[uf-discuss] maps, place names and tagging

Michael MD mdagn at spraci.com
Fri Nov 3 16:27:54 PST 2006

> Thinking about it, demanding the use of the geo microformat might  
> even be redundant in some countries like the USA: Google Maps (and  
> others) have geo-lookups built into the API now, so a good adr in  
> an hcard would be enough.

Even such geocoding services are still not quite smart enough to cope with
many of those user-entered addresses for events I deal with here, which are
often weirdly formatted or fuzzy. (some have missing parts of the address
and people sometimes enter descriptions like "across the road from xxxx"
which may make sense to humans but are difficult for any geocoding service
to cope with).

I have been thinking that I might be better off looking for ways to show a
map (with zoom,etc - Google Maps API perhaps) centered on their chosen city
where they click on the map to choose the location (it would have to be
smart enough to not use coordinates if they haven't actually picked a point
on the map).
It would of course need to somehow be able to look up the coordinates of the
city they have chosen. 

I'd really like to find out if there are any emerging standards for tags
related to place names. 

I've seen some sites link to Wikipedia pages for city names.

Wouldn't it be nice if the pages related to place names on Wikipedia (or any
site that lots of people might link place names to) had geo markup on them
and also some kind of standard markup for related place names and how they
are related to each other? (something to say that suburb a is in city b is
in state c is in country e). I used the example of Wikipedia because many
pages there related to place names already have that information on them,
but not in a machine-readable format.

Maybe we need some kind of extended combination of geo/adr/hcard for places
that can also show how a place is related to another place? 
eg "near", "parent" (as in "this place is in parent"), "child", etc given
that most place names would be referring to fuzzy blobs that may be inside
or overlap with other known fuzzy blobs.

I've noticed quite a lot of sites using tags for place names but the lack of
standards for place names is holding back this very simple way (for humans)
to specify where something is.

Of course this is not without problems such as different cities with the
same name and alternate names of the same places but sites such as Wikipedia
already have to deal with those issues and find workarounds. (and it would
be good to see standards for such place name workarounds too!)

Just specifying a city or suburb is not accurate enough for giving
directions but even in such situations it could be a good starting point for
showing a map for someone to click on to choose the exact location when
entering data. (I think it could be good alternative to expecting people to
enter their addresses fully in the correct format when their own knowledge
of the address might be somewhat fuzzy)

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