[talk-ph] Philippine addressing system for OSM

maning sambale emmanuel.sambale at gmail.com
Fri Mar 20 10:32:44 GMT 2009


First, I have to say you know what you are doing (so apologies if my
message below doesn't make sense, it's friday, I'm tired, and just
having beer right now ;))

What I have in mind right now is how do we make sense (and map for
OSM) existing addresses.  I drafted the proposed schema (based on
Karsluche) to accommodate existing address variations.  In addition, I
would like for us to create a web interface for others to easily add
addreses to OSM.  I see something like openstreetbugs' interface.  We
can add several textboxes where anybody can add an address.  This can
then be exported as a gpx or osm file.  An OSM mapper can then add to
the main dbase or verify the address on the ground.  This way,
non-OSMer can easily add addresses.

Anybody willing to create a similar web-based app?  We can glue in
several codes from osm, openlayers and some back-end dbase.

On your proposal to create a community-driven
address/geocoding/postcode schema, I raise my hand to contribute in
developing this (although I am more of mapper than a coder).   I see
all the benefits of doing this.  Several insights on the proposal:
 - We have to ensure "cross-compatibility" of the new schema to
existing address variations in the Philippines and to OSM
 - It has to be applicable in both rural and urban areas
 - Open-license both the data and the generated algorithm for
searching and geocoding

Finally, I suggest we start rolling this out ASAP.  We can get others
to support the proposed design if we have a working example in place
for testing and evaluation.

