what3words support in OpenStreetMap

Robert Sugar robert.sugar at ebi.ac.uk
Fri Nov 15 21:09:04 UTC 2013


Good points Richard. 

> I can only hope that "drunken.crack.mayor" points to Toronto City
> Hall[1].  That might save what3words. 


:) nope, drunken.crack.mayor does not point anywhere. For Toronto City Hall I can offer:

boil.gangs.fail 
surround.press.admits (did that happen?)
breeding.joke.spooked (is that for the oral sex remarks?)
empire.issues.compiled
prestige.infects.voice
cupcake.robots.ranch
hippy.puts.waits
anthems.motion.removed
equality.maple.massing (is that for the strategic Maple Syrup Reserve?)

note: the first hit for Toronto City is: weekday.jogging.helps 

I start to doubt that these things are not on purpose.

>  Is that part of the scheme?


according to their press it is supposed to be random. 

> Can Platinum Members pay for custom IDs?  :-)


apparently yes, they are called onewords. *DrunkenCrackMayor could point to the Toronto City Hall for example.

> - difficult to distinguish from other failed schemes

which ones do you refer to specifically?

> I suggest that the OpenStreetMap community would be eager to implement
> such a scheme if that scheme can be shown as having a history of
> exposing new users to OpenStreetMap, and of those users becoming
> valued contributors to OpenStreetMap.  That is not the case with other
> similar schemes and is not the case with the scheme promoted by Mr.
> Sugar.


that is a bit of a chicken-egg problem here. In order to drive users to OpenStreetMap, there needs to be some support in OpenStreetMap to be driven to. As I see this could be a possible distinguishing feature that no other major map provider has. On the other hand I agree that an OpenStreetMap-based website would be a good starting point.

> - dilution of OpenStreetMap resources to implement and maintain


Looking at the code, the implementation looks really straightforward due to the modular geocoder architecture of OpenStreetMap. Most of it could be just:
- adding a new geocoder in geocoder_controller.rb similarly to Canadian postcodes
- a regexp matching three.word.combos and *onewords to trigger the geocoder
- making an HTTP GET API call, and parsing the lat/long from the resulting JSON
- writing tests
- localisation

I can probably whip up a first implementation if need be.

>  I do not find
> "oiled.vehicle.marriage" to be easier to remember than Eiffel Tower.
> Nor is Eiffel Tower accurately described as a 3m x 3m square.  So by
> that example, I think that the entire concept is flawed.

true, given that the Eiffel Tower is big, easy to spot and difficult to miss. On the other hand if you take ship.novel.flowcharts , it would be something like: "that patch of bushes 500m North East from the big baobab tree by the Ikoma Camp in Serengeti". Most of Earth's surface is not really characterised by landmarks or street addresses, especially in the developing world or even in the British countryside.

Robert

On 15 Nov 2013, at 13:59, Richard Weait wrote:

> On Thu, Nov 14, 2013 at 1:00 PM, Robert Sugar <robert.sugar at ebi.ac.uk> wrote:
>> Thanks Jonathan. Just out of curiosity: do you think it would make any difference if the algorithm source would be freely available under a permissive license?
> 
> It would be a relative good, if the algorithm were licensed as FLOSS.
> (Free, Libre and Open Source Software)  But only a relative good.
> Code openness alone does nothing to address the other stated critical
> failings of the scheme as mentioned by earlier respondents:
> 
> - difficult to distinguish from other failed schemes
> - dilution of OpenStreetMap resources to implement and maintain
> - currently closed, potentially patent encumbered
> 
> Jonathan's point about seeing them make even the tiniest move in the
> right direction by a #switch2osm is excellent.
> 
> I suggest that the OpenStreetMap community would be eager to implement
> such a scheme if that scheme can be shown as having a history of
> exposing new users to OpenStreetMap, and of those users becoming
> valued contributors to OpenStreetMap.  That is not the case with other
> similar schemes and is not the case with the scheme promoted by Mr.
> Sugar.
> 
> I find the example in Mr. Sugar's email telling.  I do not find
> "oiled.vehicle.marriage" to be easier to remember than Eiffel Tower.
> Nor is Eiffel Tower accurately described as a 3m x 3m square.  So by
> that example, I think that the entire concept is flawed.
> 
> I can only hope that "drunken.crack.mayor" points to Toronto City
> Hall[1].  That might save what3words.  Is that part of the scheme?
> Can Platinum Members pay for custom IDs?  :-)
> 
> [1] recently the Mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford, confessed to using crack
> cocaine while drunk.

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