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Government introduces Postcodes in Ireland..?

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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,629 ✭✭✭ plodder


    garydubh wrote: »
    Plodder you are talking around in circles. First recommending a system with minimum characters and now finally recommending Lat/long with a minimum of 14 characters and not mentioning which version of Lat/long to be used.
    You're misrepresenting what I said now. I clearly said that since many people are calling for an urgent solution to the problem of commercial deliveries, there is an interim solution, which is the use of numeric latitude and longitude. There is no need for the govt. to adopt a system hastily which might not meet the needs of all users.
    Your comments are now reactionary and you are not thinking things through and if I may say so starting at least 4 years too late!
    Reactionary? What are you talking about? Is it too much to ask for a document that sets out the options and makes a reasoned recommendation? If the recommendation is your system, then I'll be happy with that, but you already hinted that the working group considered a system like yours, but rejected it. I'd like to know the reason why.
    What are you talking about administartive areas for - they have nothing to do with Post Codes and if you were to relate Post Codes to Admin Areas then we will all have to change our Post Codes every time that administrative areas change - which they do !

    Geographers/IT specialists etc etc - they all have already been involved including Central Statistics office, GIS persons etc etc etc - I personally fall into several of those brackets.
    I refer you to the National Statistics Board, who said the following about post codes.
    "In rural areas, the postcode should be sufficiently detailed to assist distinguishing between different houses/buildings with the same postal address, e.g. John Murphy, Newtown. It should be consistent with local geography such as Electoral Divisions.
    I'm not saying that this requirement is paramount, but it does highlight the fact that there are many (possibly conflicting) requirements on a postcode, and this is why the State must
    1. publish its investigations
    2. solicit input from all stake holders including the public
    3. then decide which is the optimal solution
    garydubh wrote:
    Look this is not some academic project to fulfill a PhD requirement - it is the real world where commercial opertators (which I think you have some dislike for)
    That's a ludicrous accusation. I work in the commercial IT sector :( [edit] My point was that consultants don't always do a great job. And that sometimes academics can provide creative solutions to problems. It's hardly that controversial a thing to say.
    I think you are afraid to address the points I am making. You have never addressed the point I made about other possible ways to efficiently encode a location.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 10,012 thebman


    Plodder you seem to be putting up walls for the sake of it.

    Your arguments seem intelligent in one way but utterly pointless considering the system is a postcode system, its not like we are talking about going into space.

    If it has sufficient resolution to be able to pin point a location to within a few metres and can be done without the need for a hard to maintain database and contains few enough characters that people can easily remember it then I fail to see any worthwhile objection someone would have to such a system.

    It seems to perform all the functions a postcode should without the need for a database. The only objections I could see to such a system would be from people with interests in holding up the roll out of such a system (i.e. An Post).


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 443 ✭✭ garydubh


    plodder wrote: »
    I think you are afraid to address the points I am making. You have never addressed the point I made about other possible ways to efficiently encode a location.

    Plodder I think you are getting confused - I have nothing to do with the Government so it is not for me to identify all the possible solutions - after 3 years of research which considered all your points - PON Codes were developed and realeased for use.

    If the Government has not kept you personally up to date with all ideas submitted and the results of consultants reports - then please take that up with them - it is not an issue for me!

    Regarding your point on the NSB and the area reuirement - if the postcode has point resolution - i.e. +/-6 meters then it can satisfy any area required as all areas (POLYGONS) are constructed using points - so PON Codes definitely satisfy this NSB requirement and indeed their one which states that a desireable Post Code system should be based on coordinates!

    I do agree, however, that it does seem that there is an information vacuum on all this and this is partly why I stepped in in 2006 and tried to solve the problem in my own time and at my own expense.

    Given the information vacuum, therefore, it is probably fair that I fill you in with what I know - after that please direct your queries/demands to Dept. Of Comms:

    Overview Only - Exact Detail available from Dept. Of Comms:
    2005 Gov Post Code Board established
    2005 Consultants Appointed
    2006 3 Recommendations made with the No1. recommendation having 3 letters & 3 numbers giving resolution of 20 houses approx in Dublin and up to 6km in other counties.
    Jan 2007 as the no. 1 recommendation was considered worse than UK system and not suitable for navigation i.e. for commercial deliveries services etc - GPS Ireland Published Proposals for the alternative PON Code coordinate based system.
    2007 Gov Proposal sent by Dept Of Comms for Further Cost Benefit Analysis.
    Dec 2007 Member of Gov Post Code Management Board launched his own Coordinate Based Post Code Proposal in competition with Post Codes Board's own Proposals and GPS Ireland's - this has since been shown to be unworkable as users could have a post Code spelling words such as "D0G FACE"
    Jan 2008 Gov Deadline for Implementation of a National Post Code System Passed without comment or update
    June 2008 GPS Ireland Launched PON Codes for use by SatNav users as well as mail delivery services
    ????2008 Dept of Comms supposed to report back to Gov on cost benefit analysis of No 1 recommended system

    It is estimated that no1 Gov recommended system will cost Euro50 million and 18 months to implement (including a technology support payment to An Post to encourage recognition) Because this system will have a resolution as poor as 6 km in rural areas it will not be suitable for tourists, emergency services, couriers, service providers etc etc.

    Jan 2010 commencement of liberalisation of Postal Services in Ireland where commercial organisations under license can deliver mail.


    It is suggested that if the Gov No1. proposal was given the go ahead this autumn (unlikely because of budgetary and other considerations) then it would be mid 2010 before it was implemented (substantial databases to be created etc) - this would mean that new commercial organisations entering the Postal Delivery market will not have the benefit of Post Codes when they start, thereby maintaining An Post's Advantage in the market initially.

