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Thread: Address consistency

  1. #1

    Address consistency

    For all their information gathering, web-based map services can't tell people what side of the street a business is on. This can be an important consideration for how one approaches to avoid left turn delays.

    I know someone who ran into this in Las Vegas because the city had odd numbers on one side of the street and the unincorporated area did the opposite. What if the city boundaries change?

    I've seen even numbers on both sides of Newhall Ranch Road in Santa Clarita even though that city incorporated long after much of it was built in Los Angeles County--what's up with that?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    Spoken like somebody who thinks that everything in the world should be ordered to accommodate modern technology as opposed to vice versa.

    My hand-held GPS can find the address and tell me on what side of the street it's on. GIS software can map any property in an entire county by its address. Any municipality that has 911 probably has every building within its boundaries in some kind of database and a means of extracting that data quickly. In NYS, the 911 system can pinpoint exact address locations and other points (like mile-markers or bridges) almost instantly even in large rural counties like the one I live in. It's why all properties in NYS, even in unincorporated rural areas. have "street numbers".

    The solution to this problem is for map service providers to do a better job writing the software for their services and to improve their databases. I say this because I've been a programmer for a lot of years, so I don't buy this "we can't do this" excuse. It can't be done only if the data is unavailable, but the data is available in the case of addresses. Software being unable to deal with a change in the address numbering pattern because of a change in municipal boundaries is really inexcusable since this probably happens in every metropolitian area in the country.
    If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. -- John F. Kennedy, January 20, 1961

  3. #3
    No database system is going to be able to deliver 100% accuracy. How many addresses are there in the US? Probably around 100 million. Even at 97% accuracy, about the best possible, that would leave 3 million addresses a bit off. Really. not so bad. The problem is our expectations.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Gotta Speakup View post
    No database system is going to be able to deliver 100% accuracy. How many addresses are there in the US? Probably around 100 million. Even at 97% accuracy, about the best possible, that would leave 3 million addresses a bit off. Really. not so bad. The problem is our expectations.
    I will agree 100% is probably not doable. However, I've been a computer programmer for 25+ years, so I am very skeptical of the excuse that computers can't get it right.

    Addressing patterns that change with municipal boundaries are very common in the US. City X numbers "Main Street" from 1-5000 from downtown with the odds on the right heading north. Town Y was 10 miles north of X in 1900 when it numbered its "Main Street" from 1-500 with odds on the right heading south. In the 1950s and 1960s, the town "Main Street" was extended north of the city line as development spread beyond the city limits, but the numbering followed the rules in the town where it was located. Database designers and programmers of mapping software need to take these instances into account.
    If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. -- John F. Kennedy, January 20, 1961

  5. #5
    I wouldn't blame the accuracy rate on the underlying programs. Most of the errors probably result from changes in roads, misspellings, differences between common and official names of roads, edges of maps or scans, etc.

    Still anyone that expects 100% accuracy of anything as large as 100 million data points needs to adjust their expectations.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    Around here we've made sure there are no duplicate road names but this only applies in the county, not the individual municipalities. It definitely helps to alleviate the problem though.

    I will never forget a subdivision I went in once where they had De La Vista Court, Lane, Street, and Place. All of them had the same numbering scheme too so you had three or four 1400 De La Vistas in the same subdivision. It was so bad the post office consistently delivered mail to the wrong houses. I wouldn't expect a map service to consistently get this right unless you were certain of the street suffix.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    There are several instances of 'U' shaped streets here in the Appleton area (not in the city, thank God) where the two paralleling sections of said streets are in the same numbering block, with the number sequence jumping back and forth from one side of the 'U' to the other. CONFUSING to the max and, IMHO, a true life-safety hazard!

    As for on-line and GPS mapping programs and devices, I always make it a point to drill into anyone who is trying to use one that he/she must ALWAYS remember that their internal maps and addressing databases are only as good as the university interns who went out, gathered the data and did the mapping and data entry.



    Mike

  8. #8
    Quote Originally posted by Gotta Speakup View post
    Still anyone that expects 100% accuracy of anything as large as 100 million data points needs to adjust their expectations.
    How about 10%? That would be about 10% more than is currently the number of times a mapping service indicates which side of the street an address is on, in my experience.

    they had De La Vista Court, Lane, Street, and Place. All of them had the same numbering scheme too so you had three or four 1400 De La Vistas in the same subdivision. It was so bad the post office consistently delivered mail to the wrong houses.
    I hope the city got a lot of money from the De La Vista company; they'll need it when someone sues because a critical piece of mail wasn't delivered in a timely manner (at least, if I were on the jury).

    Spoken like somebody who thinks that everything in the world should be ordered to accommodate modern technology as opposed to vice versa.
    While it was my original intention to ask that addresses be changed around the country, the other responses here have convinced me that it would be easier for computers to accommodate the existing addresses.

    Oh wait, that's what I said in the first place.

    I didn't mean it, of course. Congratulations on calling me out on my plan for world domination via numerology. But the rest of your post sounds like you agree with me.

