0426: "Geohashing"

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mercury
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Re: "Geohashing" discussion

Postby mercury » Wed May 21, 2008 11:33 am UTC

Yesterdays coordinates put me right on top of a train track.
Didnt know the people who were driving the trains were reading xkcd too.

Daedalus
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Re: "Geohashing" discussion

Postby Daedalus » Wed May 21, 2008 11:42 am UTC

Yesterday's coordinates for me were in the middle of Lake Ontario.

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markfiend
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Re: "Geohashing" discussion

Postby markfiend » Wed May 21, 2008 11:57 am UTC

Yesterday's Dow would have put me on the A637 between Flockton and Midgeley.
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Re: "Geohashing" discussion

Postby mattflaschen » Wed May 21, 2008 12:47 pm UTC

I don't think it's about giving a fake address to aggressive A/S/L?! questioners, as suggested earlier. It is about a meetup with a location changing daily. Or rather, because of the way it works, a evenly spaced grid spanning the earth, and constantly shifting. There don't seem to be enough meeting places, though. I suggest another digit or two be fixed. Thus, instead of 37.421542 becoming 37.857713 it would be 37.42857713.

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mehmattski
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Re: "Geohashing" discussion

Postby mehmattski » Wed May 21, 2008 1:14 pm UTC

Lame. Durham, North Carolina (and Duke University specifically) is basically at the intersection of four different quadrants. Although I guess that means I could go to whichever point is closer/more interesting...

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esmooths
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Re: "Geohashing" discussion

Postby esmooths » Wed May 21, 2008 1:23 pm UTC

ccccc wrote:First-post-inspire'd!

Ithaca, NY sits right in the center of its graticule. And the surrounding scenery is pretty nice. This seems like a good combination.



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cblaines
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Re: "Geohashing" discussion

Postby cblaines » Wed May 21, 2008 1:27 pm UTC

Yesterday's Coordinates for me put you on Launchpad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center
Meetup location:
* 28.63099°, -80.618946° or
* N28°37.8594', W80°37.1367' or
* N28°37'51.56", W80°37'8.2"

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markkat
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Re: "Geohashing" discussion

Postby markkat » Wed May 21, 2008 1:27 pm UTC

Where to begin? Home puts me in San Fran, work puts me in Boston.

I'm in Detroit. Cannonball run?

This is really fantastic.
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Re: "Geohashing" discussion

Postby SanderJK » Wed May 21, 2008 1:33 pm UTC

One thing that bugs me about the way this method works is that all locations are the same relative to the grid for any given day. It would've been more fun if the grid location itself played a factor in the calculation.

Unsurprisingly, 3/5 grids that have locations in the Netherlands send you to the water.

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Re: "Geohashing" discussion

Postby The Tagger » Wed May 21, 2008 1:39 pm UTC

I would assume the answer is no, but is there any bias to the algorithm? For example, if the stock market number is between 12,500 and 12,600, it will always be in the northeast part of the graticule, 12-600-12,700 the southwest part, etc., or is it completely randomized where a change of a hundredth of a point can send it all the way across the region?
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strix99
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Re: "Geohashing" discussion

Postby strix99 » Wed May 21, 2008 1:40 pm UTC

Call me crazy but I don't like the algorithms dependence on the stock market (not geeky enough for me I guess) What I'd propose is something like using the date and time possibly concatenated with the least significant longitude and latitude coordinates as the input to the hashing algorithm which shouldn't be md5, I'd suggest sha256 (we can't have collisions, COLLISIONS!!!!)

This way we don't just throw away the least significant longitude and latitude coordinates, come on thats just wasteful!!!

There are of course a million variations you could have and my suggestions for the algorithm would be to limit the time to seconds and the longitude and latitude coordinates to four decimal places.

And yes if anyone is actually interested in it I will write the code.

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SimonBob
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Re: "Geohashing" discussion

Postby SimonBob » Wed May 21, 2008 1:41 pm UTC

I slapped in my date of birth and got a spot thirty-five minutes south of the city, just south of Snake Island Road. Kept adding years until I got a location in the city proper. Turns out if I'd done this on my fifth birthday, I would've been partying at Britannia Beach.