On Thu, Mar 19, 2009 at 7:42 PM, Ronny Ager-Wick - Develo Ltd.
<raw at develo.ltd.uk> wrote:
> Maning and Rally, I am very happy that you mentioned this problem!
> I have worked with addressing systems for years. Having made database
> schemas and software for direct marketing companies, mail order businesses
> and a world wide location search system, I have considerable expertise in
> this area. I have also been annoyed with the complete mess the Philippine
> addressing "system" is in, and have been wanting to do something with it.
> This may be the kick I need to get going.
> Addressing systems look so easy when you just glance over them, but when you
> dig deeper into the matter, like Rally has done here, you discover that it's
> immensely complex. If the database schema holding this information is not
> designed well, it's going to be a complete mess forever after.
> I have analysed the situation in some other countries and found their
> weaknesses:
> Norway (where I'm from): Postal codes are under the control of the postal
> and telecommunications authority (which means government). This is the first
> mistake. Anyone who has dealt with the government knows that thay are
> utterly incapable of doing anything right. Result: small towns have one post
> code, similar to the phils. Bigger (or randomly selected small towns) have
> numerous postal codes which are assigned so they fit the routes of the local
> post office! Completely useless to anyone but themselves...
> Norway is also complicated, but not as messy as the Philippines. The most
> complex addresses can be like this one:
> Leil 42, 2. etg, oppg. C
> Storebakken 12
> 0123 OSLO
> The least complex one can be like the one of my Grand parents before:
> (that's it)
> The reason for this is that it's a small village, they live by the main
> road, which has no name (only a road number which never is used in an
> address) and the one delivering mail there knows everybody anyway. This is
> still a valid address.
> The good thing about Norway is that the street name is unique within the
> postal code - in fact within the municipality (which can have 1 or more
> postal codes as explained above). This luxiru we don't have in the Phils.
> Moving on the the UK, which has an excellent postal code system - in my
> opinion even better than the US. Not perfect, but a good model.
> Their "post codes" consists of four sections:
> Postcode area
> Postcode district
> Sector
> Unit
> Examples:
> GU35 9NQ - GU = Guildford (the nearest big town), 35=district within the
> Guildford area, 9 = Sector, NQ = Unit
> W2 6DB   - W = West London, 2 = district, 6 = sector, DB = unit
> EC2R 8AY - EC = East Central London, 2R = district, etc.
> See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UK_postcodes for full details.
> The addresses in the UK are also structured in a way:
> For example, my address is:
>   Flat 12
>   Cleveland House
>   55 Cleveland Square
>   London
>   W2 6DB
> Address explained:
>   Flat 12 = flat number, apartment number, room number, etc (section of
> building). Normally not included in address finder software.
>   Cleveland House - House name. in this case redundant information, as house
> number is specified below. A UK address can have a house name OR house
> number, or both.
>   55 Cleveland Square - House number + street name
>   London - town/city (London is special as there is no need for county)
>   W2 6DB - postcode
> We used to rent a farm house earlier, the address was:
>   Sandybridge Farm, Main Road
>   Kinglsey, Bordon, Hampshire
>   GU35 9NQ
> Address explained:
>   Sandybridge Farm, Main Road - house name + street name (basically the same
> as house number + street name)
>   Kinglsey, Bordon, Hampshire - Area, Town, County
>   GU35 9NQ - postcode
> I believe the US has s similar system to the UK, like Rally describes, but
> their postcode system is based on numbers only, like 13745-1452 which is
> inherently difficult to remember. The UK system is much better as it
> utilized letters as well as numbers. This makes the codes shorter and easier
> to remember.
> What I propose that we do - before any government body or commercial company
> does it, is to create a near perfect postal code system for the Philippines.
> This could be a separate project form OSM, but closely linked - so that OSM
> will always be the best and most updated map with all postal codes included.
> The reason why I want to do it this way is to ensure that the address, post
> code and geo coding information remains free for all, unlike most othr
> countries where only companies with a big enough budget can legally get hold
> of the data.
> Rally has gone into great detail already, which is immensely useful
> information. With my experience of db design in this specific area, I can
> solve a couple of the problems he is facing:
> He says people uses different ways to describe the same address. This is and
> will always be a problem. The address db should therefore be centered around
> points, not the address itself. A point can be either a single X-Y
> coordinate or an area. Each point can have more than one address attached to
> it. We can mark one address as "primary" or "official" so that looking up
> any of the other address will give you the official address in the end.
> So if "#245 Brgy Sta Cruz, Magalang, Pampanga" is the physical location as
> "10 Rizal Rd, Puruk 1, Magalang, Pampanga" (it's not, I just made it up),
> then so be it: add both address pointing to the same point.
> Also, addresses change. This is a fact, and it's unavoidable, so the system
> should be prepared for it. Having "valid_from" and "valid_to" dates on
> addresses is a good start. This way, no historical data gets lost. In year
> 2045, we can look back and see what the address was called in 2009.
> And don't worry about database space. You shouldn't need to feel sorry for
