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Eircode design

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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 160 ✭✭PDVerse


    What difference for An Post would renumbering P51 (the bit east of the rest of P51) as P52?

    Surely it would make no difference as the software would be programmed so the [P52 = P51]. However, it would be clear to anyone that P52 is to the east of P51, which could be quite useful.

    Continue that argument for the huge area of H91 and divide into three new routing keys : Galway City; North of Galway City; and South of Galway City.

    Continue that for all the huge ones and it begins to look more promising - maybe when there are about 500 routing keys that are arranged in logical areas like Urban vs rural, align as much as can be with county boundaries, etc.

    You never know, people may even start using them.
    It would increase the complexity and thus reduce the efficiency of the manual sortation process. It would also make it far more likely that a Routing Key would need to change for an existing Eircode.

    Until I see evidence to the contrary my view remains that Eircode Routing Keys have zero effect on implementation or public adoption.


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 19,109 Mod ✭✭✭✭Sam Russell


    PDVerse wrote: »
    It would increase the complexity and thus reduce the efficiency of the manual sortation process. It would also make it far more likely that a Routing Key would need to change for an existing Eircode.

    Until I see evidence to the contrary my view remains that Eircode Routing Keys have zero effect on implementation or public adoption.

    How would it increase complexity? Surely Limerick and Galway both have huge routing key areas. What possible benefit can that grant to manual sorting of either parcels or post?

    It is counter intuitive that that could be so - extend the argument and abolish routing keys altogether and make the full post code random. This is particularly true for P51 which is two distinct unconnected areas - each large enough to have their own separate key.


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,062 ✭✭✭plodder


    PDVerse wrote: »
    It would increase the complexity and thus reduce the efficiency of the manual sortation process.
    How so? If the manual process means a human reading the RK and typing it in on a machine, then it wouldn't be more complicated

    If the manual process is is literally 100% manual (which seems unlikely) then they just have a larger list of RKs to look at, but they are likely to be sorted alphabetically and not hard to see. How does that increase complexity in any significant way?
    It would also make it far more likely that a Routing Key would need to change for an existing Eircode.
    You'll have to explain that one .... :confused:
    Until I see evidence to the contrary my view remains that Eircode Routing Keys have zero effect on implementation or public adoption.


  • Registered Users Posts: 160 ✭✭PDVerse


    plodder wrote: »
    How so? If the manual process means a human reading the RK and typing it in on a machine, then it wouldn't be more complicated

    If the manual process is is literally 100% manual (which seems unlikely) then they just have a larger list of RKs to look at, but they are likely to be sorted alphabetically and not hard to see. How does that increase complexity in any significant way?

    You'll have to explain that one .... :confused:

    There are manual processes that involve handling of items, placing them in a slot/bag. Different sorting centres have different requirements. The following is a hypothetical to illustrate the issue:

    In sorting centre 1 they sort all Eircodes that don't start with the letters H or V into slots marked by just the first letter of the Eircode (One slot for A, one for C, etc.). For H and V they sort them into individual slots marked with the Eircode Routing Key. In other sorting centres the letters they want to sub-sort are different. What you are asking for is that they would sort many Routing Keys into the same slot. Let's say H23 has its own slot, but H53, H54 and H62 all go into the same slot, and H65 again has its own slot. That is a more complex and thus slower manual process.


  • Registered Users Posts: 892 ✭✭✭Bray Head


    This made political sense, but it does not make any technical or business sense, because An Post is not and will not be particularly significant in terms of volume of deliveries to homes - there are other organisations that deliver services to homes just as frequently - and there are many other organization that have much higher value deliveries. The reality is that An Post is in terminal decline, and that the daily flat postal service on which the code is oriented will not survive the decade.
    An Post is not significant in terms of volume of deliveries to homes????

    Is there another invisible universal service provider delivering letters and packages to >2m households and premises daily that I hadn't spotted?


