What’s Right with Loc8 Code?

What’s Right with Loc8 Code?

GLE-Folly

What has Loc8 Code got to offer over Eircode?

  • Designed to be simple to use and communicate
  • Lightweight algorithm driven
  • Faster and more secure
  • Self-Service option saves money
  • For everywhere on island of Ireland.
  • Install once NEVER requires updating
  • Ideal for all emergency services/public safety on the island of Ireland
  • Ideal for utility company / local authority infrastructure
  • Ideal for tourism
  • Ideal for temporary events
  • Ideal for wildlife surveying
  • Random versus Sequential versus Nested?
  • Not accurate enough?
  • Giving a postcode to an apartment?
  • Checksum doesn’t work?
  • What if you can’t self service?

Red Herrings

  • Random versus Sequential versus Nested?
  • Not accurate enough?
  • Giving a postcode to an apartment?
  • Checksum doesn’t work?
  • What if you can’t self service?

What has Loc8 Code got to offer over Eircode?

Loc8 Code – Designed to be simple to use and communicate

Loc8 Codes were designed by Mr. Gary Delaney a formal naval service ships officer with a Master’s Degree in Navigation from the University of Nottingham. Mr. Delaney’s career involved day to day navigation of Ireland’s 7 million square km of nautical territory. Since leaving the Defence Forces Mr. Delaney has further honed his navigational skills carrying out precise GPS surveys for industry.  He also works as a Navigation Consultant and expert witness for the State. In short Mr. Delaney understands a lot about navigation & mapping and used his extensive knowledge & experience to design and introduce a consumer friendly navigation and waypoint code known as Loc8 Code.

Loc8 Codes are based upon logical nested co-ordinates ultimately allowing you to define a large area, a small area or an exact point with +/- 6 metre accuracy. It is important to point out that Loc8 Codes are not a sequential code, they are a logically assigned nested code.  This is important as it allows codes to be assigned to new buildings that are built between two existing buildings.

For full accuracy Loc8 Codes use 8 digits with 2 dashes separating the groups of digits.  So for example my business in Rathcoole uses NT4-82-V23 to identify its location. That format of XXX-XX-XXX is important as it allows users and software to positively identify a Loc8 Code. Other codes do not use a structure like this and are likely to be confused with words or even phone numbers.

From the full 8 digit code reduced accuracy version of the code can be used by omitting some of the constituent parts.  So NT4-V23 will identify a locality 100m x 100m while NT4 will identify a zone 3.5km x 3.5km approx. These options would be useful for example for obtaining a delivery quote without having to reveal your full postcode to the shipping company privacy advantage that Eircode cannot match. It could also be useful for taxi dispatchers or emergency service operations to assign resources quickly to a given zone.

One big advantage that Loc8 Codes have over Eircodes is that that the zone and locality codes are logically rather than randomly assigned. This means delivery drivers or emergency service personnel will be able to learn the zone or locality structures that apply to their area of responsibility.  Another big plus over Eircodes is that the full and locality versions of the Loc8 Code include a checker digit that help detect common human errors.  Please note the checker digit is NOT a checksum and therefore does not function like a checksum whereby the checksum would have to change when the code is shortened.  A checker digit is designed with a consumer code in mind, it spots common errors without being unnecessarily complicated.

Having a code that is logical and includes built in safeguards makes it easier to communicate and verify.  Other steps have also been taken to avoid confusion with Northern Ireland postcodes e.g. BT and other common and predictable causes of confusion e.g. w and vv etc.

Loc8 Code – Lightweight algorithm driven

Unlike Eircodes Loc8 Codes do not rely on a database, they rely on a simple yet sophisticated engineered computer algorithm. The code is simple in that it consists of approximately 50 lines of computer code making it very small and lightweight when it comes to integrating Loc8 Codes into software or hardware.  The code is sophisticated in that those 50 lines of code contain all the smart rules and exceptions for consistent generation or mapping of a Loc8 Code.

Any device (computer, mobile phone, GPS system) which contains the Loc8 Code algorithm can calculate the exact location of a Loc8 without an Internet connection and/or database search. This means 100% coverage, 100% of the time without exception. It doesn’t matter if the user is looking up a Loc8 Code on the Blasket islands or in central Dublin, it will just work.  Enter GPS co-ordinates and get a Loc8 Code out, reverse the process and put in a Loc8 Code and get the exact same GPS coordinates back out.