> the computers, they're there to serve us, and disk space gets cheaper every
> day (about half price every 18 months), so I wouldn't worry too much about
> that.
> I agree that the Lot/blk/phase thing is a stupid system that should be
> abandoned immediately, however, failing that, having a system that allows
> more than one address per physical location (point) goes a long way. When
> someone actually comes up with a good name for the streets within a sub
> division and numbering the houses within it, we can add them right away
> while still supporting the legacy lot/blk/phase style.
> If we assign postal codes with care - in other words if you have a
> lot/blk/phase system, but you assign each postal code for one side of the
> street in one block only, then you the lot number can act as house number,
> as it will be unique.
> Better yet, as the system will have a "primary" address, say you're a
> courier like Rally and you're printing the list of places to go - the system
> can look up the address (postal code + house number/name being unique) and
> print the "real" or official address rather than the one given. So someone
> writes:
> Lot 12, blk 3, phase 2
> Diamond-gold-celebrity-life-buy-a-lot-here-and-be-happy-ever-after
> Subdivision
> Sometown, Someprovince
> XX4X 1XX
> It's translated to
> 59, 5th Avenue
> Diamond-etc subdivision
> Sometown, Someprovince
> XX4X 2XX
> I am prepared to design the database schema and direct the development of a
> piece of software that can do all of this. I suggest that we create an
> organization that holds the ownership of this software (which will only be
> used on our web server anyway, and we don't want idiots copying our server
> software to set up slightly modified alternative versions all over the
> place) but release the data under an appropriate open license, similar to
> OSM, available to everybody and easy to update, so it will be kept up to
> date.
> Exchange of data between OSM and this system would be obvious, leading to
> all addresses - and postal codes - in the entire Philippines being available
> on OSM - down to house number/name and their exact location.
> Hopefully, the post office and all courier companies, mail order companies,
> direct marketing companies, etc. will see the value of this and adapt it as
> well.
> Well, this was a lot of stuff in one go, but if anyone will raise their
> hands to say they want to be part of this (and also add what they plan to
> contribute with), then please let me know. I will then set up a task
> management system where we can enter all our requirements and start moving
> towards development of a system for it.
> Ronny
> maning sambale wrote:
> Hi,
> I have been discussing with rally about adding addresses to osm.  We
> all know it's messy here in the Philippines but rally outlined an even
> more messy situation!
> I hope we can pool our minds together to come-up with a sensible
> addressing format for the Philippines.
> I've started a wikipage to collect some notes
> http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/WikiProject_Philippines/Philippine_addressing
> I suggest we adopt the Karlsruhe Schema and adopt all possible tags
> that fit the Philippines.
> http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Address
> here's the email from rally (background rally works in courier service
> so he knows this stuff very well):
> ==============
> housenumber : number or alphanumeric (eg 12-C, 5-A), or
> housename: for addresses on Avenues (eg. ortigas ave ext or
> manila east
> roads) that has no street number, but building names only
> street: sometimes blank (for sitios with no streets; of for
> subdivisions
> with no streets - using Lot/Block/Phase)
> state -- not applicable
> for NCR:
> postcode: zipcode
> Note: In the US,  "zipcode" combined with
> "house number" and "street name"
> are enough info for a package to be delivered.
> because their expanded zipcode makes the equivalent
> barangay, sitio, town,
> city, state becomes redundant info.
> a specific expanded ZIP points to a small specific area in
> the country. So,
> once a messenger reached that zipcode area, all he has to
> do is look for the
> street and house number. sometimes it includes APT or SPC
> (apartment  or
> Space number). no need to specify condo or name of
> townhouse (as they
> consume extra space in the database).
> The dream is for every filipino living in a specific area,
> to know his/her
> expanded zipcode. maybe, all he needs to do is dial his
> landline on his
> area, and the computer answers back with the correct
> zipcode; or simply ask
> the barangay tanod for their zipcode. then, there's no
> need to memorize the
> name of apartment, condo, building name, project
> subdivision. that way, typo
> error don't  matter as long as the zipcode is correct.
> according to wiki,
> Taytay Rizal is 41square Km. yet the zip code is one
> 4-digit number for the
> entire town. Now what's the use of this zipcode to a
> messenger? no use.
> my point is, after the tag "addr:street" we must
> go to many other sub-levels
> before going to city or town.
> some barangays in the philppines are just too big for one
> expanded zipcode,
> so we further divide it into sitio or big village or big
> subdivision...
> wait, it's not that easy to teach and implement.
> what complicates the address system is the inefficient use
> of address fields
> in paper forms: rural and city addresses need different
> forms.
> NCR have "districts" and barangays but don't
> have provinces, and sitios and
> puroks are not that many.
> RURAL AREAS have provinces and barangays, but have lots of
> sitios and
> puroks, but practically no districts (except for
> congressional districts
> which is not used on Address system) - because
> congressional district keeps
> on changing very often.
> since there are lots of "streetname duplication"
> in a particular town, rural