    Major SatNav manufacturers and Map makers for SatNav's have been trying to agree a license agreement with the Ordnance Survey of Ireland (OSI) for use of their mapping for several years. To date this has not been possible because of the licensing fees asked by the OSI and therefore commercial organisations have had to do SatNav mapping for Ireland from scratch. OSI is the semi state body responsible for mapping in Ireland. It is feared that if the no. 1 Gov proposal is adopted - because it will rely heavily on a database which must be kept to date and partly contributed to by the OSI, SatNav makers may not be able to agree an affordable licensing agreement for the database and its update with Gov (ComReg) etc. This could mean that the national post code system would not be available for use on SatNav's for 1.5 million SatNav users predicted by 2010 (including over 0.5 million commercial vehicle users) and the 1 million plus vistors who come to Ireland by road annually.

    In the mean time PON Codes are a working system which satisfy all the requirements as set out by the Post Code board in 2005 and by the National Statistics Board (NSB). PON Codes simplify implementation because they are coordinate based no databases are required to implement or to keep up to date. For this reason Garmin was able to implement PON Codes for testing on their Garmin Nuvi 700 series at no cost and there is no cost to the user. Full details at www.irishpostcodes.ie


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,629 ✭✭✭ plodder


    brim4brim wrote: »
    Plodder you seem to be putting up walls for the sake of it.

    Your arguments seem intelligent in one way but utterly pointless considering the system is a postcode system, its not like we are talking about going into space.

    If it has sufficient resolution to be able to pin point a location to within a few metres and can be done without the need for a hard to maintain database and contains few enough characters that people can easily remember it then I fail to see any worthwhile objection someone would have to such a system.

    It seems to perform all the functions a postcode should without the need for a database. The only objections I could see to such a system would be from people with interests in holding up the roll out of such a system (i.e. An Post).
    Surely you realise that there is more than one system that can meet the objectives above. It seems people have latched onto one particular system, for no better reason that it's already defined and someone is pushing it hard.

    On the issue of whether a database is good or not, that depends very much on the details of the system, and what you mean by a database. Really the issue is how much (if any) maintenance the database requires. Then, there is the point that a national address database already exists (owned and maintained by An Post and the OSI). Of course, there would be some effort needed to aggregate individual addresses into a postcode structure. But the ongoing (additional) maintenance wouldn't be that high.

    Even if the system is not to be based on an address database, why not include the existing car reg. county letters (D, G, CW etc.) as the first part of the code? People already know which county they live in. Then, fixed geographical tables would be used to locate the blocks within each county. No maintenance required, and cheap to set up.

    There are many different ways to do it. I'd like to think that some of them have been actually thought through, and considered. As the saying goes, there's more than one way to skin a cat.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 443 ✭✭ garydubh


    plodder wrote: »

    Even if the system is not to be based on an address database, why not include the existing car reg. county letters (D, G, CW etc.) as the first part of the code? People already know which county they live in. Then, fixed geographical tables would be used to locate the blocks within each county. No maintenance required, and cheap to set up.

    This county ID can be done but because most counties have a 2 character identifier - the Code goes from 7 to 8 characters - again contradicting your requirement to reduce rather than increase the charcater requirement.

    Additionally this is a waste of effort as no Post Code will be used without related address so in the same way as in the UK a full Post Code would be London SW1 xxxx or Cork W5K 59VN

    Again Plodder you are coming up with all the genuine ideas that others have already given a lot of thought to.

    The Government No1. Proposal is a 3 character County ID!

    Plodder I think really you need to write all your ideas down and spend some time considering them - right now you are just using others brain power to think through your own off the cuff thoughts. Who knows if you make some effort yourself you might come up with something unique !


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  • Registered Users Posts: 6,629 ✭✭✭ plodder


    garydubh wrote: »
    This county ID can be done but because most counties have a 2 character identifier - the Code goes from 7 to 8 characters - again contradicting your requirement to reduce rather than increase the charcater requirement.
    Yes, it probably would increase the overall size of the code, but it would be easier to remember, because the initial characters represent information that people already know, whereas your codes are completey new, and the initial character bears no relationship to existing information.
    Additionally this is a waste of effort as no Post Code will be used without related address so in the same way as in the UK a full Post Code would be London SW1 xxxx or Cork W5K 59VN
    No, I don't accept that. Codes are complete in themselves. When you type a UK postcode into your Garmin, you just type "SW1 xxxx", not "London SW1 xxxx", because the London is superfluous. Would be the same for W5K59VN in your system.
    Again Plodder you are coming up with all the genuine ideas that others have already given a lot of thought to.

    The Government No1. Proposal is a 3 character County ID!
    That sounds completely daft. If they published their ideas before now, then maybe it would have become clearer sooner.
    Plodder I think really you need to write all your ideas down and spend some time considering them - right now you are just using others brain power to think through your own off the cuff thoughts. Who knows if you make some effort yourself you might come up with something unique !
    Sorry, but with all due respect, you're not going to dismiss my opinions with that kind of put down. The govt. hasn't decided on a system yet, and I'll be doing my best to encourage them to pick the best one.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 443 ✭✭ garydubh


    plodder wrote: »

    Sorry, but with all due respect, you're not going to dismiss my opinions with that kind of put down. The govt. hasn't decided on a system yet, and I'll be doing my best to encourage them to pick the best one.

    Plodder no one is dismissing your opinions just asking you to work them through yourself and if you want to convince the Government of anything then contact them directly. There is more than you in the que!

    I wish you all the best and admire your enthusiasm...


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 20,962 Mod ✭✭✭✭ bk


    plodder wrote: »
    Yes, it probably would increase the overall size of the code, but it would be easier to remember, because the initial characters represent information that people already know, whereas your codes are completey new, and the initial character bears no relationship to existing information.

    Why is a 7 digit code so hard to remember?

    Your mobile phone number is 9 digits long, similarly your home number is between 8 and 10 digits long. Do you have trouble remembering them also?

