Re: I propose (seriously, sorry) another tag

Peter Flynn (
Mon, 31 Jul 95 08:16:54 EDT

Tim Bray writes:

> Add a Header element that specifies geographical location,
> by nation and postal code.
> Fortunately, the standards communities and post offices of the world
> have co-operated to provide a ready-made solution. Most countries
> have postal codes, and most countries' postal codes have the desirable
> property that they are constructed hierarchically left to right;
> the effect is that the longer the prefix match between two postal codes,
> the greater their likely proximity. For countries, ISO has
> helpfully provided the digraph system.

One immediate disadvantage is for those countries which do _not_ use a
postal code system. While it is arguable that this is "their fault",
this kind of decision is usually governmental, so it can't be
implemented swiftly. For such countries, there is usually an
alternative, giving a geographical district or area name, but these are
"envelope-order", ie right-to-left, not left-to-right:

<resloc dg="ie">Pogmathon Ballyporeen Tipperary</resloc>

Is there some way that an additional attribute can be used to specify
whether or not the element content is a processable postal code?

I spoke briefly with our Geog Dept, and their feeling is that there should
be _provision_ for longitude and latitude, for use in cases where postal
codes are non-existent, as it is possible in many countries to obtain files
which define the usable business areas (equivalent to postcode districts)
by Long & Lat boundaries.

<!ATTLIST RESLOC DG (AB | (200 other ISO digraphs) | ZA) #REQUIRED

That caters for whole degrees or degrees-and-decimals. I don't know what
you'd want to allow a string such as 35'54" which contains both single
and double quote symbols :-)

Personally, I just wish our govmnt would get off their fat butts and give
us some postcodes...:-)