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ideas about possible expansion of zips.dat and LOCATION labels

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  • ideas about possible expansion of zips.dat and LOCATION labels

    I've been pondering on the current location labels i added to RR some time ago. They seem to be doing the job for us here in the states... but i wonder just how accurate the data is. I know there are areas in my highly populated metro that just arent accurate at all.. so i was thinking about implementing an ADD/EDIT plugin for the zips.dat file. Basically it would give you the ability from within RR to change the current data for COUNTY/STATE/CITY for your current gps lat/lon. While thinking about this i came up with a potential way for those of us who use the labels to automatically upload an edited zips.dat to a centralized server which my plugin would check the datestamp and file size on. If the data is more up to date than your local zips.dat file the plugin would download the updated file. Because the read the zips.dat file completely on the specified interval the data would corrected without an RR reboot or anything. I figure doing it this way we can allow a series of people to update the information instead of just depending on ourselves to do it.

    So how does this sound? Sucks (kinda) that i'd have to make it an extension plugin but there's really no other option at this point.
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  • #2
    There are 360 integer lines of Longitude, 180 of latitude.
    Including 60 minutes, 60 seconds for each integer then there are:

    360 x 60 x 60 x 180 x 60 x 60 = ~840 Billion points identifiable by Degrees/Minutes/Seconds lat & long.

    So if each of the 80,000 mp3car forum members enters 10 million points each we'll have perfect file.. within a few inches. Ok we can probably cut out the oceans.. So maybe only enter 3 Million each.

    But seriously.... maybe there is a public source for some lat/long/city/state data? (obviously at a less detailed level than that above) I have access to some from my work, but can't share it legally....

    I like your idea Sonic... I will poke around to see if there's a place to get data

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    • #3
      The file isnt based on EVERY lat and long... it doesnt need to be nearly that exact. The way the labels work is you take ur current lat and lon and compare the distance between the lat/lon ranges in the .dat file. Closest one wins. And we are using a public source. zips.dat is pulled from the united states postal service website. U'd think it'd be a bit more accurate based on that lol.
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      • #4
        I was joking about all the points.... I work with the USPS data regularly so I know how funky it can be, but I was thinking that there must be a relatively finite set of points that would get us more accurate -- which is what you are proposing.

        Tried a file that I had from work, but couldn't get it working right. I didn't look at the code enough to see what it was expecting. My file only has Lat/Long out to 4 "decimal" places so maybe that was the problem... looking at it now I had some duplicate lat/long with different names so maybe that caused a problem.

        example
        "34229","+27.1892","-82.4835","OSPREY","FL","SARASOTA","STANDARD"
        "34231","+27.2669","-82.5146","SARASOTA","FL","SARASOTA","STANDARD"

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        • #5
          Here's some more detailed US data -- I still like the server idea since it would make this functional world-wide.

          http://geonames.usgs.gov/domestic/download_data.htm

          One file has lat/lon of geographic features which seems to be more detailed than city/town. Not sure what that means for a city though. When I get some time I'll mess with these to see if it could help enhance what's available from the zip data.

          A more promising source -- worldwide:
          http://www.geonames.org/

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          • #6
            Ok one more response here.. that latest source looks pretty interesting....it has really detailed data. I picked a random lat/lon in NYC and got 135 entries within a half mile.

            Maybe we could work with this source to bring up this kind of data? The site hosts data from a lot of countries..... could still supplement with a central server, but this would be a big head start.

            Here's a quick sample
            Attached Files

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            • #7
              Sonic,

              I don't know if you remember but two years or so ago somebody (sorry, I forget who) did a substantial upgrade to the default zips.dat file to include many, many more zip codes. This file is about 8mb rather than the 1.5mb or so file that many people are using. I recall that this was done without a lot of fanfare so people don't know about it. I have found the bigger file to be surprisingly accurate. In fact, a couple of weeks ago I took a road trip from VA to Iowa and was amazed at how accurately the city and county were tracked by RR. It will never be perfect, of course, but it's as good as I'll ever want. Anyway, I'm curious whether you're using the big or small zips.dat. If you're using the small one I'll try to figure out a way to get you the big one to try.

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              • #8
                I messed around with the data I found, added back in the closest zip code and city for where I live. Basically shows you "points of interest" along the way. There's a really diverse set of elements.. buildings, hotels, brooks, parks, etc. It's easy to filter those by category. I hacked it into sonic's format --- put City into the County field and the local GPS point of interest in the City field. Anyone interested? I'll take it further...

