This way no one except delivery people would care what these addresses resolved to. They could be lat/long, traditional street addresses, X-codes, whatever.
My Dad used to have one (around the divorce of my mom), My Uncle had one, as he was abroad a lot and moved house a couple of times, and wanted a dutch address. etc etc.
As for paper email, aren't there also services that open and scan your mail for you?
Not exactly "DNS for physical mail" as you described but quite handy!
As for the obfuscation part, if the delivery people know how to resolve... so will many others. ;)
Mail addressed to the PO Box -> You collect from post office
Mail addressed to the PO Box -> They deliver to street address (which only they know)
Mail addressed to street address -> You collect from post office
The most annoying thing I found was that they would only let you have a PO Box in a town if you had a street address there, which I did not.
On the other hand, the PO Box is provided by Royal Mail. Another delivery company (there are many who handle parcels, RM only deliver letters and small packages) would not necessarily have access to it, and certainly not the associated address.
A 302 is like a letter that's been marked return to sender with a forwarding address. The original sender would then know the actual physical address.
First your mail is routed to the provider’s local address or central warehouse, then they manually forward it to you. Some providers (incl the popular Earth Class Mail) operate as a hub-and-spoke network: all mail goes to their centralised distribution center, they process it and send it to you. This means if I buy something from a few blocks away, it will first have to Midwest then back to me.
I’m okay with latency and eventual consistency. I just need an analog->digital funnel for paper mail when I’m thousands of miles from home.
The main discovery was how much of the "virtual address" industry is a nice wrapper around two independent service providers I call "processors" and "sellers".
"Processors" are the people who actually handle your mail. Often they are existing businesses like serviced offices, co-working places, pack&ship outlets etc. These small businesses have a fixed address and personnel, so their marginal cost of handling envelopes is much lower than having to sustain an office dedicated to processing mail. These processors are combined into a whitelisted network and this is how you get many addresses everywhere.
"Sellers" are the endless firms that sell access to networks of processors at arbitrary prices. There are exceptions (e.g. EarthClassMail) who manage their own processing, but most companies I found on the internet are just billing fronts with an app. I found this out because I kept seeing the same "virtual addresses" all the time, so I inspected those buildings on Google Maps or in person.
My selection criteria had three parts: 1. Deliverability (can I send both letters and packages, and will they arrive?) 2. Longevity (will this address exist tomorrow?) and 3. Security (who might be looking through my documents?). Based on this criteria, I have almost no regard for who the "seller" is, and it's all entirely about the "processor". By reviewing addresses given, I found out that sometimes the "virtual address" belongs to a shipping/mailing outlet. These people are dedicated to mail, and tend to be very stable - I prefer them over services offices/co-working places that have other priorities. I also found some mailing stores that were actually UPS stores, and I see this as reducing the risk further.
So for ~$30/mo, all my snail mail goes to a UPS store (managed by the seller service at https://www.anytimemailbox.com). When new item arrives, UPS people send a photo of the outside and I decide whether to trash or forward the item (or pick it up myself). This address looks like a regular apartment number (e.g. "123 Main St #45") and I can use it everywhere (unlike a PO box). In fact, it is listed as my primary address with the phone company, the bank, state driving license, insurance company, government records, and all business registrations. I try to be paperless, but now I am free to travel or move as much as I want knowing I'll never miss anything important from the old school of correspondence.
You can change your virtual address itself or keep the same one for however long you like, and just change the final destination that it resolves to. The postal service knows where your current postal destination is set and third party freight carriers able to look it up from an API (someone has to deliver it eventually after all). Your destination can be changed in your online account, and if you want a particular package delivered somewhere different you can quickly create a new virtual address and use that instead.
How so? Or rather, what exactly do you mean here? Burglars don't want to find you personally. They're scoping out a property an determining if no one is home. They aren't looking though the yellow pages for potential victims remotely; they're driving around the neighborhood trying to get physical access.
Put another way... If I'm the type of person whom criminals will target by name, address obfuscation isn't what I need. Instead, I need a comprehensive security system (likely including body guards). Think heads of state and other famous people.
Joe Developer isn't being targeted by name. He just gets unlucky because he left his MacBook within sight of the window and didn't lock the back door.
