, select "share pin location" and convert it to lat/long co-ordinates.  Their map is also searchable using co-ordinates as is Google Maps.

Re: Unhelpful addresses, how do folk cope?
« Reply #35 on: May 08, 2017, 02:57:56 pm »
I spit on your decimal degrees! They are an abomination!  :P

Probably invented by a programmer who was born post decimalisation of currency.
<i>Marmite slave</i>

Re: Unhelpful addresses, how do folk cope?
« Reply #36 on: May 08, 2017, 03:29:17 pm »
I spit on your decimal degrees! They are an abomination!  :P

Probably invented by a programmer who was born post decimalisation of currency.

Haha, yes - I'm sure Shackleton didn't use them.  However, a full geographic second is something around 100ft - about 10x longer than the grids used by W3W, so you'd need to use decimal seconds at the very least to approach the same degree (no pun "in ten did") of accuracy I imagine.

clarion

  • Tyke
Re: Unhelpful addresses, how do folk cope?
« Reply #37 on: May 08, 2017, 04:36:07 pm »
Life would be so much simpler if we could put ICBM addresses on forms, rather than relying on secret squirrels local knowledge, or encouraging people to make phone calls while driving.
I'd rather the ICBMs were targeted nowhere near my house, tyvm! :o
Getting there...

frankly frankie

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Re: Unhelpful addresses, how do folk cope?
« Reply #38 on: May 08, 2017, 04:40:05 pm »
 :o

I spit on abominable postcodes.  They are the worst of all worlds.  There are a few, in very rural areas, that extend over miles.
It's not dark yet but it's getting there.

fuaran

  • rothair gasta
Re: Unhelpful addresses, how do folk cope?
« Reply #39 on: May 08, 2017, 04:46:44 pm »
Open Location Codes (aka Plus codes) are a better option than What3words. The algorithm is all free and open source, so can be used in other software, and can work offline. Google Maps supports them, as does OsmAnd.
Also they have some useful features in that similar codes are close to each other, and they can be truncated if you don't need to be as exact.
https://plus.codes/

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Unhelpful addresses, how do folk cope?
« Reply #40 on: May 08, 2017, 04:49:41 pm »
Life would be so much simpler if we could put ICBM addresses on forms, rather than relying on secret squirrels local knowledge, or encouraging people to make phone calls while driving.
I'd rather the ICBMs were targeted nowhere near my house, tyvm! :o

And risk missing your lunch order?
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

hellymedic

  • Just do it!
Re: Unhelpful addresses, how do folk cope?
« Reply #41 on: May 08, 2017, 07:11:06 pm »
Life would be so much simpler if we could put ICBM addresses on forms, rather than relying on secret squirrels local knowledge, or encouraging people to make phone calls while driving.
I'd rather the ICBMs were targeted nowhere near my house, tyvm! :o

While HA3, HA7, HA8 & NW9 are all within a furlong of Queensbury Underground Station...

Re: Unhelpful addresses, how do folk cope?
« Reply #42 on: May 08, 2017, 09:12:21 pm »
Not a delivery driver but I spent 5 years working night shifts for the GP out of hours service and rapidly grew to hate house names. Searching a road miles long for a name that's almost invisible at night.  In urban areas the post code/ GPS will do the trick but  in more rural places it was a bloody nightmare.

Even in daytime it's a PITA. I work in Community Health Care. 2 mile long road, national speed limit, cars on your bumper and all you have is a house name, no fun and hugely inefficient on my time.

For deliveries it probably isn't too big a deal for you, but have you considered a plan just in case you were ill and needed an ambulance in a hurry?

Re: Unhelpful addresses, how do folk cope?
« Reply #43 on: May 08, 2017, 09:17:37 pm »
If your post code, entered into a satnav, takes you to close to your front door, a delivery person will get there. If additional help is needed include it in delivery notes. And make sure your house name is visible from the street, even at night.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Unhelpful addresses, how do folk cope?
« Reply #44 on: May 08, 2017, 09:22:15 pm »
For deliveries it probably isn't too big a deal for you, but have you considered a plan just in case you were ill and needed an ambulance in a hurry?

First rule of thumb for emergency services is to use a landline where available.  They should be able to automatically extract an address for it from a database.  Of course, if your address is meaningless, I'm not sure that helps.

In theory an emergency operator should understand coordinates.  In theory.

In practice I expect the coastguard and mountain rescue would be fluent in the usual formats (OS grid, WGS84 lat/long), and the others might get stuck at trying to convert degrees minutes and seconds to decimal degrees, or struggle to make sense of anything that's not a postcode.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

ian

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Re: Unhelpful addresses, how do folk cope?
« Reply #45 on: May 08, 2017, 09:30:25 pm »
If your post code, entered into a satnav, takes you to close to your front door, a delivery person will get there. If additional help is needed include it in delivery notes. And make sure your house name is visible from the street, even at night.

