[openstreetmap/openstreetmap-website] Added PlusCode functionality to search (#1818)

Doug Rinckes notifications at github.com
Fri Aug 10 09:04:15 UTC 2018

Hi - I'm the lead of the plus codes project. I was at SotM this year in Milan but had to unexpectedly leave early, I was hoping to have some of this discussion in person but unfortunately it didn't work out.

@woodpeck makes a good point - the plus code is just a formatting of the lat/lng so it doesn't need to be stored with the object*. What could be worth storing or associating with the object is the _locality_, because computing the "best" locality associated with a point can be expensive. (It isn't necessarily the closest, because you want to respect country and state borders, and you might have a tiny village close and a large city slightly further, but the city may make more sense.)

Of course, that assumes the plus code address is the center of the object. But you might want it to indicate the doorway, or the drive way (if it's a long way off the road). In that case you will want the code separate but I agree that will be a nice to have.

@simonpoole makes the good point that plus codes are based on latin characters. We were worried about this, so did some surveys with people in different script countries, and most of them made the point that @RobJN made - basically "umm, how do you think we type www.google.com?" We launched the codes in Maps on Android a year ago, and we see high usage in non-latin script countries (arabic, cyrillic, japanese etc). At the moment, our thoughts are that there is more to be gained by having a single, consistent script for the code part, but at least we can reconsider this in the future.

I would love to see search support in OSM web, and _especially_ in geocoders (so that not everyone has to implement it in their front end). The challenge for geocoders is that they don't turn an address into a location, so much as into the best matching object in their database. A plus code like "27W4+MR Kintampo" is an exact location (8.046747, -1.742878), but geocoders return a nearby road or even just a locality.

I'd be excited to see geocoders consider this problem, not just for support of plus codes, but also to support the kinds of address that are really common in poorly addressed areas - like "50m past the bus stop", "kilometer 10, MG road" etc.

It's going to be a long time before any of us map every building in the world. It would be great if someone in Paraguay, Mali, Canada, or anywhere, can get their plus code address, tell it to someone else and that person can get to the location, using any map app, and without having to wait for someone to add their building to maps.

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