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  • Registered Users Posts: 7,062 ✭✭✭plodder


    PDVerse wrote: »
    There are manual processes that involve handling of items, placing them in a slot/bag. Different sorting centres have different requirements. The following is a hypothetical to illustrate the issue:

    In sorting centre 1 they sort all Eircodes that don't start with the letters H or V into slots marked by just the first letter of the Eircode (One slot for A, one for C, etc.). For H and V they sort them into individual slots marked with the Eircode Routing Key. In other sorting centres the letters they want to sub-sort are different. What you are asking for is that they would sort many Routing Keys into the same slot. Let's say H23 has its own slot, but H53, H54 and H62 all go into the same slot, and H65 again has its own slot. That is a more complex and thus slower manual process.
    It's not surprising that H and V have different procedures considering they are the monster areas in the West of the country.

    And in a way they are already doing what I suggested -- the smaller ones (A's and C's) being lumped in together. So, I'm afraid I don't see any logic behind it being more complicated, to just split the bigger areas along the same lines.

    Not a criticism of you, but I think it's crazy that these internal details of how An Post operates were allowed to appear in the code design. It was one point that the original postcode board were quite strong on, that the design shouldn't do that.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,757 ✭✭✭antoinolachtnai


    PDVerse wrote: »
    Antoin, I could answer your post, providing as much information as I can, to help you better understand how mail sorting works and why the Routing Code is so important.

    The problem is that it is a routing code for a defunct business. The business that eircode was designed for is dying on its feet. Everybody knows this. The daily flat mail delivery will be gone by 2020, if not before.

    You might not agree with me, but it seems to me that every decision that is based solely on the needs of a defunct (if politically influential) business is going to be a bad decision. You need to design these things for the future, not for the past.

    You have made it quite obvious that there was a widespread view that An Post were very likely to scupper the process if it wasn't done in this way. I can understand that the design team had to take it into account.
    However there really isn't any point in me doing so if you're going to dismiss it as "post-hoc technical justification".

    The design was essentially set out by An Post and implemented by the Eircode team. This is abundantly clear from the documentation you refer to. I don't doubt that you are sincere in defending the design decisions. But I have good reason to believe these aren't design choices that the Eircode team made.
    The main reason I post here is to counter misconceptions that I know are untrue, and to provide the rationale for decisions that were made. That is all, I'm not trying to change anyone's mind. This thread will not materially affect Eircode adoption, irrespective of whether it is pro or anti Eircode.

    I appreciate that. And I don't expect you to come out and admit the truth, i.e., that An Post set the design parameters for Eircode to a fair level of detail and that Eircode just filled in the gaps.
    If you are willing to engage on the basis that we may agree to disagree on the weighting of pros and cons of design decisions then please ask away, but this time without accusations of lying.

    I very much appreciate that. I am not accusing anybody of lying. If it seems that way, I apologise. I have no doubt that you are sincere in your arguments.

    But the logic just doesn't follow through. The requirements make no technical sense, though they make good political sense. The implementation is similarly self-contradictory, though again, it makes good political sense. I am not knocking this. We all live in a political reality.

    As I have said above, I also have to say that you have thrown out facts as your basis which I find very hard to accept and that I don't think would stand up to scrutiny. I don't doubt that you believe these facts to be true, but I still don't accept them to be true.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,779 ✭✭✭Carawaystick


    PDVerse wrote: »
    1. Get items from many locations and bring them to one or a few central locations.
    2. Group items and send to dispersed delivery centres
    3. Group items for delivery personnel to deliver from these centres
    4. Deliver


    The Routing Key is designed to optimise step 2 process for An Post for items that require manual sortation.

    It's hard to understand how one dispersed delivery centre would serve the P51 areas.


  • Registered Users Posts: 160 ✭✭PDVerse


    The problem is that it is a routing code for a defunct business. The business that eircode was designed for is dying on its feet. Everybody knows this. The daily flat mail delivery will be gone by 2020, if not before.

    You might not agree with me, but it seems to me that every decision that is based solely on the needs of a defunct (if politically influential) business is going to be a bad decision. You need to design these things for the future, not for the past.

    You have made it quite obvious that there was a widespread view that An Post were very likely to scupper the process if it wasn't done in this way. I can understand that the design team had to take it into account.



    The design was essentially set out by An Post and implemented by the Eircode team. This is abundantly clear from the documentation you refer to. I don't doubt that you are sincere in defending the design decisions. But I have good reason to believe these aren't design choices that the Eircode team made.