    As I pointed out earlier most post codes in the world are between 6 and 10 digits long, so 7 digits seems very reasonable.

    plodder, if you can come up with a better system, then great, do that, publish it and we can all way up the pros and cons of your system versus Gary's and others (the governments no 1 choice is awful IMO).


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 443 ✭✭ garydubh


    PON Codes do infact provide for optional County Codes - see here: http://www.gpsireland.ie/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=47&Itemid=79&limit=1&limitstart=1

    In addition our full written specification for copyright and patent also includes codes for Northern Ireland counties. So why did we not use the county code as part of the PON Code?..............

    This was considered but because some Car Reg county codes are 1 character and others are 2, then the PON Code could be either 7 or 8 characters. Having a code which is not a definite number of characters presents a problem for error checking etc and users could never be sure if a character had been mistakenly left out or added in. So the next alternative was to re-specify the official Car Reg County code so that they were all 2 letters. This could be done but would then lead to confusion where there is one version for cars and another for PON Codes - the end result therefore, was that it was considered the best practical solution to not include county codes at all.

    The current 7 character PON Code defines position to +/- 6 meters and therfore is absolutely complete in itself. However, our research indicated that PON Codes are unlikely to be used in isolation - so that in most cases some form of address will be associated with it - even if it is only something like Cork W5K 59VN - in this way on a SatNav for instance when W5K 59VN is entered the SatNav will come back with the name of the nearest town/townland and county as a means of error checking so that the user can be certain they have entered the code correctly.

    So Plodder that is why the County ID has not been included in the PON Code itself but is provided for as an optional prefix - hopefully you will see that there has been some thought put into all this and it has taken 3 years to evolve to the current version through research, testing, feedback etc etc.

    I know you are eager to see and evaluate all possible solutions but you should not write off PON Codes just because you have not seen any alternatives - hopefully after all your detailed and considered research you will find that PON Codes have been well thought out and conceived - and any compromises taken were for legitimate and practical reasons.

    We believe that PON Codes are the best solution and in nearly 4 years of boards and consultants nobody else has come up with a working and available solution!


    Anyway on a more important Note - Circus Gerbola is on in SO-FP8 61QN from today 27th Aug to 29th.

    To Find the PON Code FP8 61QN and see it on a map - enter it here: http://www.irishpostcodes.ie/ponc/poncviewl.php

    I might see you there!;)


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,629 ✭✭✭ plodder


    bk wrote: »
    As I pointed out earlier most post codes in the world are between 6 and 10 digits long, so 7 digits seems very reasonable.
    Bk, it's not 7 digits. It is (or appears to be) one alphabetic character, four alphanumeric characters, and two digits. That's equivalent to around 9 or 10 digits. That isn't nit picking, because numbers may be easier to remember, easier to call out over the phone etc. and that is a factor which needs to be considered, when making a comparison.
    bk wrote: »
    plodder, if you can come up with a better system, then great, do that, publish it and we can all way up the pros and cons of your system versus Gary's and others (the governments no 1 choice is awful IMO).
    That's not really the best way to deal with the problem in my opinion. Like I said earlier, I think (funded) research into different approaches should be done by either the private sector or academic experts (or both). How much money does the State pay funding 3rd level research, yet here we have a problem, where members of the public (like Gary, or me?) are expected to do it.

    I enquired yesterday from the Dept. of Communications about getting information on the work done so far, and it seems I have to pay for a freedom of information request to get it. Talk about open government, and public consultation :rolleyes:


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  • Registered Users Posts: 6,629 ✭✭✭ plodder


    garydubh wrote: »
    Regarding your point on the NSB and the area reuirement - if the postcode has point resolution - i.e. +/-6 meters then it can satisfy any area required as all areas (POLYGONS) are constructed using points - so PON Codes definitely satisfy this NSB requirement and indeed their one which states that a desireable Post Code system should be based on coordinates!
    I'm a bit confused by this. Areas in your system are squares, are they not? Are you saying that arbitrary administrative areas can be mapped by combining different sized squares? If so, that's not really what I was getting at.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,312 ✭✭✭ sink


    plodder wrote: »
    I'm a bit confused by this. Areas in your system are squares, are they not? Are you saying that arbitrary administrative areas can be mapped by combining different sized squares? If so, that's not really what I was getting at.

    Polygons are different sizes two dimensional shapes with a finite number of straight edges.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polygon

    I've been following the debate for a while and plodder I don't really see what your objection is to PONC, other than just being anti for anti's sake. I hope the people who make the decisions in the end are more open minded.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,629 ✭✭✭ plodder


    sink wrote: »
    Polygons are different sizes two dimensional shapes with a finite number of straight edges.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polygon

    I've been following the debate for a while and plodder I don't really see what your objection is to PONC, other than just being anti for anti's sake. I hope the people who make the decisions in the end are more open minded.
    I'm well aware what a polygon is. That's not what I asked.

    Am I not entitled to ask questions about a system which is being proposed as a national post code system - practically none of which have been answered satisfactorily. Maybe, I come across overly negative about it, but it is completely ludicrous to think that a system will be adopted without being scrutinised closely.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,312 ✭✭✭ sink


    plodder wrote: »
    I'm well aware what a polygon is. That's not what I asked.

    Sorry, why are you asking about squares then?
    plodder wrote: »
    Am I not entitled to ask questions about a system which is being proposed as a national post code system - practically none of which have been answered satisfactorily.

    Of course your entitled to ask whatever you like. From what I've read most of your questions have been answered in one way or another. What I think is happening is that the answers don't fit in with your predetermined ideal answer and so you reject it without further thought. Sometimes when designing a system some requirements are contradictory so you have to make a compromise. If you are unwilling to compromise you will just keep going round in circles.
    plodder wrote: »
    Maybe, I come across overly negative about it, but it is completely ludicrous to think that a system will be adopted without being scrutinised closely.

