Geocoordinates (was: Re: Proposal to remove Preferred-Value field for region YU in LTRU)

Doug Ewell doug at
Mon Mar 9 05:11:39 CET 2009

Caoimhín Ó Donnaíle <caoimhin at smo dot uhi dot ac dot uk> wrote:

> In some applications, "geocoordinates" - i.e. latitude and longitude - 
> might provide a better alternative to country or regional codes.
> i.e. Rather than trying to decide whether a book or film or dialect 
> sample from some particular year should be tagged as "China" or 
> "Yugoslavia", for example, or trying keep an elaborate system of codes 
> for "China" or "Yugoslavia" with their changing and disputed borders 
> over time, the item could be labeled with a point in space-time: i.e. 
> a date together with the geocoordinates of the town or place where it 
> originated.

I would think this might make sense as an extension, if anything (for 
both possible values of "if anything").  After the hurdles of writing 
the extension RFC and setting up the mailing list had been cleared, one 
might be able to write "gd-g-5705n-00553w-2009" to mean "Gaelic as 
spoken on Skye during 2009."

These might be perceived as "write-only" tags, providing a great deal of 
precision but also a great deal of difficulty in searching and matching. 
An application would have to figure out how good a match the tag above 
is for, say, "gd-g-5815n-00430w-xxxx" for "Gaelic as spoken in East 
Sutherland during the year xxxx."  (The dialects of these two areas are 
reportedly quite different.)  The addition of the date component would 
pretty much guarantee that each tag would be unique, not normally a good 

Another problem might be the false sense of precision that users might 
feel about a language variety tagged to the geographical minute or 
second.  This is not the world of Henry Higgins, with dialects 
identifiable down to the city block, but these tags might give some 
people that impression.  We have enough trouble with people thinking 
that region subtags necessarily identify a meaningful variety.

Doug Ewell  *  Thornton, Colorado, USA  *  RFC 4645  *  UTN #14  ˆ 

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