The Ottawa-Gatineau rectangle is actually good for this on a logistics level; the Ottawa River goes right through the middle, and the tip of the bottom-right corner is juuust shy of the US border. Only problem is most locations land in the middle of somebody's farm, and I have a feeling the closest available food is gonna be Tim Hortons nine times out of ten. Ah, well, I'll try anything once as long as I can get the car on the weekend.

strix: Why not tie it into the NASDAQ instead? That sounds like a good compromise between the rich and the nerds. ;D
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strix99
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Re: "Geohashing" discussion

Postby strix99 » Wed May 21, 2008 1:49 pm UTC

I think I have it, the algorithm should use the current (or todays at midnight if you want a value that is static for the day) total number of posts on xkcd's forums or some load statistics on xkcd's server (again current stats or the statistics at midnight).

If the load on xkcd's server(s) at midnight was used we users trying to manipulate the server's load to get a desired location.


Ooohh I feel all warm and tingly now :)

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esmooths
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Re: "Geohashing" discussion

Postby esmooths » Wed May 21, 2008 2:56 pm UTC

Looks like today's for Boston/Eastern Mass is out near Worcester, where I90 and I395 meet. Too far out for me, at least.
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cORilliEN
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Re: "Geohashing" discussion

Postby cORilliEN » Wed May 21, 2008 2:59 pm UTC

In response to the request to know closes street address:

http://stevemorse.org/jcal/latlon.php

assuming this is accurate, could be rather helpful.

Also,any LIers/NYCers wanna give this whole thing a go throughout the summer?

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Re: "Geohashing" discussion

Postby Plasma Man » Wed May 21, 2008 3:01 pm UTC

This is an awesome idea. If this Saturday's location is reachable for me then I'll go there. Otherwise... MUST GET TRANSPORTATION (probably would be best to get an off-road motorbike as todays location puts me in a field).
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Re: "Geohashing" discussion

Postby ABFA00 » Wed May 21, 2008 3:02 pm UTC

Today's for Ithaca, NY seems to be someone's backyard in Horseheads.

This is fun!

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AtomicLlama
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Re: "Geohashing" discussion

Postby AtomicLlama » Wed May 21, 2008 3:23 pm UTC

Today's location for the eastern half of Omaha, NE is in a local nature preserve-type area. It would actually make a good meetup spot.

polymath69
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Re: "Geohashing" discussion

Postby polymath69 » Wed May 21, 2008 3:31 pm UTC

rhebus wrote:If I lived in Greenwich (of GMT fame), and the hash comes up 0.999 in the E/W direction on a particular day, then I've got to drive almost a whole degree (east or west) in order to get to the geohashing point. This is unlike every other meridian, because I'd have the option to drive 0.001 east or 0.999 west (or vice versa) - but, on the prime meridian, it's 0.999 east or 0.999 west because the coordinates reverse direction.


Sure, but for every time it comes up .999 there'll be another time it will come out .001 and you'll have two equally-nearby choices. It should all balance out in the long run.

gumbo
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Re: "Geohashing" discussion

Postby gumbo » Wed May 21, 2008 3:35 pm UTC

Using the DOW opening has several advantages that other suggestions don't, namely that it isn't predictable ahead of time, and that it's easily found historic information. Something like the load on xkcd's server isn't public information (and if it is provided, it isn't likely to still be available 50 years from now, so this algorithm loses some of its timeless nature.) Limiting it to just the date means that it's predictable in the future, which doesn't really fit with xkcd's bias towards spontaneity.

My only complaint is that the Washington DC area is right at a corner of the grids, so there are 4 different meetup locations for people that live inside the beltway. If I was going to hit a meetup on Saturday, I'd probably pick whichever was closest or looked most promising, destroying some entropy and adventure in the process. But that's me, I'm just lazy.

I have a pilot's license, so if there's a meetup that puts us in the water, I'm willing to go up in a little airplane to at least circle over that point for a few minutes... :D

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pminva
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Re: "Geohashing" discussion

Postby pminva » Wed May 21, 2008 3:43 pm UTC

Astropunk wrote:The coordinates he created in the comic (for the SF Bay Area) are for Tennessee Valley in Marin County which is actually a really nice area. Unfortunately it's halfway up a ridge in scrub brush if anyone wants to find it. http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=37.857713,+-122.544544&ie=UTF8&ll=37.86076,-122.536097&spn=0.031917,0.079651&t=h&z=14&iwloc=addr



I am a bit confused. When I enter the original coordinates I zoom in on Google headquarters. Thence via Dow Mashup they are directed to take a hike into the hills West of Sausalito.

