Crusty Logic Christianity & Liberty

Are Street Addresses Antiquated?

Well, back from vacation again…

My cell phone has TomTom GPS on it (running in Windows Mobile). This is the same software and maps as the regular TomTom except this one is built in to my cell so it’s always with me. I’ve been using this for some time and it has been a great tool. I travel a fair amount and having a GPS with me all the time is beneficial not only when driving, but also when walking. Before I leave on a trip I can enter destinations in my contacts if they’re not already in there and just select one to have TomTom guide me there.

Occasionally when I put in an address it will be off by a bit, though rarely more than 20 or 30 feet and usually by 1 address number so it just puts me next door. 9 times out of 10 it’s spot on. The biggest problem is with new roads that aren’t yet in the system. This past week though I’ve experienced 2 incidents where it put us over 2 miles from our destination. Both on the island of Kawai in Hawaii, both put us on the correct road, just a long way from where on the road the places were. The first was Gaylord’s restaurant and the second was the Grand Hyatt in Poipu.

So, with these 2 experiences along with other more minor incidents I’m wondering if it’s not time to update our concept of what an address is. Many travelers already us GPS navigation and thousands more begin to every day. Most new phones include GPS receivers as do many new cars.

Businesses and individuals fairly quickly got used to the idea of including email and web addresses on business cards, literature, and websites. Maybe now is the time for everyone to get used to also including GPS coordinates – Latitude and Longitude. Street addresses have worked well for a long time, but new GPS technology allows for a better system.

For instance, the Grand Hyatt in Kauai might be listed as

21.8762 / -159.4397

Or

Lat: 21.8762
Lon: -159.4397

Seems bulky and just a lot of numbers, but if you’ve used a GPS and spent time entering country, city, street, and address # you’ll quickly see the benefit of just entering these numbers. It’s not only easier to enter, but far more accurate. Using GPS coordinates eliminates problems of street numbers or roads being off or of new roads or addresses not yet being entered into the system. Worst case you can see where you are currently, where you want to be, and pick your way through streets to your destination.

The best news is that this is not something that requires any major new technology or requires a standards body to establish a worldwide standard. The standard already exists. Anyone can determine the GPS coordinates for their location in about 30 seconds with any GPS device and then add them to their website.

The millions of us who use GPS will appreciate the effort!

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