    I appreciate that. And I don't expect you to come out and admit the truth, i.e., that An Post set the design parameters for Eircode to a fair level of detail and that Eircode just filled in the gaps.



    I very much appreciate that. I am not accusing anybody of lying. If it seems that way, I apologise. I have no doubt that you are sincere in your arguments.

    But the logic just doesn't follow through. The requirements make no technical sense, though they make good political sense. The implementation is similarly self-contradictory, though again, it makes good political sense. I am not knocking this. We all live in a political reality.

    As I have said above, I also have to say that you have thrown out facts as your basis which I find very hard to accept and that I don't think would stand up to scrutiny. I don't doubt that you believe these facts to be true, but I still don't accept them to be true.
    I'm not operating on the basis of belief. I know the facts. I've given the facts here. I appreciate that you have difficulty believing the facts to be true. Let's park that and move on. I'm unaware of any implementation or adoption issues affected by the Routing Key design. If you have evidence to the contrary, or have specific hypotheticals you want me to address then fire away.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,757 ✭✭✭antoinolachtnai


    There are some 'epistemological' problems here I suppose.

    Unfortunately I have the experience of the broader Eircode project team (not Capita or the consortium) telling blatant lies about the project and being found out. I know that that is not your fault, but the result is that the credibility of the Eircode project has been damaged. It is not your fault, but you have to accept it. It is hard to simply take what the Eircode team says is a fact at face value. Again, I suppose this is the political context rearing its head.

    In terms of facts, I personally find it incredible that part of the justification you put forward for the design was based on red envelopes on Valentines Day being a significant factor in the operation of a postal service and so an influence in the design of the code. It is just really hard to believe. I think it might have been relevant 10 years ago but I cannot see how it is the case today, because of technical progress on the one hand and the massive drop in mail volumes on the other.

    Now, the epistemological issue at the heart: I cannot see how you know that particular fact about the red envelopes from your own personal experience since you do not work in An Post. A single or even regular visits to the Mails Centre would not give you that first-hand experience. I do not doubt that you know that fact and believe it to be true, but you must acknowledge that you know that fact second-hand, not from your own experience. (As I say, I just don't accept that the fact is true in the modern mail delivery situation. If you produced documentation to back up your fact, I might be convinced, but you can't and you won't.)

    I am also putting forward facts which I know to be true from audited documentation, i.e., that An Post's flat mail operation is a dying business (though this is by no means the only documented-but-ignored fact). I am also putting forward a priori truths, i.e., that the argument for an area-based segment for the first part of the code is directly at odds with the argument for a random, meaningless segment for the latter part.

    You don't really respond to those facts. That is why I am pretty certain that my main contention, i.e., that the design of Eircode was based on political considerations rather than technical or business considerations, is true.

    None of this takes away from your earnest efforts to explain the workmanship of the code. But it does cast it in its proper context.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 160 ✭✭PDVerse


    There are some 'epistemological' problems here I suppose.

    Unfortunately I have the experience of the broader Eircode project team (not Capita or the consortium) telling blatant lies about the project and being found out. I know that that is not your fault, but the result is that the credibility of the Eircode project has been damaged. It is not your fault, but you have to accept it. It is hard to simply take what the Eircode team says is a fact at face value. Again, I suppose this is the political context rearing its head.

    In terms of facts, I personally find it incredible that part of the justification you put forward for the design was based on red envelopes on Valentines Day being a significant factor in the operation of a postal service and so an influence in the design of the code. It is just really hard to believe. I think it might have been relevant 10 years ago but I cannot see how it is the case today, because of technical progress on the one hand and the massive drop in mail volumes on the other.

    Now, the epistemological issue at the heart: I cannot see how you know that particular fact about the red envelopes from your own personal experience since you do not work in An Post. A single or even regular visits to the Mails Centre would not give you that first-hand experience. I do not doubt that you know that fact and believe it to be true, but you must acknowledge that you know that fact second-hand, not from your own experience. (As I say, I just don't accept that the fact is true in the modern mail delivery situation. If you produced documentation to back up your fact, I might be convinced, but you can't and you won't.)

