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Non-unique addresses in Ireland

  • 20-06-2015 6:04pm
    #1
    Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 17,110 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sam Russell


    What would be the best way of eliminating non-unique addresses in Ireland?

    According to various estimates, about 35% of addresses in Ireland are non-unique. Apart from Eircode, a random code for each postal address, can a straightforward method be derived to solve this problem?


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Comments

  • Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 25,506 Mod ✭✭✭✭ looksee


    What do you mean by non-unique? Presumably there are lots of Church Roads in Ireland, probly a number of 23 Church Roads, but each one would be in a different town, so each one is unique. I do agree that there are some silly naming systems - having Daisy Lawn, Daisy Grove, Daisy Avenue, Daisy Park etc all in the same estate is mind-bogglingly dim. Maybe choice of street name should be included in planning permission.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,058 ✭✭✭ Miaireland


    Where I live many people just use the townland that they live in as their address so it appears that many families have the same address. For Example:

    Blogs Family,
    Carrigbawn
    Murrayland

    and their neighbour twoi miles down the road could be

    Blue Family
    Carrigbawn
    Murrayland.


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 17,110 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sam Russell


    looksee wrote: »
    What do you mean by non-unique? Presumably there are lots of Church Roads in Ireland, probly a number of 23 Church Roads, but each one would be in a different town, so each one is unique. I do agree that there are some silly naming systems - having Daisy Lawn, Daisy Grove, Daisy Avenue, Daisy Park etc all in the same estate is mind-bogglingly dim. Maybe choice of street name should be included in planning permission.

    Non-unique addresses occur where a townland has a number of houses/buildings but no recognised road names or house names.

    A typical Irish address in the country is as follows:

    Name,
    Townland,
    Barony,
    County.

    So Mary Murphy has an address of

    Mary Murphy,
    Townland,
    Barony,
    County.

    Mary Kelly who lives near Mary Murphy has an address:

    Mary Kelly,
    Townland,
    Barony,
    County.

    Further problems arise when townlands have a variety of spellings, and have versions in Irish and English.

    That is the problem. Confusion of similar or same names is another problem, but generally there is no duplication of townland names within each barony. However, there is use of Upper and Lower.

    Of course, Barony names are falling into disuse and that increases the problem.


  • Registered Users Posts: 707 Bayberry


    What would be the best way of eliminating non-unique addresses in Ireland?

    According to various estimates, about 35% of addresses in Ireland are non-unique. Apart from Eircode, a random code for each postal address, can a straightforward method be derived to solve this problem?

    The first step would have to be to decide who would be "in charge". Back in the day when An Post was just an arm of the Department of Post and Telegraphs, they would be the obvious choice, but now the government would ave to set up another quango, and there'd be opposition to it in principle ("them up in Dublin", etc).

    Almost all roads are already numbered. Installing "mile markers" even on back roads would be the simplest solution for providing unique addresses outside of urban areas, though whether you could get people to use them is another question.


  • Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 25,506 Mod ✭✭✭✭ looksee


    Someone I know moved into a small development completely in the countryside in a rather large townland, so the neighbours got together and created a name for themselves - quite appropriate and based on a close-by ruin. Worked well.

    Yes, I should have thought of the rural addresses - we had one ourselves for a good few years, though often post would arrive for me addressed to

    Name
    Village
    County

    which was pretty good, especially as I was a recent blow-in.

    The whole business does create problems for strangers - especially foreign tourists - who cannot figure how to, for example, find b&bs.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 148 ✭✭ clewbays


    I suppose someone could use the Eircode database, containing the X/Y coordinates of each delivery point, to identify non-unique addresses. If they combined that with the road network and some programming to measure the distance each non-unique address is from a specific road junction taking road bends into account. If the road network data has road names then, hey presto, every delivery point has a unique address within its own locality. Another tender, another contract and it would help the finances of An Post if there was another mail shot with the new addresses!


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 17,110 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sam Russell


    clewbays wrote: »
    I suppose someone could use the Eircode database, containing the X/Y coordinates of each delivery point, to identify non-unique addresses. If they combined that with the road network and some programming to measure the distance each non-unique address is from a specific road junction taking road bends into account. If the road network data has road names then, hey presto, every delivery point has a unique address within its own locality. Another tender, another contract and it would help the finances of An Post if there was another mail shot with the new addresses!