Loc8 Code – Faster and more secure

Because a Loc8 Code can be translated into GPS coordinates without connecting over the Internet it is much quicker in use than Eircode. Consider the case of the emergency services, even if they do have an Internet connection, that connection can take time to connect and may be slow. Vital minutes could be lost. Because Loc8 Codes do not rely on a central database server they are much more secure and there is no single point of failure and generation or mapping is practically instant.

The fact that Loc8 Codes can be generated on-device and without broadband coverage (database access) makes them infinitely more available than Eircodes as planned.  No security issues arise from reverse running the code because there are half a billion possible Loc8 Codes and no way of knowing which of these are actually dwellings.  Reverse engineering of Eircode makes sense to a hacker while doing the same to Loc8 is simply unfeasible.  Loc8 Codes are not a hack, DoS or data poisoning risk unlike like Eircodes. Also an algorithm needs no maintenance and thus suffers no downtime so no need to worry about an SLA.

Loc8 Code – Self Service saves money

Because of the publicly available nature of apps and websites that generate Loc8 Codes these can be used to “self-service” the delivery of Loc8 Codes to early adopters. If it is the intention of the Department of Communication Energy and Natural Resources to notify 2.2 million addresses of their individual postcode then this is likely to cost €2.2 million to deliver when postage and printing are taken into account.  If a sizeable number of these locations were able to self-service the creation of their own postcode this would mean that the savings in postage alone could pay for the acquisition of the portion of Loc8 Code that is not already owned by the state via Enterprise Ireland.

The government could announce an initial self-service phase of the postcode roll-out followed up by a postal rollout at a later date to all those that have not already self-generated a code. Self-service creation of Loc8 Codes is already tried and trusted and has been integrated using ordinance survey house mapping and to date over 100,000 codes have been generated.

Self-service also has the advantage in that it can be applied to non-dwellings such as building sites etc. and reduces bureaucracy and hence running costs for the overall postcode project.  I suspect that self-service will show transparency of code generation and may enhance “buy-in” and adoption by citizens on the ground by offering them enhanced ownership. Exact details of how Loc8 would propose a roll-out available from Loc8 themselves who have plans based on 4 years in market place.

Loc8 Code – For every location on island of Ireland

On a small island such as Ireland it makes sense to roll out a code that can be used in both jurisdictions. This makes it easier for people, businesses and tourists to travel around the island and it also can play a part enhancing emergency services co-operation as there are many occasions, especially in border areas, where fire and ambulance appliances from the south head north and vice versa.

Loc8 Code was designed from the beginning to be an all-Ireland address code. Using a lightweight algorithm based code would impose very low adoption costs for all users north and south.  Because it is algorithm based, northern ireland users simply need to opt-in by creating a self-service code, and there is no expensive database required.

Loc8 Code – Install once NEVER requires updating

Because the algorithm is so small it means that any update for a device such as a GPS or smartphone can actually be quite tiny and measured in kilobytes not megabytes or gigabytes.  So the firmware update file needed to make a GPS compatible with Loc8 Code could potentially be 2 million times smaller than the update for Eircode which is important if your broadband is very slow.

Importantly this firmware update for your GPS or satnav only needs to be carried out ONCE.  Once the GPS is Loc8 aware it stays this way and never needs an update again. Garmin have featured Loc8 code since 2010 with expanding devices supported since then. Compare to Eircode this means consumers, businesses and tourists update ONCE only not every 3 months. Loc8 Code is much easier & cheaper for them to adopt and maintain which is even more important for organisations such as emergency services.

For smartphone users the Point8 App is available now from the iTunes or Android Play store.

Loc8 Code – Ideal for emergency services

A dwelling based postcode is only useful for emergencies that occur in and close to dwellings but there are many accidents that happen away from dwellings such as RTAs, cliff, mountaineering & potholing accidents, farm accidents, forestry accidents, missing persons, light aircraft crashes etc.  Loc8 Code can help in all these situations as ANY location on the Island of Ireland can be given a Loc8 Code.

Getting ambulances or other emergency services to a casualty quickly saves lives but it also saves money and allows organisations to maximise the current resources they have at their disposal.  I think it is well recognised that our emergency services are in crisis due to lack of resources amongst other reasons.  The implementation by the DECNR of a genuinely useful postcode is a low cost way of helping these organisations (NAS, Fire brigade etc.) maximise their efficiency and effectiveness.

In one simple example Irish Water Safety and Local Authorities are already using Loc8 codes to mark ring buoys. If a member of the public notices a damaged or missing ring buoy they can call this in exactly without confusion.

The Gardaí have also approved Loc8 code for use in their squad cars after a rigorous testing process in Templemore. The HSE also use Loc8 Code for Major Emergency Planning.

If you can save lives and money with a quality postcode why would you not?