1. Searching through travelogues
2. Waiting for one where a person is actively posting
3. Assume that the blogger is still traveling
4. Researching where that person lives
5. Hoping they happen to be close by
6. Hoping no one else lives there/is house sitting/is renting while you're out
1. Driving around looking for a place with a bunch of mail overflowing from the mail box and packages piled on the doorstep or some high value target visible through a window, regardless of knowing what the address is of the house
The good news is you're worried about nothing. However, adding a layer of abstraction to an address won't help curb burglaries.
The scenario where his blog could get him burgled is not burglars who set out to identify targets by reading travelogues. It is a burglar who happens to read the blog because he finds it interesting and happens to recognize that he is being presented with a burglary opportunity.
I think the reader feels like it matters but it doesn't. If someone is "writing from $place" it seems more immediate, more authentic, more real? When really it wouldn't matter for most situations.
This part is done by mailbox companies like EarthClassMail.com. I've used them for years, and it's wonderfully convenient to have the same postal address despite moving all over the country. Plus, if you want, they'll open specific envelopes, deposit checks for you, scan stuff, etc. I love that because as a traveling consultant, I don't wanna wait until I get home to have checks go into my bank account.
Drawbacks: there's a latency and an expense involved with forwarding packages. I tend to not use it for packages, just for regular postal mail. Anytime someone asks for an address, they get my EarthClassMail one, because I probably don't want whatever they're mailing me anyway.
With enough capital it would be fairly straightforward to provide a forwarding service for this. You could also have spam filters or reject mail from specific senders, provide scans of the outside of the letters, specific delivery dates etc.
Given how we are ordering more and more things online nowadays this could be a very exciting opportunity.
I think those services exist in some countries, but not from postal services themself, so delivery-time is still rather slow.
That's the idea: the redirection would be handled by the carriers, not some third party. In place of the current system of (a) scan address; (b) route package; (c) deliver package the process would be (a) scan recipient ID; (b) translate ID to address; (c) route package; (d) deliver package. The address lookup should be completely automated and introduce no discernable additional latency in the mail delivery. It could even be implemented as a special case of the address normalization step carriers already perform.
In the first place there is not even enough data to know whether the huge investment would be justified.
Or do you have one address for UPS deliveries and a different address for FedEx deliveries? (Substitute local carrier names as appropriate.) While that's more work—and pointlessly complex IMHO—you'd just need to set up one ID per carrier and give the correct ID, as opposed to the carrier-specific address.
Anyway, a shortcut to implementing indirection for these less-organized postal services you're describing would be to look up the recipient's ID when the parcel first enters the system and affix a label with the full address. That way the sender doesn't need to know the address and everything else about the delivery can stay the same.
In that scale, nothing is simple, because everything can become expensive on the high run.
Only if you don't consider flexibility part of the task, which is rather short-sighted in today's world. Maybe postal services could afford to be inflexible once, but those days are long past.
Someone has access to this database. And they're selling the data for a price inversely proportional to the exclusivity of their access. Increasingly it seems that if someone is selling data on the open market, this information is increasingly available to bad actors such as burglars.
So it just seems like a very bad form of security by obfuscation. There are definitely things to be said about generally decoupling your physical location from your mailing address if you frequently move, however.
Yes, but that's still an improvement over the status quo where anyone can trivially find my home address with a Google search.
I wonder if there would be a market for the service you're describing today. It seems you could achieve it in the current postal system. You sign up and are assigned a unique identifier, which you use as your "Name", then ship to a local address maintained by that service, who then forward it on.
All you're doing in this case is just centralizing the trust from each individual online business to the reshipping service. Is that a reasonable first step?
Sounds good to me.
You know who is well positioned to do this? Netflix.
I'd imagine it being some kind of non-profit organization that is funded by a combination of donations + fees for the reshipping service.
Put differently, if we want to centralize all this sensitive information (people's residential address), would you want an organization beholden to shareholders and profit margins operating it?
Better them than Amazon, Google or FB. (Oh, the horror!)
But I like the non-profit idea better.