Seemed like a reasonable Saturday night game to me...

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SimonSwift
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Re: "Geohashing" discussion

Postby SimonSwift » Wed May 21, 2008 3:45 pm UTC

Okay, but does anyone else actually live in Minnesota?

*crickets*


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Swap
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Re: "Geohashing" discussion

Postby Swap » Wed May 21, 2008 4:22 pm UTC

AtG wrote:Hash functions aren't injective, are they? The Dow opening index adds some randomness but with probability 1 you will have to revisit the same boring place (if you live forever).


Sure. Or by infinite monkey theorem (a.k.a. Borel-Cantelli lemma) you will visit every place infinitely many times.

Thankfully, none of us should live long enough to visit the same place twice, even if we do this every day of our lives.

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Swap
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Re: "Geohashing" discussion

Postby Swap » Wed May 21, 2008 4:28 pm UTC

JayDee wrote:This is neat. Where I am, though, the Dow Opening won't be known until 11:30 pm (I think) on the day. That throws things out a bit.


Then you use the most recent known DJIA, which would be from the night before.

It doesn't change while he market is closed, does it?

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GBog
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Re: "Geohashing" discussion

Postby GBog » Wed May 21, 2008 4:31 pm UTC

strix99 wrote:Call me crazy but I don't like the algorithms dependence on the stock market (not geeky enough for me I guess) What I'd propose is something like using the date and time possibly concatenated with the least significant longitude and latitude coordinates as the input to the hashing algorithm which shouldn't be md5, I'd suggest sha256 (we can't have collisions, COLLISIONS!!!!)

This way we don't just throw away the least significant longitude and latitude coordinates, come on thats just wasteful!!!

There are of course a million variations you could have and my suggestions for the algorithm would be to limit the time to seconds and the longitude and latitude coordinates to four decimal places.

And yes if anyone is actually interested in it I will write the code.


But... if everybody is using the least significant longitude and latitude coordinates of their own position as input, there's no meetup.

statpumpkin
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Re: "Geohashing" discussion

Postby statpumpkin » Wed May 21, 2008 4:36 pm UTC

Can someone explain how to get from the md5 checksum (db9318...) to a decimal (0.8577?)

Thx.

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Swap
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Re: "Geohashing" discussion

Postby Swap » Wed May 21, 2008 4:43 pm UTC

statpumpkin wrote:Can someone explain how to get from the md5 checksum (db9318...) to a decimal (0.8577?)

Thx.


d/10 + b/100 + 9/1000 + 3/10000 +... etc

Where it's all in hex, and 10 is actually 16 and 100 is actually 16^2 or 256 and 1000 is 16^3.

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Swap
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Re: "Geohashing" discussion

Postby Swap » Wed May 21, 2008 4:49 pm UTC

strix99 wrote:Call me crazy but I don't like the algorithms dependence on the stock market (not geeky enough for me I guess) What I'd propose is something like using the date and time possibly concatenated with the least significant longitude and latitude coordinates as the input to the hashing algorithm which shouldn't be md5, I'd suggest sha256 (we can't have collisions, COLLISIONS!!!!)


But dude (ungendered dude), then it's predictable from day to day. We don't want it to be predictable. If you don't like Dow Jones, then you need to suggest a better source of entropy, something that's easily made numerical.

I really can't think of anything more convenient than some financial instrument.

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SimonBob
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Re: "Geohashing" discussion

Postby SimonBob » Wed May 21, 2008 5:00 pm UTC

Unpredictable yet historical, hmm? How about the ISBN number of the Man Booker Prize winner, or some other [un]remarkable literary contest each week? Surely there are at least fifty-two of those in a given year.
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Re: "Geohashing" discussion

Postby Ptolom » Wed May 21, 2008 6:06 pm UTC

All I can say about this is genius.
I am so going to the location for my area this saturday. Right after a crazy party in the local shopping center we're having. Best weekend ever

tarehart
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Re: "Geohashing" discussion

Postby tarehart » Wed May 21, 2008 6:08 pm UTC

AtG wrote:There is a limited number of hash outputs, 2^64. In 2^64+1 days there must be two equal outputs. You want proof of the opposite?


