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

Mark Davis mark at
Mon Mar 9 19:17:38 CET 2009

See my message of April 12 2005 (was intended for April 1): "A Modest

Since it is obvious that all applications in the world will require
extremely fine-grained approach to languages, here is an initial proposal
for development of a separate RFC to deal with them. The goal is to be able
to describe the variety of speech that each person on earth may be using at
a given time. Identification is by means of the location of the speaker and
the time at which the speech could have occurred. The language tag is given
by the following format (formal ABNF to follow).

XLanguageTag ::= latitude "-" longitude "-" altitude "-" time

Latitude and longitude are specified by radians, and be measured from 0 to
360 starting at the Prime Meridian going east, and from 0 to 180 starting at
the South Pole and going north. The numeric values below zero are avoided
because the use of the terms "positive" and "negative" when applied to
location can clearly be prejudicial to many of the peoples of the world.
Should in the course of the development of this RFC, the use of the Prime
Meridian be viewed as representative of an English-speaking hegemony, a
random longitude will be chosen as the origin. Use of latitude and longitude
does not, of course, imply in any way that those who believe in a flat earth
or the "four-elephant+turtle system" are in any way discouraged in the
observance of their faith, nor does the use of radians in any way denigrate
the goal of the Kansas State Education Board to recognize the value of π as
exactly 3.0.

Altitude is in meters above the center of the earth. While some may feel the
likelihood of two speakers being exactly overhead is low, we do -- of
course -- want to plan for all eventualities. By avoiding measurement
against sea level, we again celebrate the diversity of the world's
population, and do not discriminate against the proud inhabitants of Death
Valley and similar locations by in any way referring to them as "negative".

For location, since people rarely overlap in physical space, it will usually
be sufficient to have accuracy to within 10 cm. But since fractions can be
supplied, applications can have arbitrarily high degree of accuracy.

The time is specified by seconds since 0000-01-00T00:00:00Z (using the
proleptic Gregorian calendar as specified in XML Schema), plus an offset of
1,000,000,000,000,000,000. If finer granularity than seconds is desired,
then fractions can be specified. The reason for the offset is to again avoid
negative numbers, and their implied bias against historic inhabitants. The
offset is chosen as to be well before all current estimates of the Big Bang.
Note, however, that this in no way implies any denigration of creationism,
or that believers are in any way discouraged in the observance of their
faith. Nor does it imply that any one system of creationism, such as Greek
or Norse creation theory, is any way inferior to any other, such as that
espoused by the Kansas State Education Board.

Other parts of this proposal, such as security implications, will be

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