    I am also putting forward facts which I know to be true from audited documentation, i.e., that An Post's flat mail operation is a dying business (though this is by no means the only documented-but-ignored fact). I am also putting forward a priori truths, i.e., that the argument for an area-based segment for the first part of the code is directly at odds with the argument for a random, meaningless segment for the latter part.

    You don't really respond to those facts. That is why I am pretty certain that my main contention, i.e., that the design of Eircode was based on political considerations rather than technical or business considerations, is true.

    None of this takes away from your earnest efforts to explain the workmanship of the code. But it does cast it in its proper context.

    An Posts views on the hierarchy of the unique identifier were in the context of an existing design. They happened to agree. Neither they, or anyone else, influenced that decision. It was not mentioned, let alone specified, in the final tender requirements.

    The design suits An Post sortation requirements to aid their efficiency. I'm sure you don't want An Post to be inefficient, so the only reason to be upset by design decisions is your belief they have compromised implementation or adoption for others. I see no evidence for that belief. If you have evidence to the contrary, or have specific hypotheticals you want me to address then fire away.


  • Registered Users Posts: 160 ✭✭PDVerse


    plodder wrote: »
    It's not surprising that H and V have different procedures considering they are the monster areas in the West of the country.

    And in a way they are already doing what I suggested -- the smaller ones (A's and C's) being lumped in together. So, I'm afraid I don't see any logic behind it being more complicated, to just split the bigger areas along the same lines.

    Not a criticism of you, but I think it's crazy that these internal details of how An Post operates were allowed to appear in the code design. It was one point that the original postcode board were quite strong on, that the design shouldn't do that.

    Small point, but the example of H & V isn't real, it just illustrates that certain parts of the Routing Key (same first letter, order of the numbers thereafter) are designed to be useful for sorting.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 148 ✭✭clewbays


    An Post received a substantial amount of money to upgrade their IT system to cope with the introduction of Eircodes and they devised a system that would not affect their sorting irrespective of whether an address item contained or did not contain an Eircode. Hence it was irrelevant to them what the chosen routing key was. So why choose a routing key that has no geography when county could have been used and would have been equally stable over time.

    We had a blip in interest when googlemaps was enhanced but 15 months on what is the use rate of Eircodes on An Post mail? Probably under 1%, is that success? Regarding Christmas cards and Valentine Day cards, do you really think that even 1% will contain an Eircode?


  • Registered Users Posts: 885 ✭✭✭byrnefm


    If the routing key is indeed useful to An Post and that they use it currently only in their automated mail centres, does An Post actually have a need for the last four characters of the Eircode? I ask since postmen can't use them and I'm not sure the automated mail sorters do anything with it either.

    I can see merit in the full Eircode for rural parcel delivery to help find houses but for An Post, since they use local postmen for deliveries, I'm wondering if the full code benefits them.

    I also wonder if An Post might incentivise people to use them. For example, when the postal prices go up again, might one get a discount if using the Eircode since it should enhance sorting? Maybe a similar discount like with franked mail. Money talks!

    Finally... I still don't get why PO Boxes don't have an Eircode like every other country I know of has a postcode for them. A post box has a physical location. Even An Post refers to an Eircode for some of its PO Box numbers at the GPO - I've seen it on preprinted envelopes from them. It seems very inconsistent that an Eircode helps with mail sorting .. unless the sorting is to a PO Box. This omission certainly got a lot of attention when the original mailers were sent out with a return address having a PO Box and no Eircode.

    BTW I do use them wherever possible (insofar as even looking them up and adding them to outgoing letters) as I think they are indeed beneficial .. but sometimes I feel like I'm the only 'odd' one doing so as noons else I know does, apart from my parents.


  • Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 28,776 Mod ✭✭✭✭oscarBravo


    It always seems to me that discussions on Eircode are largely pointless because so many people insist on focusing on precisely one issue at a time, and refusing to consider the whole picture.

    For example: routing keys. Why were the routing keys chosen? Because they work for An Post, who have the USO to deliver post. A postcode that didn't go some way towards facilitating the work of the universal service provider for postal services would have been silly.

