# The Naked Scientists Forum

### Author Topic: International Post Code system using Meter Cubes  (Read 1910 times)

#### birdzoom

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##### International Post Code system using Meter Cubes
« on: 11/01/2015 22:36:59 »
I would like to discuss this proposal for for an international post code system using meter cubes numbered (using 22 digits).
http://earth-cubic-spacetimestamp.blogspot.co.uk/ [nofollow]

#### alancalverd

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##### Re: International Post Code system using Meter Cubes
« Reply #1 on: 12/01/2015 00:36:53 »
First off, yes to a single international time stamp! The time at the north pole, south pole, on every ship and aircraft, and everywhere in the universe, is UTC. Why should it be different on the ground in Paris or Sydney? Why should time stand still in Arizona but jump backwards and forwards an hour in California? Mankind long ago gave up using the position of the sun to synchronise his activities, so why not synchronise everyone's watch to something that everyone else recognises? And whilst we are about it, get rid of the absurd American date convention. Right now the ISO time is 20150112:0006:10 everywhere in the universe - most significant digits to the left, as in every other number we write down. End of.

Now as for geolocation, the cubes may be useful for mining engineers but I'm less certain about their value for navigators and postal workers. Most of the important human activity takes place on the surface of the planet and for the most part, the altitude of your origin and destination are of secondary importance. Indeed there is a problem with the cube system: if you are at sea, your location cube will depend on wind and tide as well as latitude and longitude. Adjacent cubes in one dimension will have sequential numbers but not in the other two, so knowing the aircraft ditched at location x will not help me find it if the tide has receded: I need a map telling me the individual and scarcely related numbers of at least 1000 nearby cubes to know where to search in a 10 meter radius.

Fortunately we already have conventional latitude and longitude, or GPS coordinates (degrees and decimals) which provide location on a sphere to better than 10 cm. It's easy to work out rhumb line and great circle distances and bearings if we know these, and they are always sequential. The altitude dimension, which is important for precision landings with airborne GPS, is so variable that every GPS-authorised runway has to be re-surveyed at least annually to make sure that you don't fly into the ground or stall a meter above it (suppose the touchdown point has been resurfaced: 10 cm of concrete is not a lot to a roadmender, but trying to land 10 cm below the surface will break an aeroplane!) and is obviously of no value at all if you are trying to land on a ship.

Knowing the cube number of your front door won't help deliver the mail because the postman arrives at street level which will have a completely unrelated number. He needs to know which button to push in the lift, so he needs floor numbers or flat numbers, not cube identifiers.

So: universal time, good; spatial cube, very limited use - possibly for miners, but they already have their own mapping system.
« Last Edit: 12/01/2015 00:42:13 by alancalverd »

#### CliffordK

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##### Re: International Post Code system using Meter Cubes
« Reply #2 on: 12/01/2015 00:49:12 »
It might work if it was computerized...

But get one digit off, and you letter will go from being delivered across the street to being dumped in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.  In fact, over 2/3 of the Earth is unpopulated, and thus those codes would be wasted.

Also delivery of mail typically follows a node and star pattern.  So, say I wanted to ship something from Eugene, Oregon to South Bend, Indiana, it might go:

My House --> Local Post Office Eugene --> Portland, Oregon --> Seattle --> Chicago --> South Bend --> Local Delivery.

The delivery then is less about the grid, but rather about the route between the nodes.

At least in the USA, the "zip codes" are also oriented in an East/West fashion.  So, codes with first digit 0 will all be on the east coast, 5 will be somewhere in the middle, and 9 will be on the west coast.  I don't know if latitude is also encoded, but it would be easy enough to add.

Zip + 4 has never been fully accepted by the public in the USA, and a lot of mail is sent out without it.  Imagine the public acceptance of a complex system of 20+ digits?????

It would be nice, though, to have some uniformity from country to country.

#### The Naked Scientists Forum

##### Re: International Post Code system using Meter Cubes
« Reply #2 on: 12/01/2015 00:49:12 »