There are also companies that will do this for you with variations on the service (a registered agent is one example, the company Mailboxes Etc also offers this service), which some are dismissing based on "yeah but then a third party is handling your mail". But if your country's post office won't do it then the only alternative is to have a third party handling your mail.
This service exists, and people are dismissing the idea because it is not novel.
I'm not saying your dream is bad, which is why I didn't respond directly to you. What I'm saying is I don't think it's a novel/interesting idea for a startup to work on as I believe was being implied by the person I replied to. Even if it became a big business (which I doubt since even UPS/Fedex/Mailbox ETC don't have that many postal customers for their own services) it's just too easy for the national postal service to compete with if it was successful.
I think it is a great idea for the postal service to do, but it would be very risky for a startup to do, even by modern startup standards. The existing postal system is a marvel of efficiency already.
Yes, but that's a big difference.
> I don't think it's a novel/interesting idea for a startup to work on
I ever said that, and neither did whiddershins. Not all novel ideas are good ideas for startups.
The internet itself was a very bad idea for a startup when it started out (much too capital intensive). That's why it was done by the government and not by a startup.
It does open up some interesting use cases. E.g., when I go on vacation then hold off delivery, if it's from Amazon then deliver it to such and such a post box etc. I'm not sure about the market size though.
Now in the UK large party donors are publicly listed. And parties have memberships in private.
I guess I should do some research!
Some states only allow you to vote in the primary for your affiliated party, others let you pick one or the other regardless, some will only let you vote in one parties if you are affiliated but the other has no such restriction. The system is a giant clusterfuck of rules, but everyone just kind of works with it for now.
Your affiliation is part of your voter registration, so it’s held by your Secretary of State’s office.
For the past 10 months I've been travelling constantly staying at hotels, AirBnb's etc and in a lot of cases not having the permanent physical address is very inconvenient. I've tried multiple solutions but none of them work well. Yes, there are companies that offer "virtual mailboxes", but I can't ship any packages to them.
There's no need to remove addresses from places that already have them, and a system like [Plus codes](https://plus.codes/) could identify physical locations without an address.
My grandmother's house (in Australia) was assigned a house number (in the 70s?) but she refused to use it, continuing to give her address as the house name and insisting that we grandkids address letters to her by name. As far as I know they always arrived. There was no number on the house or letterbox. I went by a few months ago (somebody else lives there now) and there's a number on the letterbox.
My in-laws live in a village in Germany (a little south of the town in this article) with only two streets, referred to as "am Berge" and "im Dorf" (on the hill and in the village) and though the house numbers are not unified as in this article's case, there is no actual street sign -- but by "name" it's pretty obvious which is which.
-My parents once received a postcard addressed simply to their first names - period. No last name. No street. No town. No postcode. No nothing.
It goes to show that:
a) Norway is, as such things go, a pretty small country with at least one postal clerk bored enough at work to do a little bit of investigating, and:
b) Having a central database in which every Norwegian is required by law to be registered with the address of his or her residence does have its benefits for the less privacy-conscious. (This was pre-internet everywhere, and they were not listed in online yellow pages or similar - so someone must have made a query to the folkeregisteret database along the lines of 'Is there a $male_name which lives with $female_name anywhere in the country?)
There was one case I remember reading about 15-20 years ago where someone in the UK dropped a letter into a mailbox with just a name, street number (IIRC), and street and it managed to get to the recipient in Pennsylvania, US. Someone from the post office guessed that a bunch of misreadings happened to get it close enough.
I guess a creepy possibility is if they have a database of every letter sent they can search that to often figure out the likely recipient (at least in the case I am thinking about where they were in regular contact).
It's the same principle as when some want to filter the entire internet to protect a small minority from reaching content that could shock them (often porn). It feels less like tyranny of the majority and more like democracy. Being in the minority in a vote should not be confused with being abused by the majority like you do, because that dilutes the recognition for cases where it really happens.
On the other hand, people already suffer because they have problems with their deliveries, visitors etc.
It's not like people will suffer
when their house suddenly gets a
Like if you told the French they should all start speaking english to better interact with the international business community, or if you told programmers they should start wearing dress shirts so they look like professionals.