Loc8 Code – Ideal for utility company / local authority infrastructure

Eircodes are only useful when reporting issues relating to dwellings so for a lot of day to day problems experienced by utility companies or local authorities Eircodes are useless.

Using Loc8 Codes on the other hand it is possible to accurately report a dangerous pothole with 6m accuracy to your local authority, or livestock on a road, or a faulty streetlamp or a gas leak etc. The benefits of Loc8 Code for utility companies and local authorities would be immeasurable, enhancing efficiencies and enhancing safety. It provides one simple streamlined system with no need to re-invent a system every time they need to catalogue outdoor assets.

For major emergencies such as last winter’s storms Loc8 Codes are very useful making it easy to accurately report infrastructure damage and thus leading to quicker location of faults and thus quicker repairs saving time and money.

Loc8 Code – Ideal for transport companies

For the general public Loc8 Codes are ideal for identifying bus stops. For taxi services they would be invaluable for guiding taxies to a customer not located at a dwelling.  And with regard to emergency access to transport infrastructure Loc8 codes are already being used for emergency access to the railway lines – Joint Agency Manager HSE.

Loc8 Code – Ideal for tourism

Because any location can have a Loc8 Code it is especially useful for tourism.  Way marked trails can use the Loc8 Code to indicate points along trail or cycleway. Indeed tours could be devised that follow Loc8 Codes that would not be possible using Eircodes.

For example a tour of the Wicklow mountains  could start with a viewing point overlooking Dublin, then move on to the source of the River LIffey, and then move on go Glenmacnas waterfall before a visit to the round tour and lakes at Glendalough none of these attractions will ever have an Eircode.

Quite simply the use of Loc8 Code could help revolutionise the tourism offering by opening up all our non-dwelling heritage sites and in doing so could spread the tourism spend into areas without the large attractions.

Loc8 Code – Ideal for temporary events

There is no provision with Eircode to provide temporary postcodes to large events such as Bloom or the National Ploughing Championship. Events like this are very large shows with many hundreds of exhibitors and tens of thousands of visitors.  While they may have their own system for mapping stands, using Loc8 Codes could simplify thing for them, again why invent your own system if Loc8 Codes will do the job.

Using Loc8 Codes at these events could also enhance safety as emergency services such as first aid posts or defibrillators could be highlighted with a Loc8 Code.

Loc8 Code – Idea for wildlife surveying

The National Parks & Wildlife Services as well as multiple NGOs regularly run surveys to count wildlife or to plot invasive species etc.  Using the simple consumer friendly Loc8 Code system would allow these organisations and their members conduct their surveys with greater ease. A simple code like Loc8 would also allow easier participation by the general public

Red Herrings

Some issues that may cause confusion.

Random versus Sequential versus Nested

Eircode features a routing key tied to the primary postal operator in Ireland followed by 4 random digits this allows for new postcode to be issued for a new building built in between two existing buildings.

A sequential postcode would not allow for a new postcode to be issued for a new building in-between two existing buildings but Loc8 Code is NOT a sequential postcode. Loc8 Code is a logically assigned nested code, this means it follows simple rules to generate a code from a GPS position. So Loc8 Code will allow a new unique postcode to be issued for a new building built in between two existing buildings.

Not accurate enough

The accuracy of Loc8 Code is +/- 6 metres and this matches the accuracy of consumer satnav devices. There is no practical reason to have a more accurate postcode because it cannot be resolved without the use of very expensive additional equipment.  Loc8 Code does however have proposals to enhance accuracy should it be required as a National system

Giving a postcode to an apartment

There is no logical reason to give a postcode to every individual apartment in an apartment complex.  The front door of the apartment block is the first place a delivery person will look for and once there the apartment number will suffice.  Adding thousands of apartments to the databases increases the size and cost of the database for no appreciable benefit as it will not lead you further than the front door of the block.  It could also lead to the bizarre situation where an actual apartment block itself would not have a postcode which would hinder location by maintenance personnel.

Giving a postcode to an individual apartment adds to public unease and could lead them to believe that Eircodes are only for collecting tax. Having multiple Eircodes for the same front door GPS position is just creating confusion and in no way adds to accuracy as the GPS location of the apartment will not be the physical location of the apartment.

Checksum doesn’t work

The checker digit in Loc8 code is not a checksum and does not work like a checksum it is designed to help identify common errors and also works when a shortened 6 digit version of the code is used.

 What if you can’t self-service?

Self-service generation of a Loc8 Code is something that has been in use for almost 5 years and over 100,000 times.  Self-service of a postcode would allow the government to save millions of euro in printing, postage and man hours.  It would also allow end users to obtain their postcode in a timely manner without having to rely on someone to do it for them.