    But, they then cry, what's the point in Eircodes if An Post can sort post without them? Because they're the USO, not a monopoly. Other people have requirements to deliver goods and services, and Eircodes can be useful to them - when, in some cases, they stop wasting energy complaining about them and actually start using them instead.

    I've said it before: it's awfully easy to criticise a system's design when you have the luxury of sniping at it from the sidelines after the fact. It's a lot harder to actually take into account all the competing (and sometimes contradictory) requirements, and actually arrive at a workable solution.

    And let's face it: we have a workable solution. When you distill the criticisms down, they all ultimately come down to the same thing: that's not how I would have done it. This may come as a surprise to the nay-sayers, but whatever design they came up with would have been criticised by someone else.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 158 ✭✭GJG


    clewbays wrote: »
    An Post received a substantial amount of money to upgrade their IT system to cope with the introduction of Eircodes and they devised a system that would not affect their sorting irrespective of whether an address item contained or did not contain an Eircode. Hence it was irrelevant to them what the chosen routing key was. So why choose a routing key that has no geography when county could have been used and would have been equally stable over time.

    We had a blip in interest when googlemaps was enhanced but 15 months on what is the use rate of Eircodes on An Post mail? Probably under 1%, is that success? Regarding Christmas cards and Valentine Day cards, do you really think that even 1% will contain an Eircode?

    What you are claiming here is a clear breach of EU laws against state aid. Do you have any source to back up the claim?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 148 ✭✭clewbays


    GJG wrote: »
    What you are claiming here is a clear breach of EU laws against state aid. Do you have any source to back up the claim?

    I haven't claimed that. Here is text from the Dail:

    Eircodes will be fully integrated with An Post's mail-sorting systems. Any integration costs will be part of An Post's overall capital expenditure cost. Those costs are expected to come to approximately 1 million.


  • Registered Users Posts: 892 ✭✭✭Bray Head


    clewbays wrote: »
    GJG wrote: »
    What you are claiming here is a clear breach of EU laws against state aid. Do you have any source to back up the claim?

    I haven't claimed that. Here is text from the Dail:

    Eircodes will be fully integrated with An Post's mail-sorting systems. Any integration costs will be part of An Post's overall capital expenditure cost. Those costs are expected to come to approximately 1 million.
    1 million is not a huge amount of money for an IT upgrade for an organisation the size of An Post...........


  • Registered Users Posts: 160 ✭✭PDVerse


    oscarBravo wrote: »
    It always seems to me that discussions on Eircode are largely pointless because so many people insist on focusing on precisely one issue at a time, and refusing to consider the whole picture.

    For example: routing keys. Why were the routing keys chosen? Because they work for An Post, who have the USO to deliver post. A postcode that didn't go some way towards facilitating the work of the universal service provider for postal services would have been silly.

    But, they then cry, what's the point in Eircodes if An Post can sort post without them? Because they're the USO, not a monopoly. Other people have requirements to deliver goods and services, and Eircodes can be useful to them - when, in some cases, they stop wasting energy complaining about them and actually start using them instead.

    I've said it before: it's awfully easy to criticise a system's design when you have the luxury of sniping at it from the sidelines after the fact. It's a lot harder to actually take into account all the competing (and sometimes contradictory) requirements, and actually arrive at a workable solution.

    And let's face it: we have a workable solution. When you distill the criticisms down, they all ultimately come down to the same thing: that's not how I would have done it. This may come as a surprise to the nay-sayers, but whatever design they came up with would have been criticised by someone else.

    That was the reason I posted the fictional Newspaper article recently. It wasn't a "let me show you how wrong you are" post, it was an attempt to demonstrate how others would have reacted to their design choice. It is perfectly valid to say "I appreciate that some people wouldn't like this design decision but on balance I think it is the correct decision", but it is incredibly annoying to read criticism of the design that completely ignores the downsides associated with the alternative choices.


  • Registered Users Posts: 160 ✭✭PDVerse


    For anyone that is interested, you can download a copy of the current Eircode Address Database Product Guide from this link
    https://www.autoaddress.ie/docs/default-source/default-document-library/eircode-address-database-product-guide-edition-2-version-5.pdf


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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,708 ✭✭✭Curly Judge


    PDVerse wrote: »
    That was the reason I posted the fictional Newspaper article recently. It wasn't a "let me show you how wrong you are" post, it was an attempt to demonstrate how others would have reacted to their design choice. It is perfectly valid to say "I appreciate that some people wouldn't like this design decision but on balance I think it is the correct decision", but it is incredibly annoying to read criticism of the design that completely ignores the downsides associated with the alternative choices.

