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Thread: ideas about possible expansion of zips.dat and LOCATION labels

  1. #1
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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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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 Attached Files

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    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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    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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    Quote 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.


    Quote 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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    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.
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