People become deeply attached to all kinds of arbitrary things, e.g. the particular shade of red used by their favorite sports team, or the exact shape of the cookies their family has baked for Christmas every year.
Both of those are also true btw.
For the French, I don't know, but you could argue that it would improve the French economy I suppose.
However, for programmers, I don't see the benefit: programmers do not have any trouble these days finding jobs, and in fact are in high demand regardless of how they dress. Dressing more "professionally" doesn't seem like it would actually help them any, so why bother?
The problem is not always the direct change, but the infrastructure and public mindset change. Add a filter, and now adding things to it is much easier. Germany for better or worse is very much privacy minded, even more so that us neighbors (and compared to the US or asian countries we're very privacy minded). They basically have no google maps coverage because of it, for exemple. So a change in that direction will impact them.
Are you kidding me? 6 German police officers were taken out of their job because they have threatened an ethnic Turk, attorney. They have threatened her new born baby by his name while even none of her neighborhoods know the babie's name. And how did they found that the police did it? Apparently few hours ago the police officers have queried her and her babie's name from their database.
So, while Germans think that they mind their privacy they have no idea that they live in none private country. Germany is not really different from other European countries in term of privacy. Who cares about your shopping habits? Will someone going to point you a gun for shopping or for not using DNT header in your web browser or for using a credit card? Police have all citizens' addresses, names, phone numbers, relatives. And police have guns to point at citizens and arrest them just because. Can you hide your name and address from German police? No.
Those are the same concept. One is just supposed to be good while the other is bad.
And the world is becoming increasingly homogenized so I’m delighted to see some people pushing back.
I fail to see how this is the case here: visitors to the town are getting lost because their address scheme makes no sense at all except to the locals. There's a good reason every other city and town in the whole country (presumably) has adopted the building-number / street-name convention (and in most other countries as well).
Personally I really hope something like https://plus.codes/ will catch up. People should be easily able to provide address without knowing or caring about local arrangements.
Who needs some proprietary system (there’s also a so-called “three word” competing system). Just use lat/long which are universal.
> People should be easily able to provide address without knowing or caring about local arrangements.
What can be more “local” than an address and why should it be subject to outside specification?
If you consider lat/long user-unfriendly then just stuff them into URIs of some sort — URLs would work — and keep this em in a sort of DNS. Then people could name their addresses whatever they want.
Surely its the exact opposite. Locals don't need an address, they know what you mean when you say "the yellow house behind where the pharmacy used to be". "Outsiders" are the target users for addresses and thus it should be optimized for their understanding and use cases.
Just use lat/long which are universal.
Plus Codes are open source and there are no licensing fees. They also compare different location encoding systems like Lat-Long etc.
The Japanese Quasi-Zenith Satellite System (QZSS) is designed specifically to work around this problem, but that level of precision isn't available everywhere yet.
This is a pretty strange statement. Ad address, in my interpretation, is an identifier that can be given to anyone without local contextual knowledge to find a place of interest. You can tell me in my hometown that the cafe is opposite of the hardware store and I'll find it precisely because I know where the hardware store is. In other towns/places, as an outsider, I would need an address to be able to find something.
LatxLng Apt 23C
Also, when sorting mail looking up lat-long for every item is tedious, so we could name the address by the town/city name that it is local too.
Now lat-long is getting to be redundant ...
But regrettably that's not the case. So I'm hoping that SOMETHING will catch on eventually.
For instance, https://planner.myrouteonline.com/route-planner/1752/#, works perfectly in Hilgermissen and has no trouble finding the houses and finding the optimal route.
There is in fact not a problem to be solved, except perhaps between the ears of the people managing delivery companies.
Your age is even more local. I'd say even personal. Still all others could use objective sense of what a year is and how many of those ago you were born. That's why we need outside specification for local things. Because local doesn't mean isolated from the rest of humanity.
Not many people know that the x.400 email standard allowed for physical delivery options in the spec
It would already be a better solution indeed. But ultimately I would prefer to have a kind of unique identifier for my person that is not based on my location nor my name, like for instance A23C-B442-9F72. It could then be associated to a first name, last name, and geographical address in a database. Delivery services can then look-up the geographical address and your name at delivery time to find you or your mailbox.
