[APG Public List] [APG Members] place names

John Yates john at jytangledweb.org
Sat Oct 30 21:41:01 MDT 2010

To my satisfaction, the context of place name and its unique
digital location (that can be described by GPS coordinates,
as well as other ways) is clear.

If I report GPS coordinates of a grave site, I know it is
theoretically a pin point location.

If I measure GPS coordinates of a city, I know it is only a
pin point site contained within that city.

Both, of course, could be subject to a "surety" value.
Joe Smith may gain a reputation for "bad" data, while
Jane Doe may be a "trusted" source.

Theoretically, you can verify any that you don't choose
to trust. Reputations can be made or lost depending on
follow up publications from those who do the checking.
(kind of like peer reviewed scientific journal publication.
a network of trust is developed. And faked data generally
gets discovered, as cold fusion data 20 some years ago,
and faked experiments that no one can verify,... one
has to build a web of trust, we can't learn everything
in science first hand).

And over the course of human existence, the spatial part
of the space time continuum has not changed except for
catastrophic events over the time of human existence.
And catastrophic events can be detailed by their time
and extent.

And I would relegate GPS coordinate use for areas to be
the realm of cartographers and not GPS devices.
An area can be accurately drawn on a map, and equations
could be developed in terms of
latitude and longitude (GPS) traversals, like a surveyor's
traversals (or whatever they call them) but that would
be difficult to write down in a source. It would perhaps
be better simply to source a map with a shaded boundary of
the area of interest. If the map has latitude and longitude
marked on it. This would not only be a digital and visual
description of the area, it would also completely describe
the area.

The example source I wrote was for a specific site,
not an area. I would not use a GPS device or its boundary
coordinates to describe a typical area. It would be too
"messy" unless its boundaries were all parallel to latitude
and longitude lines.

The utility of a GPS device is in documenting a rather
precise location on the face of the Earth so that others
can find it.


On 10/30/2010 5:36 PM, linda at fpr.com wrote:
> John wrote:
>> The attractiveness of using GPS coordinates is that they are constant
>> (assuming it was reliably obtained). A place name is very important and
>> not to be discarded if one *also* uses the GPS coordinates of it. But as
>> many times the name of the place is changed by changing, evolving, or
>> revisionist history, the GPS coordinates of it will never change. And
>> it becomes a trivial matter to locate it on a map or in person, and to
>> convey that information precisely and easily to another person. All
>> with just two simple numbers. Scientists love it, at least. ;-)
> John,
> In their ideal, GPS or latitude&longitude coordinates reference points
> not areas.   Many places are areas not points.  One  might use multiple
> coordinate sets to correspond to a specific land area, but that is not
> "two simple numbers."
> I do not find the idea of using GPS coordinates with varying degrees of
> precision (number of digits) corresponding to square or rectangular
> areas to be a very satisfactory representation for land areas that, for
> the most part, do not fit such geometric shapes.   Perhaps for areas in
> the public land survey system (or similar) it might be useful enough of
> the time, but not for those where metes&  bounds were customarily used.
> It seems contrived and very inexact.   Maps seem much more useful to me
> for this purpose.
> How exactly would one associate a GPS coordinate set with a place name,
> so that it complies with your statement that while "the name of the
> place is changed by changing, evolving, or revisionist history, the GPS
> coordinates of it will never change."   When you wrote "the GPS
> coordinates of it will never change,"  what is the "it" ?
> Consider the following cases:
> - same place name, boundaries change     ?same coordinate set ?
> - same boundaries, different place name   ? same coordinate set ?
> - different types of place name organization, sometime nested, sometimes
> independent (county, town, township, parish, street address, land
> parcel, school district, etc)      How does one ensure that there is a
> unique one-to-one mapping of coordinate set to place name throughout
> time?
> I would dearly love to have a couple of numbers, even three or four,
> which would accomplish what you describe.   It would make automatically
> integrating information associated with places so much easier.  But I
> don't see how GPS coordinates accomplish that goal.
> I can imagine that it would be very useful if *someone* went to the
> trouble to accurately associate all the possible place names (past&
> present) with each latitude&longitude coordinate set, so that if I had a
> coordinate set, I could look-up possible place names for a given point
> in time.  That would be very handy indeed and would motivate me to focus
> more on GPS coordinates and the like.
> Linda
> ____________
> Linda Gardner
> Massachusetts

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