July 13, 2003 04:16 | Technology

GPS Address

After 2 weeks in Japan (and many many minutes spent lost), I'm back home (more on all that later) and have been thinking about GPS, which seems to be pretty advanced, useage-wise, in Japan.

Now, the question is this: why would I need your address if I had your frontdoor's doorknob's precise GPS coordinates? Or to be more realistic, the GPS coordinates of your block, and the street address.

In most of the world, this is a moot point since addresses actually make sense... but in Tokyo... forget it!

So gimme that keitai with GPS and some app which allows me to plug in your coordinates... and hold my hand as I find you.


This also plays on my idea of a suite of 3D software products for game consoles (and PCs) which allow travelers to virtually drive/walk/fly through places they are going to visit. Question of building the mental map before getting there.


Under the best conditions, the average error on most GPSes is 3-7 meters. This is certainly more than enough to pin point a house in the countryside, but in a city, you often have more than one door and multiple-stories bulding within that radius.
I would still need your street address unless you live in a bungalow or a house far enough from your neighboors!

Matt: Agreed. I think it would be a valuable addition to street address info, but not a substitute.

Hm. "Naming/labeling" something (with an address for example) is an abstraction: pinpointing it is more real. Too bad GPS is so weak and unreliable. If I understand correctly it is still entirely in the hands of the US military no? What if commercial interests got a hanlde on it? Or did they already? Am I late? Of course I am...

3- Thomas Bailey

Coordinates are an excellent solution for places that change names frequently, new developments, and rural addresses. Lighthouses and other navaids have lat-lon addresses for a long time.

Coordinates for addresses have a strong future.
Boris's statement was true in the late 1980's when the first few satellites were launched. The addition of WAAS and DGPS have made GPS extremely accurate. Civilian and commercial interests have been using GPS for several years, and its applications are increasing rapidly. As for using coordinates as addresses, it would make sense in rural areas, new developments, and highways with few or no landmarks, such as Death Valley/Mojave Desert. Coordinates in the ocean are well-established, even the Titanic used coordinates in the distress message as early as 1912. It would also make sense in areas with confusing street names/addresses.

5- Samer Hamadeh

I have alreday added my GPS coordinates to my Business Card and that is N 21.17.x E 39.9.x.

Guess where.