This would avoid so much troubles for stuff like:
- Moving: I can change my address in one place and everything will be delivered to the new place, no needs for thousands of calls and letters to companies to update every subscription.
- Changing name: Whenever someone is changing his name for any reason (weeding, gender change, etc.) it should only be modified in one place.
- Disposable address: It should be possible to get disposable identifiers that can only be read by delivery services for hiding your real identifier/address from suspicious website
Of course this system is not perfect and probably has drawbacks, but it would be already a step in the good direction for me. Implementation details are left open for discussion (Centralized vs distributed database(s), checksum for spelling mistakes, financial repercussions, etc.)
That's up to the locals. They have the right to insist you should care first about local arrangements before interacting with them.
I could understand it if the existing system were broken, but it doesn't seem to be. From what I can read, it seems to work, presumably people do get their mail and packages.
Or work around local arrangements using lat/long or plus codes or whatever naming scheme delivery companies will choose to use for your town...
Democracy (or any form of government) wouldn't last long if you couldn't work around regulations.
People have a right to share true information legitimately acquired without the constraints of governments or mobs in other jurisdictions.
Locals can't prevent foreigners from giving directions to their library or the best restaurant. Those are just facts of the world. Visitors are welcome to go discover a town then leave and tell their friends about it.
Then an addressing system is just a shorthand for that locational information. It's just a hash function or a lookup table. No one has a right to prevent others from using data structures to organize their thoughts.
All rights granted to some impose negative obligations on others. Those implied negative obligations should not conflict with other rights. Rights should promote the healthy functioning of society. Also, rights should promote freedom more than restriction.
A right to prevent others from discussing addresses without permission of locals conflicts with other rights, doesn't promote the healthy functioning of society, and creates far more restrictions than freedoms. I don't think it's a good right.
Happens not so often. But it does happen that the coordinates of a building don't stay fixed:
If you want something attached to your identity not your location, that's what names are for. Just don't be surprised people can't find where you are if you give them your name instead of location.
I say "western methods" because there are some exceptions to this rule is countries with high numbers of nomadic tribes.
House numbering logic wildly differs between countries. In Tokyo, houses are numbered in the order in which they are constructed. I would expect a moved house therefore to keep its number.
London (or even the UK as a whole?) also has a rather random assignment of house numbers even though the natives will claim its completely logical.
Isn't that the case for most countries?
> I would expect a moved house therefore to keep its number.
Do you have any reason for this expectation? I ask because your comment here sounds very speculative judging by the way it has been written.
> London (or even the UK as a whole?) also has a rather random assignment of house numbers even though the natives will claim its completely logical.
It's only random where houses haven't been built sequentially down the road. Much like the Tokyo example you gave.
In any case, you're addressing the point about house numbers where as I was discussing postal codes. The two differ. House numbers are an exact designation for your property; be it a house, flat, or even mobile home on a plot of land. Post codes (zip codes, etc) are a region of land which would typically serve a cluster of homes. While you code move a property and decide to keep the same house name (though it would be massively confusing if you kept the same house number if you moved it to another street - so I suspect some authority or other would step in and say you cannot do that), you cannot keep the same post code.
To use a comparison, it's a bit like moving your house out of London and into Tokyo but still putting London, England on your addresses and expecting post to get delivered to the right place. While you can move your house, you cannot move London nor England with it. And the same is true for postal / zip codes - in fact more so because you can in theory put garbage down as your address just so long as you get the house number/name and the post code right.
>Isn't that the case for most countries?
I don't think so.. as far as I can (subjectively) tell, it's more common to set up a logical system. Another poster mentioned the Finnish system, where the number reflects the physical distance from the start of the road (123 = 1230 meters). Another common scheme is to use even numbers on one side of the road, and odd numbers on the other side, and numbering the houses sequentially, leaving gaps for not-yet built houses. In my street, for example, there's a large gap in the numbering because the next building is nearly a hundred meters away. On the occasional 'two buildings squeezed into one spot' just add A and B (and C and so on) as needed. And around here the numbering always start from the most southern part of the road or street (and if you ask "what about roads going exactly east-west", then a) I don't know, and b) It's really hard to find a roading that goes exactly east-west. I suspect, however, that there's a system for that as well - "if in doubt, start from east" or something).