Oh.

Well, I still love the idea of geohashing.
Last edited by tarehart on Wed May 21, 2008 6:10 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Otto
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Re: "Geohashing" discussion

Postby Otto » Wed May 21, 2008 6:09 pm UTC

Handy! Now I'll know where to meet other XKCD readers next time I go to the past.

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Otto
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Re: "Geohashing" discussion

Postby Otto » Wed May 21, 2008 6:14 pm UTC

statpumpkin wrote:Can someone explain how to get from the md5 checksum (db9318...) to a decimal (0.8577?)

Explanation for those without a quality calculator:

hex = decimal
d = 13
b = 11
9 = 9
3 = 3
...etc...
13/16 + 11 / 16^2 + 9 / 16^3 + 3 / 16^4 ... = 0.8577...

tesla4d
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Re: "Geohashing" discussion

Postby tesla4d » Wed May 21, 2008 6:18 pm UTC

Being an Alleycat participant and cacophony society member, I am all for unsanctioned sporting events, the more outlandish, the better.

In that frame of mind, I propose a great race, of sorts, but I haven't yet decided on the full rules. What I do have goes something like this:

The target date is a Saturday of the month N months after the close of registration, where N is the remainder of the number of contestants divided by 12.

The target location is determined by averaging the lat/lon of the residences of the most recent Nobel laureates, and using that location as the input of the xkcd geohashing algorithm. If the resulting destination is in a body of water, use its antipode, and if *that* location is also in a body of water, tough luck, it's still the finish line.

What do you think of that?

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Re: "Geohashing" discussion

Postby therougerogue » Wed May 21, 2008 6:46 pm UTC

At first, it seemed like a cool, benign idea. The concept was quite simple: take the date, add the previous DOW opening, hash it, then convert to geographical coordinates. A secret way to meet up over the weekends, in places only you would know about. Time dragged on, and every so often people would go out and find someone just like them. They would meet, talk, wonder, explore, fall in love, and it was special because it was something only they shared. But ever so gradually over the internet, a pattern started to emerge. The seemingly random points started to coalesce, forming an outline. The shape was not so clear at first, but became clearer each day. And finally, several years after the project began, some person zoomed out and saw hundreds of heptagrams covering the surface of Earth, terrible harbingers of things to come. It wasn't long before Wall Street got wind, as they were able to reverse the algorithm and predict the next day's stock. That was when the end began. Brokers simply followed the pattern, buying and selling when it was profitable. This quickly undermined the global economy, and Earth went into the last great depression. Of course, the pattern had predicted this; it had always known this would happen, even before it was made. There was simply no money left. The great farm companies of the past imploded, and the world began to starve. Surviving martial governments fought over what was left, tearing up the remaining land until even that was unusable. The few people that still lived banded together, in a last-ditch effort to save humanity. But only the pattern would decide their fate, and it was up to them to decrypt it. Their fate ... is unknown.

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Ptolom
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Re: "Geohashing" discussion

Postby Ptolom » Wed May 21, 2008 7:00 pm UTC

don't suppose anyone here lives in the Coventry/Birminging/Leicester (UK) area of the map

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The Tagger
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Re: "Geohashing" discussion

Postby The Tagger » Wed May 21, 2008 7:21 pm UTC

therougerogue wrote:At first, it seemed like a cool, benign idea. The concept was quite simple: take the date, add the previous DOW opening, hash it, then convert to geographical coordinates. A secret way to meet up over the weekends, in places only you would know about. Time dragged on, and every so often people would go out and find someone just like them. They would meet, talk, wonder, explore, fall in love, and it was special because it was something only they shared. But ever so gradually over the internet, a pattern started to emerge. The seemingly random points started to coalesce, forming an outline. The shape was not so clear at first, but became clearer each day. And finally, several years after the project began, some person zoomed out and saw hundreds of heptagrams covering the surface of Earth, terrible harbingers of things to come. It wasn't long before Wall Street got wind, as they were able to reverse the algorithm and predict the next day's stock. That was when the end began. Brokers simply followed the pattern, buying and selling when it was profitable. This quickly undermined the global economy, and Earth went into the last great depression. Of course, the pattern had predicted this; it had always known this would happen, even before it was made. There was simply no money left. The great farm companies of the past imploded, and the world began to starve. Surviving martial governments fought over what was left, tearing up the remaining land until even that was unusable. The few people that still lived banded together, in a last-ditch effort to save humanity. But only the pattern would decide their fate, and it was up to them to decrypt it. Their fate ... is unknown.