Persons unable to self-service their own Loc8 code could receive their code in the manner similar to the way Eircodes plan to roll out to all addresses via a postcard or letter detailing your postcode. Self-service allows the opportunity to save money and speedup a rollout but does not preclude or prevent any other method of dissemination post codes.

Essentially the DCENR should welcome and encourage as much self-service as possible so as to reduce ongoing administration costs and speed up delivery.

9 comments on “What’s Right with Loc8 Code?”

  1. MaDMAn Reply

    If postcodes for apartments were really such a desirable feature it would be a simple matter of modifying the Loc8 system by adding a three digit (or two letter) suffix. The postcode for each apartment would then comprise the loc8 code for the front door of the building followed by the apartment number (e.g. 005 for apartment five) Single unit buildings would be allocated a default suffix 000.

    Dunno why the creators of the Loc8 system limited themselves to Ireland though. A global Loc8 coding system would have a lot of benefits (less cumbersome than the various methods of inputting latitude and longitude into a satnav)

  2. JClarke Reply

    OK, so these are the things I REALLY DISLIKE ABOUT EIRCODE:

    1. Apparently my house has moved from Cavan to Meath
    2. When I do a search for my address in Eircode.ie my Next door neighbours house is returned from the search result.
    3. There are no contact details on the Eircode.ie website to correct the error.
    4. The name “Eircode”… Could they not have called it Postcode like any other civilised country.
    5. They are not sequential
    6. Eircode not recognised by Sat Navs
    7. Eicode gives Cork the letter T – STUPID!!
    8. actually there are so many things I hate about Eircode. That I will not be using it either!!!

  3. Mary Reply

    Ok, I’m new to this but I don’t understand what the fuss is. Eircode is what it is. Postcodes don’t help locate emergencies occurring anywhere. How does a postcode help locate someone who’s injured in the mountains. Now admittedly I haven’t read all the details of complaint at this website, who has the time, really but it seems the same ole same ole, complaining about anything new. I found my eircode and it was correct. I’m new to the area and eircode shows me all the houses in the area, which IS helpful to me.

    what this country needs is road names, road signs to match and house numbers or names. THAT is how homes are located in the countryside. Without that there’s now way to drive down a road and know where you are unless you’re living in the area where you were born or have lived there at least 10 years. Nothing is made apparant here, code or no code, its all local knowledge, and if you don’t have it you don’t know nothin. And having to give directions to one’s house can be a real job

    • Get Lost Eircodes Reply

      Mary please read the site the and inform yourself before posting. http://www.Loc8code.com is the Irish developed GPS based postcode that works ANYWHERE on the island of Ireland even on the top of a mountain with 6 metre accuracy. More importantly it will work for every single road traffic accident….Please read up on what Ireland could have and should have embraced for a postcode.

    • Paul Reply

      Mary,

      I returned to Ireland after many years away and was happy to find UPS and other courier services had arrived and grown in my absence. I was not happy to have to spend time on the phone every time a driver tried to find my house. In fact, I got so fed up with it that I ended up setting up a web site with directions. Then I discovered Loc8code and got a code for my house and was able to text the code to anyone trying to find my house — if they had a SatNav they could enter it and get directed right away. If they didn’t have a SatNav but did have a smartphone they could also look it up by entering http://www.loc8code.com/location (where location = the code). Pinpoint accuracy for any location instantly. Free of charge. No requirement for database lookups. No requirement for any Internet connection in the case of the SatNav. Just an elegant solution, one already supported by the Irish taxpayer in the form of support from Enterprise Ireland for an Irish entrepreneur. One that didn’t cost €27m and that makes intuitive sense.

      If you value your privacy you should avoid ever entering an Eircode in any online form and should refuse to do business with any company requiring you to disclose it. See https://www.digitalrights.ie/eircode-privacy-and-data-protection/.

      The boycott was invented in Ireland and if ever anything deserved to be boycotted it’s this taxable letterbox identifier, because that’s all it is.

  4. Eamonn Reply

    Two months after the introduction of Eircodes it is clear that there is very little if any evidence of acceptance by the public. That the State did not adopt Loc8 as a code is scandalous. I trust the CAG will have something to say about such a waste of €27m. Eircodes deserve the bin as they’re useless as a postcode; in fact they are a property / water tax identifier disguised as a post code.

    • Get Lost Eircodes Reply

      True. Tell the punters they are getting a state backed property ID and they would be up in arms. Tell them they are getting postcode and they rush to download it!

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