That's what we do in the UK as well (barring the gaps in the numbering) but for the most part it still ends up following the logic of "houses numbered in the order in which they are constructed" because you either need to know that there should be a gap (in which case the estimated build date is close enough to the rest of the street's build that you might as well consider it one lump development) or else you end up with letter suffixes or unordered numbering (which is what often ends up in the UK as roads get further developed decades after they were first built).
Ultimately though, there is no law in the UK about how houses should be numbered so as much as there are conventions, it's up to the housing development to apply them. However might differ in other countries which might have stricter legislation about naming houses?
Regarding the south->north scheme, I'd be interested to know what the streets are like in places that follow that convention. In the UK our roads are like a big bowl of spaghetti with even new builds wiggling around and even looping back on themselves (the road I live on is crescent-shaped). But where you have straighter roads, I could imagine a numbering scheme based on the direction of the road might work pretty well.
Cul-de-sacs number clockwise consecutively rather than following one side odd, other even.
Some of the strange situations where it breaks stem from WW2 bomb damage breaking a road in two, or removing a dozen houses etc.
Most councils do regulate street names and numbering, and they seem broadly in agreement. No idea of legislation or origin of the convention, but seems nationwide.
Example - chosen as it was one of the longer ones search popped up: https://www.swale.gov.uk/street-naming-policy/
Section 64 and 65 talk about house numbers from a display presentation perspective but only go so far as saying "houses with such numbers as the commissioners approve of" but I cannot locate where it describes what systems are approved by commissioners.
Are you able to guide me to the part which does describe what the "approved" system is? I'm rather curious to read it because what I've seen and read to date has lead to to believe it's really more of an agreed convention than anything legislative so very interested to read what the actual rules are.
Not really, there are plenty of businesses that have big enough buildings that they have a single postal code to themselves.
Indeed but doesn't contradict my point because it's still just a location. The only difference is in your example it's home to a singular business rather than multiple residential buildings.
As an aside, I've worked in some buildings that actually had multiple post codes. This is common with large government buildings such as County / City Halls.
Why wouldn't the locals want street names?
So… they've reinvented japanese block-based addressing except shittier all around, and proprietary?
I used to deliver pizzas. If she'd ordered one, it wouldn't have arrived. "Joes Cottage, Long Lane", is a completely pointless address, it forces the person attempting to find it to investigate on average 50% of the houses on Long Lane. Given that only about 1 in 10 hours had a number visible at night from the car - especially in the rain - this would be pretty much impossible to do.
I have relatives who live in Donegal, Ireland. They don't even have house names, just their personal name and a townland.
When post sorting & delivery was run in the town, by generational postmen who grew up there, everything was fine. They knew that Patrick R Flaherty was in the white house and Paddy J Flaherty was in the stone one.
Now the deliveries are by rotating agency workers driving a post van over from Donegal Town. It's chaos.
Ha, yeah same with my relatives in Mayo. When sending wedding invites, my English (now) wife was so confused by it all. Particularly so when Mr/Mrs <FAMILY_NAME>, <TOWNLAND>, Mayo would be applicable to a lot of people so first names are a must :)
Having just purchased a house in rural Offaly where several houses have the exact same address (I guess the post person was supposed to know everyone's name?) Eircode is really helpful for disambiguation.
Eircodes are unique per delivery point, whereas 35% of addresses were (pre-Eircode) non-unique.
This caused problems for, e.g.:
(1) Delivery people, except the state postal provider (An Post). As you rightly said, An Post kept a note at the local post office (not centralised) of who lives where. For anyone else (e.g. FedEx) it would be literally impossible to tell where to deliver an item, if the address is non-unique.
(2) Ambulances not able to find the correct house.
(3) More complicated provisioning for, e.g., fibre broadband - how do you avoid incorrectly disconnecting a neighbour, if the neighbour has literally the same address as your customer?
Now, an Eircode is sufficient in itself to uniquely identify the delivery point.
To see this in action, go to Google Maps and put in an Eircode, e.g., "D02 AF30 Ireland".