Or get Chloe to task a satellite.
!nataS pihsroW

Tim Hall

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Re: Unhelpful addresses, how do folk cope?
« Reply #46 on: May 08, 2017, 09:36:03 pm »
For deliveries it probably isn't too big a deal for you, but have you considered a plan just in case you were ill and needed an ambulance in a hurry?

First rule of thumb for emergency services is to use a landline where available.  They should be able to automatically extract an address for it from a database.  Of course, if your address is meaningless, I'm not sure that helps.

In theory an emergency operator should understand coordinates.  In theory.

In practice I expect the coastguard and mountain rescue would be fluent in the usual formats (OS grid, WGS84 lat/long), and the others might get stuck at trying to convert degrees minutes and seconds to decimal degrees, or struggle to make sense of anything that's not a postcode.

A few years ago Dad was a County Councillor* and was on the fire service committee or some such. As part of this he had a look round Surrey Fire and Rescue HQ where they demonstrated their location software. Dad's house has a name, no number. The firebod started typing the name in and before he'd completed it the Magic Fire Computer and zoomed in on Dad's house.

I understand mountain rescue teams also use a smart phone app, SARLOC, wot does this:
Quote
If the walker in trouble is using a smartphone, then he/she is sent a text message with a link to a webpage. Clicking on this link opens a page in the phone's browser which queries the phone to identify its location as a Lat/Long coordinate. This location data is then displayed to the user and automatically added over the internet to the Mountain Rescue Team's database.
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Wowbagger

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Re: Unhelpful addresses, how do folk cope?
« Reply #47 on: May 09, 2017, 12:27:41 am »
We stayed on Harris once. Or it may have been Lewis. Can't remember and without looking up my ride report can't remember the name of the village either. I know it was the day that we cycled with Windy. He came and met us. He would probably know where we were.

All the houses in the village had a house number. The trouble was that they seemed to have been numbered in the order in which they were built.
Oh, Bach without any doubt. Bach every time for me.

Re: Unhelpful addresses, how do folk cope?
« Reply #48 on: May 09, 2017, 06:48:45 am »
over here in the US of A, at least my northwest corner of it, there seems to be a relentless urge to get everything on a grid from some imaginary 0,0 origin point in the county (subdivision of a state). 

So, one's address is #### - ##th Street SW, or whatever; even in a rural area where the "street" or "avenue" is really a road without sidewalks (pavements), and ditches instead of gutters.  Yes, relatively easy to locate, but all of the old road names fall into disuse, except for the ones for roads which obey topography and not the super-imposed Cartesian Grid.  Occasional one sees a sign for "##th Ave NE" with an additional label for "Johnson Road" or whoever the original farmer was out that way.  Old-timers still use the road names, but many of the young-uns are without a clue.  "Jensen Road?  Oh, NW 56th Avenue, except that after it bends it becomes 283rd Street NW ..."

In the state of Utah, street numbering is often based on a grid laid out from the original Mormon temple in the town.  2150 East 13400 South, etc.  Once you learn how the grid works, you can find your way around.

For flatter areas over here, west of the original Colonies, the land survey system set up 6 mile by 6 mile "townships", with 1 mile by one mile "sections" to make it easier for homesteaders to claim and identify their 160 acre parcel.  As a consequence, a one-mile grid of roads is very common.  Many are labeled with letters east-west and numbers north-south.  In towns, numbered streets one direction, and named in another, are common: names may be letters, trees in alphabetical order, or US Presidents in order of their rule.  If there's a "Railroad Street", it's typically adjacent to the railroad line through town.

I suspect that all of these addressing systems are pretty easy to explain to Google Maps.

In days of not-so-long-ago-yore, many rural addresses were stated in a manner to make it easy for the Post Office to sort and deliver mail.  Thus a house on the Nowheresville Highway might be Route 2, Box 151, Podunk, Your-State-Name-Here.  The rural mail carrier for Route 2 - whichever roads it involved - knew where to find the mailbox. 

And, Harris and Lewis - it was a bit puzzling to drive past the sign labeling the dividing line, without passing over water; one contiguous bit of rock, but different names depending on which end you were on. 

Re: Unhelpful addresses, how do folk cope?
« Reply #49 on: May 09, 2017, 08:56:00 am »
I understand mountain rescue teams also use a smart phone app, SARLOC, wot does this:
Quote
If the walker in trouble is using a smartphone, then he/she is sent a text message with a link to a webpage. Clicking on this link opens a page in the phone's browser which queries the phone to identify its location as a Lat/Long coordinate. This location data is then displayed to the user and automatically added over the internet to the Mountain Rescue Team's database.
[/quote]

Ah, that's how that works.

A few years ago a friend was taken ill while we were walking on the island of Rum. Fortunately we were on the side facing the mainland and I got a good mobile signal (there's a mast above Mallaig I think). To get Mountain Rescue you have to call 999 and ask for the police, so I came through to some unfortunate operator in some call centre somewhere. They didn't have a clue where Rum was, and no, I didn't know the Postcode. "Someone will ring you back" they said. The "someone" was a very helpful policeman in Mallaig. He did know where Rum was, and understood Grid references. A coastguard helicopter came and took my friend to hospital.