shrug-l: Numbering Hydrants

Peterson, Lance Lance.Peterson at
Wed May 18 10:38:44 EDT 2016

From an inventory management point of view, an information rich label such as this really identifies a location and not the hydrant itself. If asset management is important, when a hydrant is moved then the label for that hydrant would change. From a database design standpoint that is an problematic system since you then have the identifier for an object changing. Of course you could have a location label and an inventory label but that kind of begs the question of why bother.

Lance Peterson
Web Applications Developer
Technology and Innovation Dept.
City of Tallahassee

From: SHRUG-L [mailto:shrug-l-bounces at] On Behalf Of Eric Songer
Sent: Wednesday, May 18, 2016 10:07 AM
To: Porter, Bill
Cc: Espinosa, Dan; shrug-l at
Subject: Re: shrug-l: Numbering Hydrants

I'll be honest. I find the whole "smart" identifier a monumental pain in the butt and never worth the effort. When I drive around my home town, I don't know what lat long to 8 decimal places, PLSS section, or National Map Grid I am in. Why is this in the ID? Now you have to have an application, or a spreadsheet to generate an ID.I don't see the utility (see what I did there?)


On Wed, May 18, 2016 at 9:50 AM, Porter, Bill <bporter at<mailto:bporter at>> wrote:
   That is an impressive system and it’s well thought out.
   It seems like a lot of effort to reduce two 9 digit Dec degree values to 15 places (the dashes need to be counted).
In my humble application of Occam’s razor and the principle of scientific parsimony,  the simplest solution is best.  Why make  the coordinates occult, hiding under a conversion?
   In the Americas, from the equator to the northernmost tip of Greenland, Lat is positive and Long negative, so drop the longitude negative sign unless this scheme is adopted  outside of the US.  Then it’s their problem.
19 charaters                          15 characters
30.434478|84.277222  vs  0XD-89E-JM8-EQ6

  A unique ID for each hydrant would be only one field in the data base of  whatever essential info firefighters need:  Hydrant into  (GPM flow?  Type of hydrant? Wrench size? Adapter size?) .  They will need a street address and landmarks.   Since fire trucks can’t fly as the crow does,  any code has to be convertible to street routing.  All Counties build street data bases.

  Scott’s initial parameters stated that the trucks can’t be guided by 911 dispatch and firemen don’t want to carry and learn GPS.  Nor would the county spring for meter-level GPS units on each fire truck.   $250 Garmin WAAS-corrected units are more likely if any are considered.
One elegant solution is to have  GPS/GIS elves at each fire station (one for each shift) that would have a tablet with WAAS GPS and mapping software.  This could save lives,  would build better street maps over time and provide employment for freshly minted GIS elves. It would also give GIS analysts a much needed macho-rep boost. It’s better to swagger into a bar with a fireman’s coat and tablet than just a tablet.

Another option would be to stop fighting interminable, pointless and immoral foreign wars and use those $trillions to upgrade Emergency Services equipment across the US. (End of editorial portion)

From: SHRUG-L [mailto:shrug-l-bounces at<mailto:shrug-l-bounces at>] On Behalf Of Rick Labs
Sent: Tuesday, May 17, 2016 2:56 PM
To: Bassett, Seth; Scott Warner; shrug-l at<mailto:shrug-l at>
Subject: Re: shrug-l: Numbering Hydrants

Scott, Seth, others who may be interested,

I worked up a demo spreadsheet that shows how you can label anything with a simple 12 character code (for instance hydrants, or even mail/packages) and have that code encapsulate 6 decimal accuracy geo coding (about 1 meter accuracy).  The code is designed to be compact and easy to speak. Case is not important and the letters O, I, L, and Z are not used because of frequent confusion with numbers (0,1,2).

The spreadsheet both encodes and decodes. Unambiguous, universal format works worldwide down to a meter.

You can get the file named encodelatlon.xls from this directory:

There are no macros (or VBA code) in the spreadsheet but you will likely have to "allow editing" if you want to play around with it.



Richard J. Labs, CFA, CPA

CL&B Capital Management, LLC

Phone: 315-637-0915<tel:315-637-0915>

E-mail (preferred for efficiency): rick at<mailto:rick at>

Mailing address: 8 Laureldale Dr., Pittsford, NY 14534-3508

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