Or go to https://www.eircode.ie/ and put in an Eircode, and the rest of the address will be shown.
But to go the other way (from address to Eircode) literally requires, for non-unique addresses, the person to click on the correct property on a map.
The other way round should always work though, i.e., if you give Google Maps the Eircode then it should put the location marker in exactly the right place every time.
Given that more people are using google maps than finder.eircode.ie we might wind up with Google determining truth here.
The standard street names + numbers scheme works well, it obviously works better than their "numbers only" scheme, it should be adopted.
There are plenty of cities that have numbered streets, in order.
Some cities have named "mega-blocks" as a third grouping element beyond the street/number and finer grained than the usual neighborhood name, so you have to memorize less stuff.
In short, there are plenty of schemes that give way better result. If you have to look up on a street-name database to find an address, there is little to gain compared with a house-number database.
Doesn't mean they're doing what's actually best for themselves.
> There are some house numbers that are about 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) apart,
Sounds like a pain to navigate.
Of course, your grandmother was relying on the kindness of the postal service in this case. The postie could simply have decided it to return it as misaddressed.
This is an inconvenience to themselves - the courier is just providing them with a service that is impaired by the addressing system. It is by definition a good reason why they should replace the error-prone system.
Let me ask you - in your job, if someone suggests a change that will improve how things work, would you be against it because the bad way of doing things is party of the business's identity? It's nonsense, really isn't it.
So, you're already rewriting everything in Rust, then?
Painting and other art forms are also huge inconveniences. They are neither edible nor do they provide shelter.
Definitely don’t forget letting people speak their native languages. The incredible economic friction of language barriers has cost the world billions in duplicated efforts.
Complete false equivalence. If you think the identity of a business is anything like as important as someone's home, then I'm just sorry for you.
Anyway maps.google.com works even better so how does any courier company get to the wrong address?
I am surprised that Germany of all places doesn't have a centrally planned and enforced addressing scheme like the UK post code or the USA's zip code
They do have postcodes in Germany, though - the gist of this story was that the lack of street names (identifying houses only by their (not quite sequential) numbers.)) caused delivery services much grief.
Basically not enough granularity on the micro level - they know what town you're in, but finding the house you reside in is cumbersome.
A see a simple solution to the problem: pass a national law that towns can be like this if they want, but if they don't adopt the national addressing system, then delivery services (and companies sending goods that way) are completely free of all liability if anyone in that town complains about packages being late, mis-delivered, or not delivered at all. People in the town won't be able to pursue the delivery company or the merchant for the money they spent on the package which never arrived.
With a law like that in place, the town would probably very quickly change their addressing system.
But it isn't. Google Maps, and others, find the locations perfectly. There in fact is not a problem that needs to be solved.
It is cumbersome to deliver packages to, say, a hundred houses in this town, where every day, the houses with a scheduled delivery varies.
If you are to load up your delivery vehicle efficiently, you need to have some idea as to the order the packages will be delivered in; this is made harder by the lackadaisical numbering and lack of street names.
No you don't. That's what route planning software is for. Trying to do it in your head is a waste of your time when a computer can do it faster and more reliably.
For instance https://www.mapquest.com/routeplanner. It only covers the US but it doesn't look as though there would be any difficulty extending it to other countries.
And this one, https://planner.myrouteonline.com/route-planner/1752/#, works perfectly in Hilgermissen and has no trouble finding the houses and finding the optimal route.
If this was true, Germany surely had abandoned the compulsory resident register (Meldepflicht) introduced by the Nazis.
Welcome to a lot of reservations in the US. It always ticked me off when some company would say "we don't ship to PO Boxes" since that's all we had. Even all the 911 stuff didn't change that. I ended up getting folks to ship UPS and putting "House 311 Behind the School" for my address. Probably why UPS is used so much and FedEx seams to hate us to the point of rudeness.
The numbers should be wholly random.
Also the genders (sons - male) and wife (female) reveals too much, should be replaced with gender neutral forms.
