I think there should be general, and widespread, agreement that Latitude & Longitude, Easting & Northing, X & Y, Go Code, Loc8, Eircode, Geo-Directory are all valid ‘coding’ systems/methods that enable anyone with an appropriate ‘decoding’ tool to identify ‘where’.
The lowest common denominator needed for us (GIS people) to exercise our skills, expertise and knowledge is the ability to locate a place or a thing. That is the starting point for everything we do and everything we say to our customers and prospects. Knowing where things are and the ability to ‘locate’ is critical to the value proposition of what it is GIS people do for their existing customers, their prospects, their respective organisations and their external stakeholders.
Do we care about the mechanism or the tool that enables us to do what we do? Should we care? Does it actually matter to the value proposition that we have? Given the pending release of Eircodes (and the continued ensuing debate around whether it is the right ‘coding’ system for the Country) these are questions that I have been asking myself in the context of the service that we (GIS people), as purveyors of a geographic approach to business, provide to our customers.
My personal opinion is that it shouldn’t matter, as long as whatever system is used, there is an appropriate ‘decoding’ tool available to enable a user to get the information they need to help them make better and more informed business decisions. Given the variety of ‘coding’ systems available, this also raises the age old question of ‘fit for purpose’, as it is likely that no one system will necessarily meet the requirements of all. What’s good for the goose isn’t always good for the gander, there are many ways to skin a cat, etc.
In terms of my ‘many ways to skin a cat’ quip, let me now throw in yet another way, in the context of a ‘coding’ system that helps people locate stuff!
what3words – Here is a company that has devised a very creative and innovative approach to ‘locating’ anywhere on the earth’s surface, simply by knowing the combination of three words from the English dictionary. what3words is a global grid of 57 trillion 3mx3m squares. Each square has a 3 word address that can be communicated quickly, easily and with no ambiguity. Really?
Yes really, test it for yourself. Click the following three words for Esri Irelands Office location – Swim-Wiser-Stews; here is where I live – Nutrition-Modifies-Terrace; here is the children’s climbing frame in our local park – Munched-Titled-Skilled; here is the spire on O’Connel Street – Drew-Colleague-Shot …. You get the picture.
It’s this sort of innovative and creative thinking that puts ‘coding’ systems associated with location into perspective. It certainly makes me wonder what all the fuss is about, especially when you have the tools to decode them (https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/what3words/id657878530?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D4).
Just think, we could take the entire GeoDirectory database overlay it on the what3words global 3mx3m grid and hey presto we have a what3words postcode system for Ireland.
Dare I bring this to the attention of (Former) Minister Rabbitte? ….. Nah!