    Of course, but that does not mean you have to immediately reject the system if it does not exactly match your predetermined requirements. Sometimes those requirement are contradictory and cannot possibly be fulfilled.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,629 ✭✭✭ plodder


    sink wrote: »
    Sorry, why are you asking about squares then?
    Oh dear, if you don't understand the question ... Ok.... If you look at the PONC website, you will see that the units of area represented by the different levels of the code are squares. eg "W" is a 100x100km square containing most of Cork and bits of other counties. At the next level eg. "W5K" represents a 3.5x3.5 km square. At the lowest level, the smallest units are 12x12 m squares.

    Now, these units couldn't possibly represent administrative areas, because no such areas are squares. ie. Co. Cork is not a square. Dublin city is not a square.

    I'm just saying that this reduces the utility of the system for administrative purposes. eg. A code beginning with W probably belongs to someone living in Cork, but it doesn't always. Other possible post code systems are based on administrative areas, and don't have this problem. Now, I'm not saying that is an argument for ruling out the PONC system, but it is a point that needs to be debated.

    There will also be numerous other similar anomalies at the next level down. For example, the town of Malahide Co Dublin is mostly contained in one 3.5km square (MRF xxxx), but the Western side of the town is in the Swords square (MSF xxxx). Now, I can tell you (from experience) that would not go down well with the inhabitants of the Western part of Malahide. ;)

    Again, I have to stress that this is not a slam-dunk argument against the PONC system, because it has advantages in other areas, which other systems don't have. But please, don't ignore these issues in the hope that nobody will care about them, if a system like this is adopted.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 443 ✭✭ garydubh


    plodder wrote: »
    Bk, it's not 7 digits. It is (or appears to be) one alphabetic character, four alphanumeric characters, and two digits. That's equivalent to around 9 or 10 digits. :rolleyes:

    Plodder - (very appropriate name) - PON Codes are absolutely 7 characters - no more and no less - I have pointed you towards detailed explanations on both www.gpsireland.ie and www.irishpostcodes.ie and I have patiently tried to explain all I can about PON Codes to you and answer the questions that relate to me and PON Codes (rants about research and government information are nothing to do with me) - furthermore yesterday I even gave you a blow by blow account of the Post Code development since 2005 as I know it - what more do I have to do?
    plodder wrote: »
    I'm a bit confused by this. Areas in your system are squares, are they not? Are you saying that arbitrary administrative areas can be mapped by combining different sized squares? If so, that's not really what I was getting at.

    Its time you actually read into and considered all that is being said to you - this is becoming tiresome - not because you are asking questions but because you are either not reading or not considering the answers.

    www.irishpostcodes.ie explains the breakdow of PON codes which start as squares and the full seven characters define a point with an accuracy of +/- 6 meters (better than the accuracy of a standard GPS).

    Polygons are defined by points (Dots joined by straight lines) - therefore PON Codes can be used to define any Polygon you wish or more correctly in GIS terms any PON Code can be tested as to whether it is inside or outside any Polygon. Polygons are used for GIS and statistical analysis and as PON Codes are points they fit the NSB and the GIS requirements.

    Please, please, please take some time now to put all that has been said here together and read it all again before the next reaction...

    By the way are you going to Circus Gerbola?


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 20,962 Mod ✭✭✭✭ bk


    plodder wrote: »
    Bk, it's not 7 digits. It is (or appears to be) one alphabetic character, four alphanumeric characters, and two digits. That's equivalent to around 9 or 10 digits. That isn't nit picking, because numbers may be easier to remember, easier to call out over the phone etc. and that is a factor which needs to be considered, when making a comparison.

    I remember reading in the past research showing that people find it easier to remember alpha numeric codes then purely numeric, I'll look for the research and post a link to it if I can find it.

    However calling out numbers is easier then alpha numeric, but I don't think it is a major issue and almost all post codes are alphanumeric. The alternative is latitude and longitude, which would be a 16 digit code (excluding separators)!!!!

    I have to agree with sink, Plodder with all due respect, I believe you are just being anti for the sake of it, you don't seem to understand half the answers been given to you or the compromises involved and yet you haven't put forward a single useful alternative yourself.

    Gary, I must say you have the patience of a saint, you have proven to yourself to be very professional and informative in all your answers. It is a pity the government aren't so transparent.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,629 ✭✭✭ plodder


    garydubh wrote: »
    Plodder - (very appropriate name) - PON Codes are absolutely 7 characters - no more and no less - I have pointed you towards detailed explanations on both www.gpsireland.ie and www.irishpostcodes.ie and I have patiently tried to explain all I can about PON Codes to you and answer the questions that relate to me and PON Codes (rants about research and government information are nothing to do with me) - furthermore yesterday I even gave you a blow by blow account of the Post Code development since 2005 as I know it - what more do I have to do?
    Was I wrong in correcting Bk on that point ? he said 7 digits, and it's really 7 characters. And less of the ad-hominem if you don't mind .

    Its time you actually read into and considered all that is being said to you - this is becoming tiresome - not because you are asking questions but because you are either not reading or not considering the answers.
    It would be a lot simpler, if you just answered my questions rather than going on like this.
    www.irishpostcodes.ie explains the breakdow of PON codes which start as squares and the full seven characters define a point with an accuracy of +/- 6 meters (better than the accuracy of a standard GPS).

    Polygons are defined by points (Dots joined by straight lines) - therefore PON Codes can be used to define any Polygon you wish or more correctly in GIS terms any PON Code can be tested as to whether it is inside or outside any Polygon. Polygons are used for GIS and statistical analysis and as PON Codes are points they fit the NSB and the GIS requirements.
    Ok. I see what you're getting at. You can collate statistical information from PONCs easily enough, if you have a suitable GIS system, that has the administrative areas mapped into it, but you see my point about the artificial boundaries created by the squares themselves (ie. the Malahide/Swords thing above)?


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,312 ✭✭✭ sink


    plodder wrote: »
    Ok. I see what you're getting at. You can collate statistical information from PONCs easily enough, if you have a suitable GIS system, that has the administrative areas mapped into it, but you see my point about the artificial boundaries created by the squares themselves (ie. the Malahide/Swords thing above)?