    It's especially easy for me to be snarky about anything that results in more driving, or more idling, now that some of our leaders have told us that we have to do everything possible to avoid apocalyptic global warming, even as they don't enforce bans on leaf blowers and install ever more stop signs and red arrows prohibiting left turns when there's no oncoming traffic. I also read that using a gas-powered mower for an hour is like driving 350 miles in terms of pollution; why don't we ban such things and people can get paid for getting exercise with nice quiet hand mowers while their neighbors are taking afternoon rests or sleeping after working nights or are ill, instead of paying money for unproductive exercise?

  9. #9
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    In upstate New York, address consistency is a pipe dream. Most cities, towns and villages use Spanish-style addressing systems, where the numbering begins where the street begins. Extend the street in the direction away from its origin, and it's given a new name. Also, most communities have no rules for suffixes or local duplication. The Buffalo area, for one, is "Peachtreed" with French Roads.

    That being said, it seems like it's older or low-cost GPS units that have a problem with what side of a street an address may be located on. I'd like to see the inner guts of a GPS database.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  10. #10
    Cyburbian dw914er's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mgk920 View post
    As for on-line and GPS mapping programs and devices, I always make it a point to drill into anyone who is trying to use one that he/she must ALWAYS remember that their internal maps and addressing databases are only as good as the university interns who went out, gathered the data and did the mapping and data entry.



    Mike
    I was thinking the same thing; those map services are only as good as the database in which it was made. Who knows if it was an intern who was still hungover from the night before inputting the data. The County and/or City will usually have more accurate data though (compared to older software in a GPS unit or older data in a free map service).

    To the thread starter: what issue are you trying to address? I'll dismiss your red herring, and focus instead on GPS maps. You do realize that they are just a tool. I think everyone has had a Google map or something similar give them bad directions. If that happens, you can still figure out where you're going.
    And that concludes staff’s presentation...

  11. #11
    Quote Originally posted by dw914er View post
    To the thread starter: what issue are you trying to address?
    I'm wondering why something so comprehensive as online mapping services doesn't attempt, at least in relatively consistent locales, to indicate what side of the street a destination is on, as this could significantly affect how one approaches it. Not only can left turns take a long time (especially if there'a a red arrow which prohibits turns even when there's no oncoming traffic for a quarter mile), but the idling produces needless emissions. I should think that governments and large corporations would take simple steps to reduce such emissions given the hysteria with which we're told they're contributing to rising sea levels.

    Given such inconsistency between their words and their actions, I can't help but wonder if the motives for scaring people about global warming are for special interests and/or power-hungry politicians, rather than based on genuine, relatively unflawed science.

    I'll dismiss your red herring
    Which would be...what?

    , and focus instead on GPS maps. You do realize that they are just a tool. I think everyone has had a Google map or something similar give them bad directions. If that happens, you can still figure out where you're going.
    Yes, but why let that stop me from posing the question?

    And I'm not asking about GPS. I don't trust that they don't track my wherabouts (at least, in the future) and I choose not to invest in them when I can look up a destination from my computer in advance and spend the money on other things.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian dw914er's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by JJ Fortuenti View post
    I'm wondering why something so comprehensive as online mapping services doesn't attempt, at least in relatively consistent locales, to indicate what side of the street a destination is on, as this could significantly affect how one approaches it. Not only can left turns take a long time (especially if there'a a red arrow which prohibits turns even when there's no oncoming traffic for a quarter mile), but the idling produces needless emissions. I should think that governments and large corporations would take simple steps to reduce such emissions given the hysteria with which we're told they're contributing to rising sea levels. Given such inconsistency between their words and their actions, I can't help but wonder if the motives for scaring people about global warming are for special interests and/or power-hungry politicians, rather than based on genuine, relatively unflawed science.

    Which would be...what?

    Yes, but why let that stop me from posing the question?

    And I'm not asking about GPS. I don't trust that they don't track my wherabouts (at least, in the future) and I choose not to invest in them when I can look up a destination from my computer in advance and spend the money on other things.
    The bolded section is your red herring.

    The argument I'm seeing is that you're upset that a free mapping service does not provide 100% accuracy... Is that correct?
    And that concludes staff’s presentation...

  13. #13
    Not upset, just asking.

    I don't understand why anyone feels compelled to identify which text constitutes something that some knights would ask King Arthur to chop down the mightiest tree in the forest with, or even that such text must be present.

    I was pointing out that the lack of information on address systems affected both convenience and fuel efficiency, and in turn that not addressing said inefficiency serves as a legitimate point in the debate over an important issue. I went on to point out that there was inconsistency in a location even when a city boundary change wasn't an issue.

    So, I brought up four points, all interrelated. And I don't find any of them to be less worthy than so many things that people eagerly direct their attention to.

    I apologize if I've transgressed some written or unwritten rule against addressing* more than one issue at a time.


    *No pun intended--but I wish it had been!

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