    Forgive me if I don't weep for you.
    All of this nonsense could have been avoided if we went for a location code, which is needed, as opposed to a post code, which is not.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,286 ✭✭✭TheChizler


    PDVerse wrote: »
    That was the reason I posted the fictional Newspaper article recently. It wasn't a "let me show you how wrong you are" post, it was an attempt to demonstrate how others would have reacted to their design choice. It is perfectly valid to say "I appreciate that some people wouldn't like this design decision but on balance I think it is the correct decision", but it is incredibly annoying to read criticism of the design that completely ignores the downsides associated with the alternative choices.

    Forgive me if I don't weep for you.
    All of this nonsense could have been avoided if we went for a location code, which is needed, as opposed to a post code, which is not.
    Which would have come with a whole load of disadvantages itself, which is the point being put across.


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,062 ✭✭✭plodder


    PDVerse wrote: »
    Eircode allows the address to be placed at the exact location without any effort with a simple Google API call.

    The process was a two year collaborative tender, a final tender and tender process, a design process and an implementation process. I understand that you disagree with some design decisions, but there wasn't an absence of input from affected parties, and the interests of the public were paramount.
    That sounds a lot like civil servant speak. The fact is that the public weren't consulted at all, and some of the stake holders who were consulted like the freight transport industry, were ignored. Even state actors like the Data Protection Commissioner was ignored.
    We researched the pros and cons of other postcodes extensively to ensure the public interest was properly weighted rather than just a list of requirements from industry and Government. The weighting of pros and cons of design decisions are detailed in the design document.

    As an example, there is currently a lot of comment about what would have been a better design for CSO. What would have been achieved by a public debate about what CSO might want or need? CSO gave their input, and the design suits CSO requirements 100%. The structure and content of the Eircode Address Database is where most of these design decisions impacted. The actual postcode format of 7 characters, while a relatively small part of the overall design, was discussed and debated extensively.
    The issue isn't really whether the CSO is happy. It's whether the potential users of the CSO's statistics are happy. The issue I highlighted relating to the disparity in routing key area size, might not have been noticed yet by those potential users. But, that doesn't mean the problem doesn't exist. So long as Eircode usage stays low, a lot of these issues will remain under the public perception radar.
    PDVerse wrote:
    The rationale is something I've explained many times. To quote a section of a blog I wrote in April 2015

    Avoids "Postcode Lottery" issues
    "Hello I'd like to draw an imaginary line around your house which may affect your property price, insurance costs, your school catchment area, etc. Any problem with that?". The secondary uses of postcodes appeared long after postcode boundaries were introduced in other countries. As we are late adopters these will be immediate. Current rumblings of lack of sequencing/hierarchy in the design would be replaced by local protests against the negative impact of public groupings of properties. Reaching agreement on where to draw the lines could prove impossible.

    Imposing a public grouping of properties that introduces postcode discrimination is fundamentally unfair. As Eircode is unique to each property it allows grouping of addresses specific to each use rather than a "one-size-fits-all" approach embedded in the postcode. Therefore hierarchy in the postcode design is not only undesirable, it is simply not required.

    The following links highlight issues with the introduction of postcodes in Fermanagh that the Eircode design ensures won't happen here:

    Postcode Lottery Issue
    http://fermanaghherald.com/2014/06/g...-pocket-over-p...

    Low adoption
    http://fermanaghherald.com/2014/11/o...sidents-using-...

