[UK] City names

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[UK] City names

Postby paulbo » Tue Jan 05, 2010 9:51 pm

Can someone offer some guidance as to what I should use as a City name for roads in London?

As background, London is both a city, and a (very large) area which is broken down into suburbs. I'm sure I read somewhere that the current thinking was to leave the city as London for all roads, but that kind of breaks when we have a whole list of streets (High Street, for example) which might exist 10+ times in the London area. Should I use town names (Harrow, South Harrow, Wealdstone, Harrow on the Hill, as examples from my local area), or London Borough names (Harrow being also a borough name as well as a town name, would cover all the above examples).

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Paul
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Re: [UK] City names

Postby zzyzxuk » Wed Jan 06, 2010 4:06 pm

This is a really tricky one, with several possible solutions - all with pros and cons.

I originally thought to show the borough as the "city name" - and initially started using "Kingston" for all street names, and not using the neighbourhood names like "New Malden" or "Tolworth". However, I started to think that most locals are going to think they live in "Tolworth" and use that when looking up street names rather than the borough name, which most of us don't really use that much.

However in some neighbourhoods, you can be even more granular. For example, you could say you lived in Islington - or you could break it up even further and say you lived at the Angel, or in "Stoke Newington" - both of which are in Islington. Again, when I used to live in Stoke Newington - I rarely said I lived in Islington.

Ideally I think we should try to follow the principle of letting locals define their city as they themselves call it, but people will have different ideas of what their neighbourhood should be called. This is especially true of the neighbourhoods where people identify their address more in terms of the closest tube station than the actual district name.

Taking the argument all the way to the extreme - if -any - part of London should be called "London" - you'd think it's the inner-core - and I doubt anyone's going to quibble about using "London" for roads in The City. But should we use "Soho" instead of "London"? "Mayfair"? "Westminster"?

As it's important to have some agreement/consensus I'll suggest the following possibilities, but I think we should wait to hear from more Londoners before setting one in concrete...

1.) We could use postcodes as the delineator - all N, NW, SW, SE and E postcodes are London. Downside: lots of neighbourhoods that you'd think would have their own identiers won't.

2.) We could use some sort of geographic delinerator - everything inside the inner ring is "London", or going even bigger, "ALL London boroughs are "London")

This still leaves open the question: how do we decide what to call the areas that AREN'T "London" that I alluded to at the start of this post...

You'll notice that I generally have been leaving the city field blank in hopes that a solution would become apparently later on, and I'd go back later and change it. A clear solution hasn't yet occurred to me though. :(

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Re: [UK] City names

Postby paulbo » Wed Jan 06, 2010 9:01 pm

Some good ideas, and I agree we need to wait for more input from other Londoners.

I don't think using the postcodes would be too helpful, unless you lived in - or knew - London, as it doesn't clearly identify where any boundary is. So if I was trying to get to High Street in, for example, Battersea, would I want High Street in London SW or High Street London SE? Or - even more of a nightmare - High Street in Bromley? It's a London Borough, but is in Kent. Aaargh!

My vote is to use the largest acceptable town name that works: it still has the problem with differentiation (High Street Harrow vs High Street Wealdstone, for example), or apply a common sense rule as the Area Managers go through it, and then we change it later if it doesn't work.

Or, how about the Royal Mail based 'post town' concept, which might work out to be a fairly standard approach?

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Paul
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Re: [UK] City names

Postby zzyzxuk » Sun Jan 10, 2010 8:55 am

OK - I think I have a solution, but it will need both your input, and a little technical help from Waze.

If you all like it, I can ask the Waze guys if they'll help us with it - I think they're able to, and as it's a pretty big problem for us in the UK, it'll be worth their time to do it...

Here's what I propose:

Currently, we have three fields in the database that we use to identify a street, in this format:

Country: United Kingdom
City: London, United Kingdom
Street: Whitehall

Or, to use a more relevant example:

Country: United Kingdom
City: Washington, United Kingdom
Street: High Street

Now, the problem is that we all want to have an additional layer of place name. For example, there are TWO cities called Washington in the UK, one in W Sussex, the other in Tyne & Wear.

I propose that we convert to a system where we put more information in the 'City' field like so:

Country: United Kingdom
City: Washington, W Sussex
Street: High Street

or

Country: United Kingdom
City: Washington, Tyne and Wear
Street: High Street

This is very similar to how Waze has addressed this problem in the USA where (famously) there are a large number of cities called Springfield, for example. They include the "State" in their city name field. So, we will include "County" in our name field.

For this to work, we'll need to use a standardised list of counties (no historical counties pleaes!), and I also propose we use abbreviations such as CAMBS, etc.