    Eircode is a dbase lookup key. It begs the question to include Eircode in this as they require a revenue stream to do anything.

    I think that if every house had to be given a name (a permanent name) by the residents, and remember they already have a townland. Add the post-town, and county, and there is the making of a unique address. For examples 'Burkes' would be OK if they were the only householders of that name in the locality. If there were lots of them, them maybe 'the White House' might work. However, it would be their choice. House numbers would come later.

    When email addresses started out, it was open to anyone to choose a name for them selves, and then check it was unique. A similar way could be derived to dish out house names. All that would be needed would be central authority to enable this.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,091 ✭✭✭ marmurr1916


    You could number houses in rural townlands - e.g. 1 Upper Deerpark, Cashel, Co. Tipperary. But why bother when very soon each address in every rural townland (and every other address) will have a unique identification code?


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 17,110 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sam Russell


    You could number houses in rural townlands - e.g. 1 Upper Deerpark, Cashel, Co. Tipperary. But why bother when very soon each address in every rural townland (and every other address) will have a unique identification code?

    The reason to bother is to keep addresses real, and readable by humans. I would not like the addresses in Ireland reduced to random numbers and letters.

    Would you like to live in

    Q56 ZH9U?

    Or would you rather live in

    Brody's,
    Upper Lowlands,
    Tourlougue,
    Co Fornever
    Q56 ZH9U ?

    I would rather the latter - who knows where Q56 ZA9U is if someone made a small error and put an A instead of an H?


  • Registered Users Posts: 371 ✭✭ larchill


    I see the eircode stupidity is spilling over here too! Addressing is a somewhat separate issue.A 'proper' addressing system is to name roads, & number houses irrespective of eircode, postcode or whatever. Roadnames/house numbers will enable location/identification of houses visually once roads have nameplates, & houses are numbered. For townlands where most of the non unique addressing issues are, roads could be named after the townland. Eg: Ballynowhere Rd. For larger townlands with more than 1 road, use upper, lower, east, west, etc as in Ballynowhere Upper/Ballynowhere East, etc. After that, the houses/premises could use metric numbering based upon distance in metres from start of road with even nos on one side, & odd nos the other. This would have to be derived locally to get acceptance involving the local authority, & the local communitity. Once names, & nos are arrived at, roads will have to be signed & houses numbered. This would be a long tern project toking place over time. If done consistently over a period of say 5 - 10 years everywhere would get done! :D


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  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 17,110 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sam Russell


    I agree with that but as a start houses could be given a name by the occupants as a start. The name could be based on the occupants name, or because of a characteristic of the house, or some other basis.

    In pre-famine times, every single field in Ireland had a local name. All I am suggesting is that every house be given a name. Is that an impossibility? After names for houses, we could then go onto names for roads, but that would require agreement between neighbours, a much more difficult possibility.


  • Registered Users Posts: 707 Bayberry


    I agree with that but as a start houses could be given a name by the occupants as a start. The name could be based on the occupants name, or because of a characteristic of the house, or some other basis.
    You can't make people assign a name to their house. The best that you can do is assign names/labels to roads, which has aready been done, though many L roads don't have any signage indicating what number has been assigned to them, and then assign distances from one end or the other.

    There are a number of problem with this, though. The first is that An Post doesn't use these road numbers, and online maps and GPS databases haven't bothered to encode this information in their databases, which means that they aren't useful to people, so people won't use them.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Local_roads_in_Ireland#Local_road_numbering


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 17,110 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sam Russell


    Bayberry wrote: »

    You can't make people assign a name to their house.

    Why not? It would not be a case of making them, but it would allow them a choice. It is simple enough. No-one appears to have problems with email addresses, or login names here, so what is difficult with house names? It only requires a bit of imagination.


  • Registered Users Posts: 569 HelgaWard


    House names are a bad idea, people spell the same word differently.

    Saint Martin's
    St. Martins
    St Martin's

    etc etc

    Would not help with automation at all.


  • Registered Users Posts: 707 Bayberry


    People have been assigning names to houses for over a century - why would some who hasn't bothered to do that before now decide to do it now?

