[Talk-GB] The curious case of USRN 20602512

James Derrick lists at jamesderrick.org
Fri Jul 10 11:32:07 UTC 2020


On 10/07/2020 11:27, Mark Goodge wrote:
> So this is a bit of a warning, really, for the open mapping community. 
> Although the open data release of USRN ids and coordinates is welcome, 
> don't be tempted to look up street names on the street list published, 
> with a restrictive licence, on https://www.findmystreet.co.uk and then 
> copy them to our own data. Because it simply isn't reliable enough as 
> a guide to actual usage, even if it is what the "official" name of the 
> road may be. Stick to OS Open Data and local knowledge. 

Thanks - that's an interesting and informative tale about 'canonical' 
sources being sourced by human beings from complex and contradictory data.

Some years ago, I remember being rather surprised investigating 
differences between my own surveys and OS open data using ITO tools. 
After double checking the 'ground truth', OSM is closer to reality than 
OS in several places around my area - perhaps 3 diffs across a 45k 
population town (Cramlington, NE23).

Geography and human society is more complex with the same space being 
called many things over time, and by different groups.

How many small towns didn't have a 'High Street' until an OS surveyor 
first visited it and wrote a name down?

How many 19th century terraces originally had the buildings named, 
rather than the surrounding streets?

Working in telecoms, I understand the benefits of a UPRN / USRN, however 
as a geographer they still feel a bit like a more precise version of 
'High Street'.

I still added U*RN tags to my local area - like a 21st century alt_name 
tag! :-)

James Derrick
     lists at jamesderrick.org, Cramlington, England
     I wouldn't be a volunteer if you paid me...

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