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by kbreeden View Post
                  Sonic,

                  I don't know if you remember but two years or so ago somebody (sorry, I forget who) did a substantial upgrade to the default zips.dat file to include many, many more zip codes. This file is about 8mb rather than the 1.5mb or so file that many people are using. I recall that this was done without a lot of fanfare so people don't know about it. I have found the bigger file to be surprisingly accurate. In fact, a couple of weeks ago I took a road trip from VA to Iowa and was amazed at how accurately the city and county were tracked by RR. It will never be perfect, of course, but it's as good as I'll ever want. Anyway, I'm curious whether you're using the big or small zips.dat. If you're using the small one I'll try to figure out a way to get you the big one to try.
                  I'm using that data now.. it was Enforcer who updated the file. But there are still issues. I work in the heart of fairfax but it shows me in alexandria while i'm at work. I think using that file and being able to improve it on the fly will make it as perfect as it can get.


                  Originally posted by Dave323Ci View Post
                  I messed around with the data I found, added back in the closest zip code and city for where I live. Basically shows you "points of interest" along the way. There's a really diverse set of elements.. buildings, hotels, brooks, parks, etc. It's easy to filter those by category. I hacked it into sonic's format --- put City into the County field and the local GPS point of interest in the City field. Anyone interested? I'll take it further...
                  I'll be honest i got rather busy this week and i havent taking a close look at the updated data. Once i get back from vacation i'll take a look at it to compare it to the updated zips.dat and see where we can go from there. Your data sounds promising though.
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                  • #10
                    Here's a cut from 25 mile radius of a random point in the middle of Fairfax. Also limited to just VA locations. The usual city column is "point of interest" and the usual "county" column is city. Probably should have swapped those now that i think of it.. anyhow.. see what you think. Not sure about quality or completeness. The last column is a category that could be displayed or used to filter.
                    Attached Files

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                    • #11
                      this looks INTERESTING. I'm gonna temporarily use this data over the next 24 hours or so and see if its better than the zips.dat we currently have. Will post results.
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                      • #12
                        Been running with this new data source for a while. I went back and made some updates -- dropped out churches, cemeteries and hotels, added back in the whole zip code file. I'll see what the revisions do... as it was most of the time all I got was local churches and hotels, sorta interesting but I would rather see other information. Seems pretty accurate so far though... What it isn't is complete.... which goes back to your original idea sonic -- of creating a method to add in data. The grouping that comes with this data gave me an idea --- could include a pick list/ text file? Some kind of configurable input that would allow you to filter the data groupings you want to include (or exclude). I'd write the code, but don't want to lose all the changes that Mitch made to XM/HD... Maybe we can work something out. Hopefully RR will get re-integrated soon.

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                        • #13
                          great ideas thanks
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                          • #14
                            the data mentioned above is roughly 70 megs. Thats quite a drag on the system if you have it set to fire the locate command every 60 seconds.

                            So on a typical 2 hour drive, you are reading 8.4 Gigs from the hard drive.... This should chew up the hard drive pretty fast, as well as probably really slowing the system down a bit.

                            The compilation of new sources to make the zips.dat more accurate, was not done by enforcer. Wiredwrx put it together, and posted it in the DigitalFX 2.0 thread. You can find it here in post #1945

                            In post #1960 BlueZX3 creates separate files for each state. This way you can just copy and paste whatever ones you want into the zips.dat file. This can really speed it up when it accesses as it only reads a couple states you put together that you drive frequently, and not all 8 megs with 50 states plus Puerto Rico.

                            Then in post 1972 meisner wrote a script to take the individual state.dat files and create a zips.dat file of the states that you want.

                            The in post 1976 meisner created a GUI for the zips.dat builder. Check the states you want, click go, and it creates a zips.dat with the info from the selected states.


                            In post 1963 Sonic makes mention of movie times (Done since that posting) and local news headlines.... I would like to the see the news one
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                            • #15
                              The raw data may well be 70Mb... but it's easy to filter it down considerably. I've found the detailed points it provides pretty interesting--it's pretty rare that I don't already know what town and/or county I am in. Also, the same data source has worldwide entries which may be interesting to those outside the US.

                              Your reference points for the zips.dat file is probably pretty helpful.. took me a couple hours of searching the first time to find the right post.

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