    Ah! I do see what you are saying now. You agree that since PONC can be use to map out polygons they are perfectly useful for administrative purposes, but you feel that snobs will look at the first letter of their PONC and throw a hissy fit because they share it with a council estate. It's not an issue I would give much credence.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,629 ✭✭✭ plodder


    bk wrote: »
    I remember reading in the past research showing that people find it easier to remember alpha numeric codes then purely numeric, I'll look for the research and post a link to it if I can find it.
    Alphanumeric codes will be easier to remember, if they contain pronouncable, or otherwise familiar combinations of letters. I can't see how random combinations would be in general though. In one case, you have around 34 combinations per character position, whereas in the other only ten. But, if you can find the research, I'd be interested to take a look.
    However calling out numbers is easier then alpha numeric, but I don't think it is a major issue and almost all post codes are alphanumeric. The alternative is latitude and longitude, which would be a 16 digit code (excluding separators)!!!!
    With latitude/longitude, 4 digits each to the right of the decimal point would be accurate enough. On the left, the numbers 51 to 55 for latitude and 5 to 10 cover it all - not quite 16 digits.
    I have to agree with sink, Plodder with all due respect, I believe you are just being anti for the sake of it, you don't seem to understand half the answers been given to you or the compromises involved and yet you haven't put forward a single useful alternative yourself.
    or do you find it irritating being corrected repeatedly ?
    Gary, I must say you have the patience of a saint, you have proven to yourself to be very professional and informative in all your answers. It is a pity the government aren't so transparent.
    Well pardon me for presuming to ask a few questions. Have you shares in his business by any chance ?


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 406 ✭✭ Pgibson


    Why do you guys make such complexity out of a VERY simple problem.

    When Napoleon conquered Cologne he ordered that “Every inhabited house be given a number.”
    (His own house number was “4711”. This is why the German city has the French named product: “Eau de Cologne 4711”.)

    Similarly ever landline and mobile phone has its own unique number, as does every car and truck.

    Why not just devise a simple numbering system for every house and apartment in Ireland.

    Such as Dail Eireann...Number: A1.
    (You are permitted to laugh uproariously at that suggestion.)

    New houses and apartments can be allocated their number on granting of outline planning.
    The number can be linked to its GPS coordinates, and Google Earth, in public databases.
    Its not rocket science.

    “The good engineer simplifies things. The bad engineer makes things more complicated.”

    .


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 443 ✭✭ garydubh


    Pgibson wrote: »
    Why do you guys make such complexity out of a VERY simple problem.

    When Napoleon conquered Cologne he ordered that “Every inhabited house be given a number.”
    (His own house number was “4711”. This is why the German city has the French named product: “Eau de Cologne 4711”.)

    Similarly ever landline and mobile phone has its own unique number, as does every car and truck.

    Why not just devise a simple numbering system for every house and apartment in Ireland.

    Such as Dail Eireann...Number: A1.
    (You are permitted to laugh uproariously at that suggestion.)

    New houses and apartments can be allocated their number on granting of outline planning.
    The number can be linked to its GPS coordinates, and Google Earth, in public databases.
    Its not rocket science.

    “The good engineer simplifies things. The bad engineer makes things more complicated.”

    .

    Indeed that is why PON Codes are coordinates (not just from GPS as coordinates can be determined from many different sources) in a form which is shorter, easier to use and remember and capable of defining individual properties !


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 443 ✭✭ garydubh


    plodder wrote: »
    With latitude/longitude, 4 digits each to the right of the decimal point would be accurate enough. On the left, the numbers 51 to 55 for latitude and 5 to 10 cover it all - not quite 16 digits.

    Ok - so we are back to Lat/Long - you should Know that Navigation and Surveying is my specialisation for more than 25 years - 20 years navigating ships and 10 years supporting/teaching GIS, Mapping and Surveying with GPS and with a MSc (With Distinction) in Navigation/GPS/Surveying from the institute of Engineering Surveying and Space Geodesy in Nottingham University and with the Gold Medal and Prize for best Student from the Royal Institute of Navigation. I am also an elected (On merit) Fellow of the Royal Institute of Navigation.

    OK so why not use Lat/Long? Well to start with Lat/long can be expressed in 3 different ways and even those with some knowldege make a mess of this. There is Decimal Degrees, Degrees/Minutes and Decimals of Minutes or Degrees/Minutes/Seconds and Decimals of Seconds. You may have noticed that we allow users use 2 of these to get a PON Code from Lat/long on our site and let me tell we are constantly trying to solve the problems caused by people using the wrong version in the wrong place. Each different representation is given by different sources - Google/GPS/GIS/OSI etc etc - so for this reason this is a no no. Furthermore if decimal degrees is used then using only 4 decimals is only 10-15 meter accuracy and this varies depending on location as the Earth is an ellipsoid and measurements and errors change. Also there are over 180 different datums useable with Lat/long - and before you say "Google" -they do not set the standards. Google uses WGS84 whilst we in Ireland use GRS 80 or Modified Airy dependeing on whether you are using or new or old Grid system. The point is there are too many inaccuracies and possibilities for error from different sources using Lat/long. One motorbike enthusiast client of mine said of PON Codes and Lat/Long - "thank God there is now something other than Lat/long as most of my friends think Lat/long is some sort of virus!!!!!"

    Because of the issues with Lat/long we use a metric grid coordinate system in Ireland (North and South) and just over 10 years ago the OSI redefined it at great expense developing a grid system called ITM which is now our Official National Grid System. This system is built with GPS and all errors caused by the shape of the Earth are minimised for Ireland with it. ITM requires 12 Characters to define position to 1 meter resolution or 10 characters to define to 10 meter resolution. PON Codes are therefore based directly on ITM taking 12 characters and reducing them to 7 with a +/- 6 meter fidelity to the original ITM coordinates. I would further argue that given the cost to the state of building the new ITM grid as the national standard it is only right that our Post Code system should be based "uPON" it.