    What purpose would a name on a house serve? Would GPS units contain them? Would maps (paper or online) contain them? Say you manage to find yourself outside "Blue Farm". How does that help you find "Red Farm"?

    Remember that An Post doesn't want/need these names - they're already comfortable that they have the local knowledge to deal with the system that is already in place. The reason for imposing any change is not to help An Post, it's to help everyone else, and house names don't really improve things that much for anyone else.


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 17,110 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sam Russell


    Bayberry wrote: »
    People have been assigning names to houses for over a century - why would some who hasn't bothered to do that before now decide to do it now?

    What purpose would a name on a house serve? Would GPS units contain them? Would maps (paper or online) contain them? Say you manage to find yourself outside "Blue Farm". How does that help you find "Red Farm"?

    Remember that An Post doesn't want/need these names - they're already comfortable that they have the local knowledge to deal with the system that is already in place. The reason for imposing any change is not to help An Post, it's to help everyone else, and house names don't really improve things that much for anyone else.

    I am not trying to help An Post, I am trying to help everyone else.

    Houses have to be identified one way or another - either by name or number.

    Numbers only make sense if they are in a sequence along a road but since there is a problem with names for roads, then numbering is problematic.

    Names will at least identify the building when you get there (if the name is displayed). It will also identify that it is not another house.

    We need to start somewhere if unique addresses are to be achieved.


  • Registered Users Posts: 707 Bayberry


    Houses have to be identified one way or another - either by name or number.

    Numbers only make sense if they are in a sequence along a road but since there is a problem with names for roads, then numbering is problematic.
    What do you think the problem is with roads? Every road in the country already has a "name" (L12345, etc). If you want to assign unique addresses to houses, then half the work has already been done - you just have to assign house numbers, preferably by distance from the start of the L designation, rather than 1,2,3, etc, so that the first house on the L12345 in Roscommon might be "120 L12345".

    Making people use these "adresses" is another thing, but it's not obvious why you couldn't use the eircode solution to that problem - just update all the government databases to use this new address, whether people want it or not.

    Actually, now that I think about it, there is a reason why that solution wouldn't work - you can't copyright those addresses, unlike eircodes, so there's no revenue stream to speak of.
    Names will at least identify the building when you get there (if the name is displayed). It will also identify that it is not another house.

    We need to start somewhere if unique addresses are to be achieved.
    Despite the apocryphal stories of townlands with 12 Pat Murphys, most houses in most townlands are already uniquely identifiable by the family name. It's of absolutely no use to couriers, repair men, visitors or ambulance men, and forcing people to put up a sign that says "Blue Farm" at the end of their driveway won't make the slightest bit of difference to that. To make a difference, you have to have predictability, which means a logical system of numbering.

    This isn't rocket science. If the people who lived in these areas were seriously inconvenienced by this issue, it would have been dealt with long ago. if they aren't seriously inconvenienced by it, you can't make them all get on board by starting with names now, and switching to numbers in 25 years time. You do what eircode did, just assign the addresses whether people want them or not, and try and encourage their use. If you wanted to use the existing road numbering scheme as the basis for individual addresses, you would have to require An Post to recognize those addresses for delivery purposes, and then provide the raster information at a nominal cost to GPS and mapping companies.


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 17,110 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Sam Russell


    Yes, but a start is needed. We know of possible results but not how to get there.


  • Registered Users Posts: 371 ✭✭ larchill


    I don't think, people would relate well to using a road no, eg: L1234 in an address somehow. Joe Bloggs, Tawney Lodge, L1234, Co Louth. Road names using existing names would work better. But then with paddyitis, you'd never get agreement!


  • Registered Users Posts: 707 Bayberry


    Yes, but a start is needed. We know of possible results but not how to get there.
    You could start by making people paint their doors a different colour - it wouldn't help, but it would be a start.

    You have two completely different problems -

    1) how does a stranger find a particular address
    2) how do you get the people living in rural toenlands to adopt a new scheme.

    You're attempting to solve 2) while doing absolutely nothing for 1). And the people involved in 2) don't think this is a problem that needs fixing, so making it easy for them by making them do something that they have been able to do for decades, but haven't done is a bit of a waste of time.

