[Tagging] Points instead of areas

Bill Ricker bill.n1vux at gmail.com
Wed Aug 8 02:52:20 UTC 2018

On Tue, Aug 7, 2018 at 6:41 PM, Graeme Fitzpatrick <graemefitz1 at gmail.com>

> On 7 August 2018 at 21:56, Daniel Koć <daniel at koć.pl> wrote:
>> For example nobody would say that a city is a point
> I'm not disagreeing with you, but people do refer to them, & somehow even
> measure them, as points!
> I'm sure that you have the same situation in your country but an e.g. is
> my State capital, Brisbane: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brisbane, which
> covers an area of 15842 km2, but is still apparently found exactly at:
> ...
Quite so.
To measure distances between towns/cities, some point is needed.
While in theory someone wishing to do so could query for the Admin level
outline and compute the centroid, when a government entity has declared a
named point to match the Admin level boundary, it's convenient if everyone
uses the same one.

The old Boston Milestones measured distance from the entrance to town at
Boston Neck; but modern distances usually measure to the center of the
Statehouse Dome.
The US Geodetic Survey includes City, Town, and settlements among their
point data for annotating maps -- this is where the label goes when a USGS
GIS system makes a draft map, until a cartographer moves it for aesthetics.
(I rather suspect the town names on OSM.org renderings come the same way
and not from Admin level boundary ways.)

I don't know if those were imported with Tiger or imported separately, but
i think they're in OSM already.

Should we delete the USGS named town points because they don't match a
verifiable marker on the ground at that location?
Let's not take ourselves so seriously that we reject open-licensed data
freely given.
The mapping ground truth dictum was a reaction to the UKOS's refusing to
open-license their taxpayer owned data; some have made a virtue of a
necessity of ground-truth field-mapping, GPS-on-bicycle, but let us rejoice
that some governments have learned the folly of the closed shop. It's not
that we Yanks are lazy arm-chair mappers, it's our US Gov did something
right for a change.
   (We did have a decade when the new weather radar data was only available
via private contracts, which helped offset the radar hardware and software
upgrades, but with the rapid growth of the WWW they sensibly chose not to
renew that contract; and likewise the National Library of Medicine
collection of Abstracts -- which i was trying to profiteer on when VP Gore
freed it. I'm glad; our marketing dept was made of fail anyway.)

If there are countries which for which open-licensed town centers aren't
available, the local mapping communities can decide what is right for them.
Postoffice, Town Hall, Centroid, Flagpole, whatever.

Bill Ricker
bill.n1vux at gmail.com
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