There are things we do allow but I think we should discuss ways too eliminate: like nimbyism and efforts to increase property taxes without fear of a population drain to unscrupulous counties/states that are waiting to pounce. I'd argue that for a resident in California, it doesn't matter when jobs go away whether it goes to China PR or to Texas if the jobs go away because of a more LAX, fast and loose labor laws or just simply corporate welfare. I don't have any answers but there are some things beyond the basics of life and liberty of individuals who belong to a protected class. Is there a good solution to this "race to the bottom" (other than a Central world government)?
However I've seen the Japanese system and that works only because there are maps everywhere telling where to find each house and every house has a nice white lettering on blue plaque in exactly the same style so it is easy to spot. Also people stick their names on letterbox/house so you can be sure. The only problem is you have to get on the right street and in roughly the right area which makes for complicated directions for the taxi driver, but for post/courier deliveries it works well. [Mind you a Japanese GPS will do addresses, but for some reason a party of foreigners seemed to cause it not to work with some drivers, no problem I brought my own GPS and can give directions!]
The article doesn't say if there are maps available, if they are then fine, otherwise I'd vote for street names. Not sure if having a random house number (German) instead of a road name (my former situation) is better or worse.
OpenStreetMap beats everything else.
I still want to write this up in a blog post with visual examples, and I'd like to redo the test (for comparison) with random coordinates biased by population centres (does anyone know how to generate those?). I'm curious if that paints a different picture. But purely geographically, this de facto standard isn't so great if you look beyond the western world.
But also, any attempt at objective weighting like this is going to pick a single winner, but it's not the case that everyone is better off using the same mapping service, since you mostly want coverage for the places you travel to and that's different for each person.
Hosting is not free and even open source apps like OsmAnd limit the number of downloads unless you buy the app. It's also still a big challenge to present the data nicely and make a nice user interface. There will definitely still be opportunities for competition and profit, even if all data is open. So hopefully, one day, everyone is better off by having a single, complete map available to use for anyone :)
Related: use caution with Google Maps in Austria. Here e.g. it suggests you to go through a steep mountain road (in current weather it's likely not passable without chains) instead of taking a normal street: http://imgur.com/a/If4aMI7
Nowadays, everyone has maps on their phone so it's really not an issue any more.
I worked extra some weekends doing delivery, and in the age before good maps and smartphones, this usually meant driving to one random house in the village and asking where house 123 is.
If the road is public, it should have at least a number. Almost all public roads have names, and many have two (as some parts of the country are bi-lingual -- it makes address validation quite interesting).
And yes, it's a bit tricky to navigate. Even for locals, navigation tools or not. It's usually a lot of talking on the phone while (sometimes frantically) driving around, and trying to figure out where the nearest landmark is.
As for myself I usually go around by bicycle, and I'm not online when out of wi-fi range. I can use an offline map, and if I know where to go I can get there. But it's infinitely easier to navigate in my home country because of street names+numbers (particularly when there's some system to the street names - a flower theme in this area, a maritime theme in another area). Because I don't need a satnav, or a map, or anything. I just go there. My wife (Japanese) is still a bit surprised about that.
Oh, and the postal service now demands street names everywhere, so the last decade or so has filled in street names wherever there weren't any before.
Anyway, I suspect this is more a vote against change, than a vote against the concept of street names.
I really don't see it as a problem: the local postman knows every house, and these days with GPS the postal code gets delivery drivers within a few yards without a problem. In fact, a post code and flat/house number or name is technically enough to identify any property.
No, they struggle because their employers are treating them like shit. It's not like they never struggle unless there's no street names and consecutive house numbers. I often take packages for my neighbours when they're not home and I am, and when the couriers express their heartfelt gratitude I kinda feel bad, the whole situation is fucked up. And where I live, people have no issues finding a house, but every second counts, and adds up to make the difference between a shitty day at a shitty job, and a hellish day at a hellish job. It stinks.
So I would vote against street names, too, just on the basis of not giving an inch to pretending street names are the issue. Pay people by the hour for doing their job correctly, and then let it take as long as it takes, then we can talk.
You already shouldn’t assume streets to have names and also accept arbitrary strings.
If you really need something reliable (i.e. it needs to be accepted by an external authority or you will actually deliver goods) you can ask the user for a validated adress from an official source.