    Now Plodder if you want to question why the best Geodisists and Geodetic Engineers in Western Europe decided on and developed ITM without your knowledge and input then go right ahead - I am willing to write on this subject for years!!

    Plodder I am also very annoyed that you are suggesting now
    1. that I am not answering your questions - I am answering those that are related to me and PON Codes and I think I am doing this in as detailed a manner as is possible. I may not be ansering all your questions about the Government and other systems and this is because it is not my area or responsibiliy.

    and 2. that because others are generally in favour of PON Codes that they are being paid by me or GPS Ireland in some way. There are 2 directors and shareholders in GPS Ireland and no one else. Please do not continue down this road!

    Now I really do think that you should start considering the answers you are being given.

    You do also need to step back from the idea that because PON Codes are the only system working at present that there has to be something wrong with them and anyone who supports them.

    Perhaps you now can answer a question for me - why are you now suddenly interested in Irish Post Codes?


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,629 ✭✭✭ plodder


    garydubh wrote: »
    Ok - so we are back to Lat/Long - you should Know that Navigation and Surveying is my specialisation for more than 25 years - 20 years navigating ships and 10 years supporting/teaching GIS, Mapping and Surveying with GPS and with a MSc (With Distinction) in Navigation/GPS/Surveying from the institute of Engineering Surveying and Space Geodesy in Nottingham University and with the Gold Medal and Prize for best Student from the Royal Institute of Navigation. I am also an elected (On merit) Fellow of the Royal Institute of Navigation.
    Very impressive
    OK so why not use Lat/Long? Well to start with Lat/long can be expressed in 3 different ways and even those with some knowldege make a mess of this. There is Decimal Degrees, Degrees/Minutes and Decimals of Minutes or Degrees/Minutes/Seconds and Decimals of Seconds. You may have noticed that we allow users use 2 of these to get a PON Code from Lat/long on our site and let me tell we are constantly trying to solve the problems caused by people using the wrong version in the wrong place. Each different representation is given by different sources - Google/GPS/GIS/OSI etc etc - so for this reason this is a no no. Furthermore if decimal degrees is used then using only 4 decimals is only 10-15 meter accuracy and this varies depending on location as the Earth is an ellipsoid and measurements and errors change. Also there are over 180 different datums useable with Lat/long - and before you say "Google" -they do not set the standards. Google uses WGS84 whilst we in Ireland use GRS 80 or Modified Airy dependeing on whether you are using or new or old Grid system. The point is there are too many inaccuracies and possibilities for error from different sources using Lat/long. One motorbike enthusiast client of mine said of PON Codes and Lat/Long - "thank God there is now something other than Lat/long as most of my friends think Lat/long is some sort of virus!!!!!"
    Nobody is suggesting to use lat/long as a postcode system. But it has to be acknowledged that it does have a potential use as an interim solution for the delivery problem. Anyone with access to a computer can find their position on that web site I mentioned, in decimal degrees (WGS84). Most if not all GPS units (I'm fairly sure) support entering decimal degrees in the WGS84 system. With your system, GPS units have to be modified first. Of course, there is potential confusion with the other ways of entering coordinates, and like I said, lat/long is not a proper long term solution.
    Because of the issues with Lat/long we use a metric grid coordinate system in Ireland (North and South) and just over 10 years ago the OSI redefined it at great expense developing a grid system called ITM which is now our Official National Grid System. This system is built with GPS and all errors caused by the shape of the Earth are minimised for Ireland with it. ITM requires 12 Characters to define position to 1 meter resolution or 10 characters to define to 10 meter resolution. PON Codes are therefore based directly on ITM taking 12 characters and reducing them to 7 with a +/- 6 meter fidelity to the original ITM coordinates. I would further argue that given the cost to the state of building the new ITM grid as the national standard it is only right that our Post Code system should be based "uPON" it.

    Now Plodder if you want to question why the best Geodisists and Geodetic Engineers in Western Europe decided on and developed ITM without your knowledge and input then go right ahead - I am willing to write on this subject for years!!
    ITM obviously fulfills many functions, but is it really necessary that a postcode system be based on ITM, especially since the code itself is not ITM, and the required level of accuracy is not particularly high? The granularity required is around 10 metres not centimetres.

    I did a few tests with that website I mentioned and a GPS unit, and it seems to be sufficiently accurate for relgular lat/long as far as I can see.
    Plodder I am also very annoyed that you are suggesting now
    1. that I am not answering your questions - I am answering those that are related to me and PON Codes and I think I am doing this in as detailed a manner as is possible. I may not be ansering all your questions about the Government and other systems and this is because it is not my area or responsibiliy.
    I certainly don't expect you to answer on behalf of the government and never suggest that.

    The very first point I raised on this thread, was the question of whether there might be more efficient ways of encoding a position other than converting coordinates into a code. The reason I asked this, is the fact that PON codes are relatively large for a small country like Ireland. I think they are more complicated than practically any existing postcode system, and this is because PON codes are allocated for every 12x12 metre block in the country and a fair bit of the surrounding seas, when postcodes are not required for the vast majority of those blocks. My original suggestion was that maybe we should consider a system that encodes location based on identity of a road, and position on that road. This could be a harder thing to do, since it assumes the existence of a standard map of the entire route network. But I think it ought to be worth investigating, especially since all the GPS vendors actually possess this information. Maybe with all your experience you can tell me, why it's not a good idea. I also suggested a compromise where a coordinate type system might be used in built up areas and the other system in rural areas. You didn't engage with either of these points.
    and 2. that because others are generally in favour of PON Codes that they are being paid by me or GPS Ireland in some way. There are 2 directors and shareholders in GPS Ireland and no one else. Please do not continue down this road!
    Oh for God's sake, that comment was obviously tongue in cheek. Consider it withdrawn.
    Now I really do think that you should start considering the answers you are being given.