This will solve the problem of how to do London too - we can use borough names, or other neighbourhood names, and still show that it's London by using London as the county name:

Country: United Kingdom
City: Stratford, London
Street: High Street

So, before we move on this, how many of you support this idea?

If there's some general agreement, we'd then need to agree a standard for entering county names.

Then finally, we'd need to ask Waze to do a "global search and replace", by providing them with a list of cities names that need globally changing, e.g., Surbiton, would need to become Surbiton, Surrey. I think if we did the grunt work for them of compliling a list of what needs to be replaced, they might be more willing to do this,... but I do think that this is practically essential to do.

It's how Garmin and Tomtom have done -their- address databases, IIRC, and in the UK is almost essential.

Tell me what you think.

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Re: [UK] City names

Postby zzyzxuk » Sun Jan 10, 2010 9:15 am

To further things along, I'll suggest the following list of counties to be used in the city field: Feel free to suggest changes - it's only a starting point in the discussion. Note I've also not done the Welsh or Scottish counties, as I thought the locals might know them better than me. <G>

Suggested English county names/abbreviations:
Beds
Berks
Bucks
Cambs
Cheshire
Cleveland
Cornwall
Co Durham
Cumbria
Derbyshire
Devon
Dorset
E Sussex
Essex
Glos
Hants
Herefordshire
Herts
IOW
Kent
Lancs
Leics
Lincs
London
Merseyside
Middx
Norfolk
N Yorks
Northants
Northd
Notts
Oxon
Rutland
Shrops
Somerset
S Yorks
Staffs
Suffolk
Surrey
Tyne & Wear
Warks
W Mids
W Sussex
W Yorks
Wilts
Worcs
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Re: [UK] City names

Postby paulbo » Sun Jan 10, 2010 12:38 pm

That sounds good to me.

The only bit I'm not clear on is, for example, Bromley. It's in Kent, but is also the 'London Borough of Bromley' (I was going to use Harrow as my example, but despite us having lost Middlesex years ago, it just refuses to go away...!).

Does 'Bromley, London' or 'Bromley, Kent' sound right? We need to come up with a way to address those odd ones (and I'm not too sure how many there are like it).

Finally, with the idea of asking Waze to do a search-n-replace, maybe it would be a good idea for us to get a list out of them of towns/cities, so that we - the locals - choose the new name, and provide that back to them. That would take ever more of the effort of them, and help ensure we get exactly what we want in there.

Oh, the country list - is that something definitive you've grabbed from somewhere?

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Paul
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Re: [UK] City names

Postby sketch » Sun Jan 10, 2010 6:55 pm

My intuition is to suggest only using the county name for cities that share that name (and in the London scenario, of course), preventing clutter. However, ultimately I think your plan could work quite nicely, especially if the Waze guys decide to give UKers a seperate "County" field... (hint, hint! ;) ) That way the data could be automatically parsed and split into the two fields whenever they exist.
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Re: [UK] City names

Postby stevious » Sun Jan 10, 2010 7:16 pm

I like the idea of the comma separation.

As you say its a bit more complicated for London where postal addresses differ from the actual county. I don't think we should label anything Middlesex as it doesn't exist. However Kent and Essex are a different matter. I'd favour leaving it as the postal town as I think that is more likely what people will search for. If I was going to Hornchurch, I would probably try Essex first, the same with Bromley and Kent
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Re: [UK] City names

Postby zzyzxuk » Sun Jan 10, 2010 9:37 pm

paulbo wrote:That sounds good to me.

The only bit I'm not clear on is, for example, Bromley. It's in Kent, but is also the 'London Borough of Bromley'


I'd vote for Bromley, Kent, as that's how the locals know it. Same for Surbiton, Surrey.

Finally, with the idea of asking Waze to do a search-n-replace, maybe it would be a good idea for us to get a list out of them of towns/cities, so that we - the locals - choose the new name, and provide that back to them. That would take ever more of the effort of them, and help ensure we get exactly what we want in there.


Agreed. Happy to coordinate that if we collectively decide to do this.

Oh, the country list - is that something definitive you've grabbed from somewhere?
Yeah - wikipedia, as definitive as that is.
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Re: [UK] City names

Postby zzyzxuk » Sun Jan 10, 2010 9:39 pm

sketch wrote:My intuition is to suggest only using the county name for cities that share that name (and in the London scenario, of course), preventing clutter. However, ultimately I think your plan could work quite nicely, especially if the Waze guys decide to give UKers a seperate "County" field... (hint, hint! ;) ) That way the data could be automatically parsed and split into the two fields whenever they exist.


Agreed - the ideal solution would be a separate field for "County", in the same way as US users have a field for "State".

The Germans are almost certainly going to want a field for "Lander", and the French will want one for "Department".

Waze team - do you want to weigh in on this???
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