    Address change resistance
    http://fermanaghherald.com/2012/06/b...s-moves-up-ano
    Two points.
    1) It's strange that one of the most successful and useful aspects of the UK postcode, ie the ability to easily and efficiently group properties for all kinds of different purposes, is being described as a disadvantage in an Irish context. That suggests the real reason for not following the same model is some thing else, and surely enough the desire to monetise the data and disallow any significant usage outside of a commercial model, is a much better explanation

    2) Even disregarding point 1. the technical reasoning behind the postcode lottery argument is wrong for a number of reasons:

    i) small areas were designed so they could be aggregated in different ways for different purposes (eg one way for electoral divisions, a different way for school catchments, for crime risk etc)

    ii) notwithstanding point i) if small areas aren't suitable (in many cases serious business intelligence would need a customised approach) then you simply fallback to the approach that Eircode requires today ie you build your own aggregation. This is the tragedy inherent in Eircode. An open code would have facilitated many uses that will never occur with Eircode (eg the school committee we discussed a while back). Commercial users of an open code would still license Eircode products because they would want to develop their own customised business intelligence.

    iii) the essence of the "postcode lottery" argument is really the fact that open postcodes are transparent, and everyone can see what is happening. The argument against open postcodes is really saying, it's ok to draw imaginary lines around people's properties so long as those lines aren't visible to the public. In other words, what people don't know won't worry them. Insurance companies do actually use geographic areas for crime risk, it's just we don't necessarily know what the boundaries of those areas are.

    On the general point that people will always criticise whatever is delivered. That is true. But it certainly doesn't follow that what gets delivered is optimal or even good. You should always get suspicious when people use arguments like that to try and shut a debate down.


  • Registered Users Posts: 160 ✭✭PDVerse


    plodder wrote: »
    That sounds a lot like civil servant speak. The fact is that the public weren't consulted at all, and some of the stake holders who were consulted like the freight transport industry, were ignored. Even state actors like the Data Protection Commissioner was ignored.

    The issue isn't really whether the CSO is happy. It's whether the potential users of the CSO's statistics are happy. The issue I highlighted relating to the disparity in routing key area size, might not have been noticed yet by those potential users. But, that doesn't mean the problem doesn't exist. So long as Eircode usage stays low, a lot of these issues will remain under the public perception radar.


    Two points.
    1) It's strange that one of the most successful and useful aspects of the UK postcode, ie the ability to easily and efficiently group properties for all kinds of different purposes, is being described as a disadvantage in an Irish context. That suggests the real reason for not following the same model is some thing else, and surely enough the desire to monetise the data and disallow any significant usage outside of a commercial model, is a much better explanation

    2) Even disregarding point 1. the technical reasoning behind the postcode lottery argument is wrong for a number of reasons:

    i) small areas were designed so they could be aggregated in different ways for different purposes (eg one way for electoral divisions, a different way for school catchments, for crime risk etc)

    ii) notwithstanding point i) if small areas aren't suitable (in many cases serious business intelligence would need a customised approach) then you simply fallback to the approach that Eircode requires today ie you build your own aggregation. This is the tragedy inherent in Eircode. An open code would have facilitated many uses that will never occur with Eircode (eg the school committee we discussed a while back). Commercial users of an open code would still license Eircode products because they would want to develop their own customised business intelligence.

    iii) the essence of the "postcode lottery" argument is really the fact that open postcodes are transparent, and everyone can see what is happening. The argument against open postcodes is really saying, it's ok to draw imaginary lines around people's properties so long as those lines aren't visible to the public. In other words, what people don't know won't worry them. Insurance companies do actually use geographic areas for crime risk, it's just we don't necessarily know what the boundaries of those areas are.

    On the general point that people will always criticise whatever is delivered. That is true. But it certainly doesn't follow that what gets delivered is optimal or even good. You should always get suspicious when people use arguments like that to try and shut a debate down.

    I don't need to ask the public their view on how CSO statistics can be used, or how Insurance companies use spatial data. That's been my day job for 23 years. Your posts on the subject demonstrate that you don't have first hand knowledge in this area. I'm sorry if I seem dismissive of your objections in this particular area, but I do happen to know how this works.

    I'll say it again, the funding model had zero impact on design decisions. People may have difficulty accepting this, but it is a fact.

    When Eircode is fully integrated into Google's API shortly then projects such as your school committee will be possible for free.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 158 ✭✭GJG


    clewbays wrote: »
    I haven't claimed that. Here is text from the Dail:

    Eircodes will be fully integrated with An Post's mail-sorting systems. Any integration costs will be part of An Post's overall capital expenditure cost. Those costs are expected to come to approximately 1 million.