    You do also need to step back from the idea that because PON Codes are the only system working at present that there has to be something wrong with them and anyone who supports them.
    Leaving aside the fact that lat/long is really the only solution that works on unmodified GPS units, where did I suggest the above? Let me re-iterate one (hopefully last) time where I stand on this issue.

    I would like to see the govt. choose the best solution possible, which best meets all of the requirements that have been identified. I think it would be absurd for them to adopt your system, for no better reason than the fact it's the only system which has been described publicly in the four years since they started. I don't have any hidden agenda here. I would like to see a document which outlines all of the various types of system that have been considered, and if yours is the best, then I'll be happy with that.


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 20,962 Mod ✭✭✭✭ bk


    plodder wrote: »

    or do you find it irritating being corrected repeatedly ?

    You corrected me once that it was 7 characters, rather then 7 digits, which of course I knew, you were just being pedantic as you wanted to ignore my point that 7 characters is easier to remember the 9 to 10 digit phone numbers that most people remember without a problem.

    plodder wrote: »
    Well pardon me for presuming to ask a few questions. Have you shares in his business by any chance ?

    No, I don't, but I would love to. If you go back to earlier in this thread, you will see that initially I had some criticisms of PONC and I still do. Namely I think the last 4 characters should be reversed, so that you could use just the first 5 characters to give a less precise area.

    Gary gave a good reason why he didn't design it that way and I grudgingly accept the compromise. So based on this, I don't see how you could claim such a thing.

    plodder wrote: »
    I would like to see the govt. choose the best solution possible, which best meets all of the requirements that have been identified. I think it would be absurd for them to adopt your system, for no better reason than the fact it's the only system which has been described publicly in the four years since they started. I don't have any hidden agenda here. I would like to see a document which outlines all of the various types of system that have been considered, and if yours is the best, then I'll be happy with that.

    I actually agree with you on this, I also would like to see the best system chosen and I would love if the government was as transparent as Gary and they gave us details of all the proposed systems so that we could discuss them and weight up the pros and cons.

    Unfortunately in my experience, that isn't how our government works and they rarely make the right decision. As an example just take a look at Comregs decision today, they had ordered Eircom to drop the Broadband LLU charge to €3, Eircom challenged it in court and instead of fighting Eircom in court, they have decided to drop their decision and allow Eircom to charge whatever they want. This is the sort of incompetency we have to deal with.

    I honestly don't know if Garys is the best system, it is certainly seems far superior to the other systems being considered by the government and superior to the current system in the UK and I have yet to hear you or anyone else propose a superior system.

    For me Gary's system seems to meet almost all my requirements:

    1) High degree of accuracy (6 meters resolution is great)

    2) Easy to remember, not too many characters (7 characters seems to be a very reasonable compromise between ease of remembering and accuracy)

    3) Works well with GPS systems

    4) Not expensive to implement and use (doesn't require an expensive and complicated to maintain DB)

    5) Not actually tied to actual addresses, I can think of hundreds of places that you might like to uniquely identify.

    As I said the only complaint I have is that I like to have the option of 5 characters versus 7 for where less resolution is required.

    Plodder, maybe it would help if you gave us a list of your requirements for a good post code system and then we can discuss if PONC or some other system meets those requirements.


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 20,962 Mod ✭✭✭✭ bk


    Off Topic, but I thought you guys might be interested. I found a cool feature on my new iPhone. In the contacts you can enter multiple addresses. If you enter a latitude and longitude into the address field and save it and then later click on the address, it will open the exact location in google maps *.

    However while this is a cool feature, it also shows the need for PONCs. When I search for my actual address, google maps can't find it at all and I had to type 18 characters to enter the latitude and longitude!!

    * There is a bug where google maps doesn't actually find the location, just remove the work Ireland from the search and it works fine.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 443 ✭✭ garydubh


    plodder wrote: »
    My original suggestion was that maybe we should consider a system that encodes location based on identity of a road, and position on that road. This could be a harder thing to do, since it assumes the existence of a standard map of the entire route network. But I think it ought to be worth investigating, especially since all the GPS vendors actually possess this information. Maybe with all your experience you can tell me, why it's not a good idea.

    I have already given the reasons why this is not a good idea in IMO - so has BK - and if you are in doubt read up on the introduction of a Post Code in Northern Ireland where every County has the same prefix "BT" and some roads in Fermanagh are still without Post Codes. Once you have done this - also ask if there is a need to Post Code locations which are not related to roads and perhaps are not even structures. - We have gone through all of this already - now its your turn to do some research!
    plodder wrote: »
    I also suggested a compromise where a coordinate type system might be used in built up areas and the other system in rural areas. You didn't engage with either of these points.

    Think about it - you are saying that those trying to find properties in cities want to find them exactly but in Rural areas it will be ok to get within several kilometers.

    Also then lets redesign the code with all this type of discussion again every time a rural area is coopted into an urban one and lets manage and support multiple Post Code Systems - get real - why do you have to ask someone else to answer this for you - its obvious !
    plodder wrote: »
    The very first point I raised on this thread, was the question of whether there might be more efficient ways of encoding a position other than converting coordinates into a code. The reason I asked this, is the fact that PON codes are relatively large for a small country like Ireland.
    I think they are more complicated than practically any existing postcode system, and this is because PON codes are allocated for every 12x12 metre block in the country and a fair bit of the surrounding seas, when postcodes are not required for the vast majority of those blocks. .

    You obviously have not sat down yet and compared the workings of the UK Post Code to PON Codes - let alone establishment and maintenance costs and timescales. Also please let's not have to go through the number of characters all over again - fine if the resolution you require is not property level then use less characters but justify the resolution you are specifying!