    Most of the work for the first problem was been done for years - assigning names to local roads. Adding numbers based on distances from the start of the road is almost trivial. But it has been largely ignored, so the work that would need to be done would be improved/replace signage and all the database updates that everyone is doing for eircode anyway. And you won't be able to charge as much for this logical, consistent scheme as you can for eircode, so you won't have an ongoing income stream.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 707 Bayberry


    larchill wrote: »
    I don't think, people would relate well to using a road no, eg: L1234 in an address somehow. Joe Bloggs, Tawney Lodge, L1234, Co Louth. Road names using existing names would work better. But then with paddyitis, you'd never get agreement!
    Let them keep using the roadnames that they're already using - Joe Bloggs, Tawney Lodge, Ballymuck Road, 120 L1234, Co Louth.

    That's what's proposed for eircodes, after all.


  • Registered Users Posts: 37,534 ✭✭✭✭ the_syco


    looksee wrote: »
    What do you mean by non-unique?
    When my grandad was alive, the only difference between his address and his neighbour was an "M" in the middle name, as the address was

    Name Surname,
    Townland,
    Barony,
    County.

    Name M Surname,
    Townland,
    Barony,
    County.

    Neither were relations, it's just that the surname was popular in that part of Ireland.
    The reason to bother is to keep addresses real, and readable by humans. I would not like the addresses in Ireland reduced to random numbers and letters.

    Would you like to live in

    Q56 ZH9U?

    Or would you rather live in

    Brody's,
    Upper Lowlands,
    Tourlougue,
    Co Fornever
    Q56 ZH9U ?

    I would rather the latter - who knows where Q56 ZA9U is if someone made a small error and put an A instead of an H?
    Would you rather get post, or have to always pick it up from random shop down the road as the postie can't find your address?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 148 ✭✭ clewbays


    Bayberry wrote: »
    You could start by making people paint their doors a different colour - it wouldn't help, but it would be a start.

    Why only paint the doors a different colour :)


  • Registered Users Posts: 17,981 ✭✭✭✭ _Brian


    Postmen in the country are great.

    We got a card which was addressed to

    "Everybody"
    Townland
    Town
    County

    It contained no other personal identifier at all.

    I asked the postman who had been delivering in our area for maybe 30 years.

    No bother he says there's only 45 houses in your townland "and ye get all the weird post"


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,114 ✭✭✭ fly_agaric


    I think some people may like the current "fuzziness" as it is and there would be resistance to pin down addresses further. The postie can still deliver their stuff, but it makes it somewhat harder to connect up data in parts of officialdom that they may not want to hear from! I expect we will see resistance to use of eircodes also.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,781 ✭✭✭ Carawaystick


    Bayberry wrote: »
    You could start by making people paint their doors a different colour - it wouldn't help, but it would be a start.

    Front door or back door? ;)


    Mapping and naming townlands would be a good start. The OS could do this on Discovery maps easily enough

    Imagine how easy it'd be to say
    "Once you come into Ballyduff Lower, we're the 4th house on the left. "

    "Or once you come in Ballyduff Lower, take the first right, we're third on the right."

    Once townlands are easily identifiable, addressing is much easier.


  • Registered Users Posts: 371 ✭✭ larchill


    Signposting townlands would be a good start!


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,654 ✭✭✭ trellheim


    there are no non unique addresses in Ireland. What a load of toss. 24 years in IT and someone comes out with that ... there's some loo las here.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 9,088 ✭✭✭ SpaceTime


    What happens elsewhere is pretty simple. Either get a house number, or you don't get post.

    An Post / P&T was far too accommodating and allowed this chaos to evolve.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 9,088 ✭✭✭ SpaceTime


    trellheim wrote: »
    there are no non unique addresses in Ireland. What a load of toss. 24 years in IT and someone comes out with that ... there's some loo las here.

    There are plenty I just had to visit someone today whose address was something like

    Ann Other
    Wonky Crossroads
    Ballylost
    Co Confused

    There were 10 houses of the same address all unnamed and unnumbered.

    You just use psychic addresses.

    I suppose it was always handy for safe houses.


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