> addresses need to specify subdivision name, or sitio or
> purok name or
> neighborhood association name; else the mails get lost.
> There are no laws
> governing the "naming of streets". it's a
> free-for-all system for LGU to
> name it to any names they like.
> if we use all fields (1) house number or Lot/Blk/Phase, (2)
> Floor Number,
> (3) building name or Apartment name, (4) streetname, (5)
> sitio or purok, (6)
> subdivision name (or project name), (7) barangay name, (8)
> town or city
> name, (9) province, (10) regions name, (11) country name,
> (12) zip code...
> gosh there's a lot of field that will be blank or be
> filled up with a lot of
> N/A's
> because:
> 1. some don't have House number, but Lot/Blk/Phase ---
> How do you search Lot
> Block Phase? Doesn't make sense and creates logistical
> nightmare. One block
> normally covers 3-4 streets (on all sides) - not
> environment friendly - lots
> of fuel spent searching.
> 2. If Lot/Blk/Phase is used, then some don't use street
> names (especially
> for those subd given permit to sell even without naming
> their streets), then
> after a few years put names on the street and mess up the
> address database.
> 3. if they don't live in a building, then what's
> the use of Floor Number and
> building name field? (imagine the precious terabytes wasted
> on the harddrive
> trying to reserved space for these unused space on a
> typical database)
> 4. some buildings are condos, some office/residential (so
> we use "building"
> field to enter the condo name) when some would insist that
> it should be on
> the "Projects Name" --- same field reserved for
> "Subdivision Name" so which-
> which? what about a townhouse, since these are not
> "buildings" but just a
> "project". There are different impressions from
> different people, so they
> either put it on building (where they normally put condos),
> while others
> will put it on Subdivision (where they put the name of the
> project). What
> about warehouse factories with lots of building names
> inside an industrial
> subdivision? this is easy...
> 5. some subdivision such as beverly hills subd (antipolo)
> is considered "one
> whole barangay" by antipolo city; so where do we put
> it? in "barangay" or
> "subdivision" field? or both? if both, then what
> happened if we print it to
> the mailing envelope using mailmerge... we get
> "beverly hills subd, beverly
> hills subd, antipolo city --- let's you think there
> must be a typo somewhere
> (because of redundancy).
> and to think that half of beverly hills subd is also part
> of Taytay Rizal
> and is just under Barangay Dolores of Taytay. (there's
> boundary dispute)
> 6. some use sitio as another name for purok (in our town,
> that is the case).
> Sitio is the name, while that name has an assigned
> "Purok #". Which one
> should we put on the address field, the sitio name or the
> purok number? so
> stupid and confusing system, don't you think? you
> can't have both if they
> mean the same. but if you let people use either, your
> database search gets
> messed up.
> 7. some Neighborhood association (which should be in the
> "subdivision" field
> is assigned a "purok" number). While a
> "subdivision" can also be assigned to
> a "barangay" field (see number 5). So who is the
> final arbiter which goes
> where, when filling up an address form? Answer, an LGU
> official registry of
> verified address. If you're address don't appear on
> the system, then you
> apply for one, verfied by the tax mapping if such address
> is under what
> taxdeclaration number, and connected to the Address
> Registry Office if a
> street number, house number, building number, apartment
> number etc is
> already assigned to it, or if it does exist.
> 8. If it's a city within the province, then what do you
> put in the province
> field? blank? We normally dont put Antipolo City, Rizal
> Province (because
> antipolo has it's own congressional district)
> 9. if the city is in Metro Manila, then it would appear
> like Makati City,
> Metro Manila. In which case, what in what field do we put
> "Metro Manila", in
> the province field? (Metro Manila is not a province). If we
> use NCR instead
> of Metro Manila, then I guess, we need to put another field
> for Region,
> because NCR (or Metro Manila)
> http://www.wowphilippines.com.ph/explore_phil/explore_main.asp
> Except for Metro Manila, Region was never a part of address
> system. So why
> put Metro Manila as an exception. It's a waste of
> database field.  gosh, we
> need to teach all these stupid rules to all filipinos as
> early as grade 3
> else they mess up the database, mess up our mail
> deliveries, as well as
> those ambulance and police rescue, and pizza deliveries.
> 10. what about those vacant space in rural areas. No
> problem in vacant
> subdivision lots, because chances are, there's a
> lot/block/phase number
> assigned to it. In rural settings, rarely do an LGU assign
> a SPACE number to
> make it reacheable. Eg. what if you want a truckload of
> panambak delivered
> to it. Or you want to rent it for Perya or Bingo Tent
> operations. In the US,
> they lease these spaces to RV-truck houses. Mails and pizza
> can actually be
> delivered to these SPC (space).
> we have lots of these confusing address cases. so where do
> we start? let's
> build a matrix kaya? i'll supply you with actual stupid
> addresses made by
> some people that are giving us headaches and eats up our
> earnings because of
> multiple failed delivery attempts.
> let's crunch first the above puzzles above, and make a
> fool-proof
> idiot-proof efficient address system. :-) the resulting
> databse field will
> be the one used in data collection for our pilot project in
> my area.

"Freedom is still the most radical idea of all" -N.Branden
wiki: http://esambale.wikispaces.com/
blog: http://epsg4253.wordpress.com/

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