[Talk-us] Tidying up TIGER data

Ted Percival ted at midg3t.net
Thu Jun 4 22:18:49 BST 2009

Paul Johnson wrote:
> Ian Dees wrote:
>> - "Collapse spaces": Ok, that makes sense.
>> - "Expand abbreviated dirs": This is the one that I have the most
>> problems with. In my neighborhood in Minnaepolis, the official names for
>> roads actually end in SE. For example, I live on 6th Avenue SE. I've
>> seen several different representations of this, but when I ask several
>> different mail carriers and some GIS folks at the University there, they
>> all said that "SE" is the official name, not "southeast".

The script only does word-bounded cardinal directions, so "SE" remains
"SE". That said, it *does* currently bust a few lettered streets in Salt
Lake City ("E Street", "N Street", etc.). I'll fix that up in the next
version by requiring at least three words in the name.

> I could be wrong on this, but I've been making an exception for
> cardinals myself, using the same logic behind NOT using abbreviations
> for everything else.

I'm not sure why the logic is inverted. While it is common notation to
abbreviate the cardinal directions, the street signs actually say "300
West", and I would prefer voice navigation software to say "Turn on
Three hundred West" Rather than "Turn on Three Hundred Double-U", for
instance. I think the usual principles apply: it's easy enough for
renderers to abbreviate full words when it's appropriate, and routing
software to understand how users might abbreviate their input.
Maintaining unnecessary ambiguity in the database should be avoided.

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