A Good Idea, Inside a Bad Idea

- - posted in Ancient Archives

Geo-location services are going to be very important soon - all sorts of data will be linked to locations, and accessed in many ways. For this to work, we’ll need a good way to precisely and concisely refer to particular locations.

Postal addresses don’t really relate the the real world, only a postal route. Postcodes are too vague and unstandardised. Latitude and Longitude aren’t very friendly: try 54.9724565159566, -1.59792521092372, for example.

The Universal Address system seems to be a great solution: “An eight character Universal Address can uniquely specify every building in the world. A ten-character Universal Address can uniquely specify any square meter in the world. They are easily remembered, can be pinpointed on all maps and navigated with GPS receivers.”

There’s a demo page where you can try it out. The coordinates above became a Universal Address of GV04N S4TV1, much neater.

Sadly the format is very restrictivelycopyrighted and licensed, so I can’t use it, and I wouldn’t recommend anyone uses it at all for this reason - the idea of a company owning the format of address data is silly and a little scary. Hopefully we won’t have to wait long for a nice open ISO standard instead.