[OSM-dev] Straw man design for OSM postcode database creator

Robert (Jamie) Munro rjmunro at arjam.net
Sun Feb 3 00:36:33 GMT 2008

Hash: SHA1

Gervase Markham wrote:
| Here are a few thoughts about how one would build a web page allowing
| people to take addresses and quickly mark postcode locations.
| (The other half of the project might be something which finds addresses,
| perhaps from Google. But even this half could be used with e.g. your
| Palm's address book exported as CSV and munged to remove extraneous data.)
| The interface would be a web page containing:
|   - <textbox> for pasting in a list of addresses and postcodes, one per
|     line
|   - Namefinder box, which shows a list of the results for each address
|   - slippy map (hardcoded to zoom=17?) which shows the currently-selected
|     result
|   - Buttons: "That's Right" and "Beats Me"
| The procedure would be as follows:
| - Paste a load of addresses into the box
| - Code immediately goes away and gets all the necessary Namefinder
|    and slippy map data in the background (to work around slowness of some
|    APIs)
| - First Namefinder result comes back
| - Slippy map displays first hit
| - If it's not right, click on other results to find the right one
| - If it is right, click on "That's Right"
| - Postcode is submitted with the lat/long returned by Namefinder
| - If you can't find it, click on "Beats Me"
| - Page automatically moves on to next address
| - There is a "Back" button in case you mis-submit
| Note that you don't actually click on the map to mark the postcode.
| Instead, it uses the lat/long returned from Namefinder, which is
| (ideally) in the middle of the road in question.
| Perhaps we might want to allow map clicking if the person also has local
| knowledge...
| Comments?

As no one else has replied:

I think this is a good idea, but if I am using random addresses from my
address book, I'm not sure that I will be able to know if the road
called "high street" that is shown to me on the slippy map is the "high
street" for which I have a postcode. The namefinder code can probably
estimate automatically just as well as I can in many cases based on it's
~ search results "xxx found 100m away from yyy". If the distance is more
than 5 miles, it's probably wrong. The other factor it could take into
account is the neighbouring postcodes. If there are no other postcodes
nearby with the same prefix, the confidence level in the result is low.

On the other hand, a user searching for a postcode on the home page is
possibly more likely to know if the result is correct, because they will
see (or fail to see) whatever it is they are looking for. Perhaps if the
namefinder postcode system could return a level of confidence, and a
yes/no button, we could get a lot of postcodes out of it.

Do we know how many people search for postcodes on the home page?

Robert (Jamie) Munro
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