[LINK] Google's 'Plus Codes' for Locations

Hamish Moffatt hamish at cloud.net.au
Wed Apr 4 11:49:00 AEST 2018

It sounds a bit like this (from 2013):


Hamish, coming to you from somewhere near "parade.haven.fats"

On 04/04/18 10:14, Roger Clarke wrote:
> [Below is an article on Google's 'Plus Codes' scheme for locations:
> https://plus.codes/
> https://plus.codes/howitworks
> [As seems to be the norm these days, the documentation is wafer-thin,
> and there's no indication of the extent to which it's purely
> proprietary, proprietary based on international standards, or is being
> proposed as an alternative open international standard.
> [The article does say that "Google has open-sourced the underlying
> technology", but that begs the question of the spec for the code itself,
> and how it differs from, and maps to, the many different geographic/lat-long and cadastral representations.
> [Given that the pages refer only to an app, it appears it may be
> targeted solely at handhelds (plus of course near-future desktops and
> laptops reduced to appliances).  Codes can, however, be discovered on a
> desktop or laptop from https://plus.codes/map/ ]
> Why Google wants to change your address
> New system pinpoints any location on earth with 11 characters.
> David Braue
> Information Age
> Apr 03 2018 11:36 AM
> https://ia.acs.org.au/article/2018/why-google-wants-to-change-your-address.html
> If you live in an urban area, you probably take the use of addresses for
> granted: odd numbers on one side, evens on the other, unit numbers where
> necessary.
> But in rural spaces and less well-demarcated urban areas, vague or
> inaccurate addresses can be a major problem - which is why Google is
> hoping a new addressing system will become a ubiquitous online index to
> the physical world.
> Google's Plus Codes system foregoes conventional street-based addresses
> and breaks the world's surface into a grid, on which locations can be
> described using a short sequence of alphanumeric codes.
> Under the new system, locations are described using a four-character
> local code, the + symbol, and one or more additional characters
> depending on the level of accuracy required. A Plus Code exists within
> the confines of a particular city, which can be described using its name
> or using an additional four-character area code.
> For example, Google's interactive Plus Codes mapping site reveals that
> the code for Parliament House within the Canberra region area code
> (4RPF) is M4RF+PQ. However, zooming in for a higher-accuracy reading
> allows an address to pinpoint, for example, the Parliamentary Library at
> M4RF+F9M, or the Parliament Shop at M4VG+239.
> Area codes define a 100km2 region, while six-character codes are
> accurate to 14m2 and the optional eleventh character increases accuracy
> to 3m2.
> Google has already rolled out the identifier within Google Maps and
> Google Search, where typing "M4VG+239, Canberra" will bring you straight
> back to the Parliament Shop. You can also prepend Canberra's area code
> (4RPF) to provide a complete, standalone Plus Code address - 4RPFM4VG
> +239 - that will be mapped back to conventional street addresses and
> longitude/latitude coordinates. Addresses can also be embedded within
> URLs, as with https://plus.codes/4RPFM4VG+239.
> Because the system uses a consistent global grid, nearby locations have
> similar codes. It also operates independently of political boundaries,
> avoiding complexities and regional idiosyncrasies in addressing schemes.
> Saving lives, and finding them
> It may seem redundant in countries that are well accustomed to
> established street address systems, but residents of many countries have
> no such luxury.
> Google has pointed to the lack of consistent addressing in high-density
> slums, for example, as a built-in use case for Plus Codes. They could be
> used to provide a sense of place for refugees in teeming camps; to guide
> people in crowded Indian cities where just 30 percent of addresses
> reference a specific location; or in smartphone apps that would allow
> lost hikers to convey their exact location to rescue services.
> Emergency services responders regularly struggle with inconsistent
> street numbering systems or vague locations that waste critical minutes
> as ambulances cruise streets. One recent Queensland University of
> Technology study of address accuracy noted that such delays have been
> blamed for seven deaths in Queensland alone, and regularly result in
> everything from "minor inconveniences to avoidable fatal tragedies".
> Inaccurate address information raises commercial issues as well. For
> example, errors and inconsistencies in Australia's centralised G-NAF
> (Geodetic National Address File), which is used as a baseline by all
> manner of geospatial services, caused major slowdowns and promulgated
> errors in the early planning and rollout of the National Broadband
> Network (NBN).
> The system could also help improve the accuracy of conventional package
> and mail delivery - which struggles with the free-form nature of
> conventional addresses - by reducing every point on earth down to a
> fixed-length series of characters.
> Such addresses could be easily and consistently stored in
> package-tracking systems, and used to avoid ambiguities around addresses
> that are missing, inaccurate, obsolete, or use non-standard numbering
> systems. This could reduce the cost of package handling, redeliveries,
> customer complaint handling, and other side-effects of misdeliveries.
> Plus Codes aren't the only system to try applying an alphanumeric code
> to real-world addressing - regional efforts like India's eLoc and Zippr,
> among others, have developed their own schemes - but Google's heft could
> help its system stand out. In November, for example, it was adopted as a
> digital-addressing standard by the government of Ghana as it works to
> formalise its economy.
> To promote real-world applications for Plus Codes, Google has
> open-sourced the underlying technology and does not charge any costs for
> use of the codes.
> More information can be found here, or use Google's Plus Codes map to
> find out your own Plus Code address.

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