    You claimed that "An Post received a substantial amount of money to upgrade their IT system to cope with the introduction of Eircodes". The quote you provide from the Dáil record directly contradicts your claim.

    'Received' money implies that someone gave it to them - presumably the taxpayer. Your quotation directly states that An Post invested from their own resources.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 148 ✭✭clewbays


    GJG wrote: »
    An Post invested from their own resources.

    You are saying An Post invested €1 million euro to upgrade their sorting software to handle Eircode when they are showing no interest in making people use it - in fact they have said that use of it is not compulsory.

    How much do you think An Post received for disseminating the Eircodes: over 2 million pieces of mail at x pence per unit.

    How much do you think An Post received for allowing the use of GeoDirectory? Hint: The Department of Communications previously indicated that 46% of the €27 million estimated costs would be received by the two owners of GeoDirectory.


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,062 ✭✭✭plodder


    PDVerse wrote: »
    I don't need to ask the public their view on how CSO statistics can be used, or how Insurance companies use spatial data. That's been my day job for 23 years. Your posts on the subject demonstrate that you don't have first hand knowledge in this area. I'm sorry if I seem dismissive of your objections in this particular area, but I do happen to know how this works.
    Don't be sorry, I didn't expect you to say anything different..
    I'll say it again, the funding model had zero impact on design decisions. People may have difficulty accepting this, but it is a fact.

    When Eircode is fully integrated into Google's API shortly then projects such as your school committee will be possible for free.
    What we have so far on google is half baked. I won't be holding my breath.


  • Registered Users Posts: 160 ✭✭PDVerse


    To summarise our main disagreements
    plodder wrote: »
    The issue isn't really whether the CSO is happy. It's whether the potential users of the CSO's statistics are happy. The issue I highlighted relating to the disparity in routing key area size, might not have been noticed yet by those potential users. But, that doesn't mean the problem doesn't exist.
    The problem doesn't exist.
    plodder wrote: »
    That suggests the real reason for not following the same model is some thing else, and surely enough the desire to monetise the data and disallow any significant usage outside of a commercial model, is a much better explanation
    This claim is false.
    plodder wrote: »
    This is the tragedy inherent in Eircode. An open code would have facilitated many uses that will never occur with Eircode (eg the school committee we discussed a while back).
    We agree that this tragedy will be averted when Google (and subsequently Bing Maps and others) have integrated Eircode fully. There really isn't any more to be said until we can evaluate the Google integration, which is currently in beta testing.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 158 ✭✭GJG


    clewbays wrote: »
    You are saying An Post invested €1 million euro to upgrade their sorting software to handle Eircode...

    No, I'm not saying that, the quote from the Dáil record that you provided is saying that.
    clewbays wrote: »
    ... when they are showing no interest in making people use it - in fact they have said that use of it is not compulsory.

    An Post publically said that they would use eircodes before they were launched, since the launch they have publically confirmed that they do use it, and they recommend that postal users use it.

    Pat Rabbite confirmed at the launch that for the present, An Post would continue to deliver post without an Eircode. I can hardly see that any other position would make sense.

    If you live in an Alice in Wonderland world where 'using their own resources' means 'getting money', and 'using' means 'not using', then I can't really predict how your mind will process actual facts, but for the rest of us, if you genuinely think that in the long term, you will be able to access location-based services or much else that requires your address while withholding your Eircode, then I'm happy for you to believe that and let readers make up their own minds.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 148 ✭✭clewbays


    GJG wrote: »
    If you live in an Alice in Wonderland world where 'using their own resources' means 'getting money', and 'using' means 'not using', then I can't really predict how your mind will process actual facts, but for the rest of us, if you genuinely think that in the long term, you will be able to access location-based services or much else that requires your address while withholding your Eircode, then I'm happy for you to believe that and let readers make up their own minds.

    I think your posting is insulting. You are attributing things to me that I have not said. For example, when did I ever make a reference about withholding my Eircode?

    Instead of asking readers to make up their own minds, can I ask a moderator to give an opinion on whether your remarks are appropriate to attribute to me?


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