It was then, that a group of people emerged from a cave in eastern Colorado. They seemed skittish and nervous, their eyes darting from one side to the other, as if looking for something... or someone... or anyone. As they spread out across the land, they surveyed the area, becoming more and more at ease. After two months, they had reached a conclusion- the human race was no more. The cave-dwellers re-convened at the entryway of their cave, and together let out a deep bellow. It sounded of both anticipation and joy. From the depth of the cave emerged a man- the leader of the cave-dwellers. He stepped into the sunlight, turned his head up toward the sky with closed eyes, and took in a breath. It was his first breath of fresh air in many years. He lowered his head and opened his eyes to look upon his fellow creatures. "We have done it. It has been a thousand years since the Kindling Wars, but we have finally reclaimed what is ours." At once, his chest started to inflate, until it was a size of comic proportions. Suddenly, it burst open, and a giant red creature flew out and onto the ground. "The Earth is ours once again! WE ARE THE CRAB PEOPLE!"

...

From atop the hill, out of earshot from the cave, a survivor watched the creature spring forth and land upon the ground. She gasped and turned away in horror. After a moment, she moved toward the man beside her. "My god. My grandfather said this day would come. I just always wished I would be long dead before it happened." The man, who was now holding her, could only respond with a whisper. "Did you see... did you see who their leader was? It looked like... Randall Munroe!"
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Re: "Geohashing" discussion

Postby AtG » Wed May 21, 2008 8:15 pm UTC

Swap wrote:
AtG wrote:Hash functions aren't injective, are they? The Dow opening index adds some randomness but with probability 1 you will have to revisit the same boring place (if you live forever).


Sure. Or by infinite monkey theorem (a.k.a. Borel-Cantelli lemma) you will visit every place infinitely many times.


Every place you visit once, yes. But possibly not all 2^64 places, first you need to prove that [math]hash(date, dow)[/math] is surjective on the appropriate domain. Not that I wanna be picky...

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strix99
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Re: "Geohashing" discussion

Postby strix99 » Wed May 21, 2008 8:35 pm UTC

But dude (ungendered dude), then it's predictable from day to day. We don't want it to be predictable. If you don't like Dow Jones, then you need to suggest a better source of entropy, something that's easily made numerical.

I really can't think of anything more convenient than some financial instrument.


I did suggest that the lest significant digits of the latitude and longitude be used as the entropy source. If by predictable you mean I can see where the meet up would be in a week or month, then yes that is possible.

But... if everybody is using the least significant longitude and latitude coordinates of their own position as input, there's no meetup.


I agree, I was thinking of this more as a random adventure, than a meetup.

This idea would probably work great someplace like LA with a insane population density and high ratio of tech people, but I'm from Omaha, Nebraska and the odds of anyone showing up at my location have to be slim. Even someone who posted in this thread who is from Omaha has a different location, I had different locations from home and work. So the meet up function is useless for me thats why I focused more on the random adventure aspect of it.

Heres sort of the fun part of my suggestion of using the least significant digits of latitude and longitude coordinates, if your using the app that the blag links to you have to click on the map to select your initial coordinates. I'm not sure how sensitive google maps is in generating those coordinates but unless you have a really steady hand you could possible get different least significant digits of latitude and longitude every time. Come on tell me thats not cool.

Of course plugging your address into google maps just takes all the fun out of it

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Re: "Geohashing" discussion

Postby Pixel » Wed May 21, 2008 8:37 pm UTC

If there is a total of 264 locations, how far apart do they end up being within one set of lat/long coordinates? I don't know how to do the math for that off the top of my head.
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