    Seems to me that you are trying to concieve a system without deciding on the Spec - I agree with bk - define the spec for yourself and most of that will start with answering what resolution the code should be having considered all the user requirements.

    Finally perhaps you can apply your passion to this one which seems to have escaped your attention in a reply I gave to you several days ago.

    How is is possible that a member of the Government's Post Code Management Board since 2005 can receive all the submissions on Post Code requirements from Stakeholders, have full access to the consultants deliberations, report and recommendations and also simultaneously be designing his own Private Post Code System honed from the information available as a board member? Does that not annoy you? Incredibly the system developed is unworkable as it allows Post Codes such as "Wanker" and "D0G Face" or even a Post Code "Nenagh" which is somewhere else in the country.

    Is this not something that concerns you in any way?


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,629 ✭✭✭ plodder


    garydubh wrote: »
    I have already given the reasons why this is not a good idea in IMO - so has BK - and if you are in doubt read up on the introduction of a Post Code in Northern Ireland where every County has the same prefix "BT" and some roads in Fermanagh are still without Post Codes. Once you have done this - also ask if there is a need to Post Code locations which are not related to roads and perhaps are not even structures. - We have gone through all of this already - now its your turn to do some research!
    I think you misunderstand what I am suggesting. I never mentioned the UK system, and it certainly isn't an area based system like that. It would be a point based system like yours, but it would only provide codes for locations on the road network. If you start with a digitised map of the road network (which many organisations already have) you can identify locations on this network, in many different ways, but it is essentially a mathematical exercise doing this. It does not require roads to have official names or designations. It would be possible to convert between codes, and coordinates, so long as you have the official road mapping.

    You raise the valid question of whether places not located on roads, need to be part of a post code. You have to refer back to the requirements on the project to answer that. But I would argue that if people need to locate places off the road network, then they should use a different system, like ITM or lat/long. For example, for navigating in the UK, my Garmin supports British national grid codes, as well as postcodes.
    Think about it - you are saying that those trying to find properties in cities want to find them exactly but in Rural areas it will be ok to get within several kilometers.
    No. A position on the road network could have the same level of accuracy (ie. 10 m). [edit] Of course, the system I'm talking about is unproven and undeveloped (as far as I know), and I know what you'll say to that - "Go and do some research". But really, that's the point I keep hammering at. Someone should have been paid to investigate a variety of options like this one.
    Also then lets redesign the code with all this type of discussion again every time a rural area is coopted into an urban one and lets manage and support multiple Post Code Systems - get real - why do you have to ask someone else to answer this for you - its obvious !
    Administration and maintenance is the issue ok, but I am certain the answer is not obvious, and needs to be considered carefully.
    Finally perhaps you can apply your passion to this one which seems to have escaped your attention in a reply I gave to you several days ago.

    How is is possible that a member of the Government's Post Code Management Board since 2005 can receive all the submissions on Post Code requirements from Stakeholders, have full access to the consultants deliberations, report and recommendations and also simultaneously be designing his own Private Post Code System honed from the information available as a board member? Does that not annoy you? Incredibly the system developed is unworkable as it allows Post Codes such as "Wanker" and "D0G Face" or even a Post Code "Nenagh" which is somewhere else in the country.

    Is this not something that concerns you in any way?

    As you describe it, it sounds strange. If the person wasn't trying to patent it or profit from it personally, then I wouldn't have a problem with it. As for "DOG FACE" and "Wanker", I'd imagine that problem is easily fixed by using numbers in part of the code, but without knowing anything at all about it, other than those example, I couldn't be sure.


  • Administrators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 28,586 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭ oscarBravo


    plodder wrote: »
    If you start with a digitised map of the road network (which many organisations already have)...
    Yes: organisations such as Navteq, who charge (I believe) substantial amounts of money for access to this data.
    ...you can identify locations on this network, in many different ways, but it is essentially a mathematical exercise doing this.
    A mathematical exercise that must be reworked every time a new road is opened, or one is closed. Each time this happens, the published database of post codes is incomplete and obsolete.

    Given the intrinsic maintenance burden and back-end costs involved, it's inconceivable that a postcode database would be made freely available.

    In fact, it sounds like the system you're describing corresponds closely to An Post's internal postcoding system: only relevant for postal deliveries to existing roads, built-in obsolescence/maintenance burden, not freely available to the public.

    Basically, you're suggesting that a system that would require substantial initial setup work, continuous ongoing maintenance, non-stop publishing of updates to keep devices useful and relevance only to the road network would be better than the PON code system...

    ...why?


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  • Registered Users Posts: 6,629 ✭✭✭ plodder


    oscarBravo wrote: »
    Yes: organisations such as Navteq, who charge (I believe) substantial amounts of money for access to this data.
    I suspect all that would be needed at the end of the day, would be a license from the OSI. They possibly already have the data. Navteq's data would include a lot of extra stuff (POIs, road junction layouts etc. that wouldn't be needed).
    A mathematical exercise that must be reworked every time a new road is opened, or one is closed. Each time this happens, the published database of post codes is incomplete and obsolete.
    Incomplete maybe, but not obsolete.
    Given the intrinsic maintenance burden and back-end costs involved, it's inconceivable that a postcode database would be made freely available.

    In fact, it sounds like the system you're describing corresponds closely to An Post's internal postcoding system: only relevant for postal deliveries to existing roads, built-in obsolescence/maintenance burden, not freely available to the public.

    Basically, you're suggesting that a system that would require substantial initial setup work, continuous ongoing maintenance, non-stop publishing of updates to keep devices useful and relevance only to the road network would be better than the PON code system...
    Frankly, you can't say how substantial all of the effort above would be, without knowing all the details, But consider that the An Post geodirectory is already kept up to date, and the OSI already keep their mapping up to date, it wouldn't necessarily represent much additional effort IMO.
    ...why?
    For a shorter, more manageable code ... Again, I'm only trying to stimulate debate here. I don't have an actual system to show you.


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