Wednesday, October 20, 2010

"Logistics" today, my Delivery, and Loc8 Codes

I am astonished that some so-called "logistics" companies are wasting time and money when there are easy technology options to help them get their job done. Last Wednesday I got an unintelligible voice mail at 2.30pm from someone who didn't identify himself. I was expecting a delivery from Imagine (more about this in a later post) and guessed from his accent and background noise that he was driving a van at the time he called - he must be from Imagine's "logistics" company.

Graphic copied from
Man and his Van, Sydney.
I called him back at about 4.30. He told me that he had called to find out where my address was. He was in the South Dublin area and wanted to deliver my package - but now he was on his way home and would not make the delivery. Imagine had told me that I would get a call from their "logistics" company to arrange a time for delivery. While I missed his call by two hours, I was at work and would not have been at home to accept the delivery anyway. Why did Imagine tell me one thing, and the "logistics" company do another?

The package (a Wimax box) was delivered on Saturday - I got a call from the "logistics" company van driver that he was in DĂșn Laoghaire and he wanted to deliver the package. I gave him directions and he was here in minutes - package delivered three days after first call. I noticed that his van did not have any markings on it - he is clearly an owner-driver (Man with a Van) trying to make a living. But - this so-called "logistics" company (Imagine's description, not mine) needs to get with the times.

Did this Man and his Van ever hear of a map? Shouldn't someone who does deliveries invest in a Sat Nav? He had to make two phone calls to find my address - I know phone calls are cheap, but surely this is adding to his costs (which ultimately I as a customer have to pay for)? Could Imagine not provide him with at least a map printed out that pin-points my address? After all - Imagine did provide my exact name and address, it was printed on the package cover.

Another possibility - use Loc8 codes.

Loc8 Codes were developed by GPS Ireland in 2006 and are now used with Garmin Sat Navs (just like they use post codes in the UK). John Kennedy, writing in the Silicon Republic, reporting back in July that an All-Ireland digital address code system goes live writes that the new Loc8 code "provides precise address information...and will be invaluable to businesses that need to deliver products and services across the island". This new system references map data from Ordnance Survey Ireland and Land and Property Services Northern Ireland, and has been developed by Cork-based company Loc8 Code Ltd in collaboration with Garmin Europe. For example, the Loc8 code that I use for NCI in my email signatures is NN5-10-VP7 (click on the code link to see how it works). You can even have separate Loc8 codes for different parts of a building, eg one for the front door, and another for deliveries at the back. Time for all "logistics" companies and every Man with a Van to modernize. I predict Loc8 codes will change the way we do deliveries in Ireland - and not before time too. 


  1. Eugene,
    Loc8 codes are a proprietary system of post codes owned by a private company. Although it is quite easy to reverse engineer the algorithm they use to generate the codes they don't publish it and in fact they seem to suggest that it is not permissible to use loc8 codes without paying a license fee to them. A much better system exists for the last few centuries and is known as latitude,longitude. All major mapping sites and GPS providers support input of Latitude/longitude.

  2. Hi Brian - thanks for the comment. True about Lat/Long - if you have an interest in this area check out the marvelous book "Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time" by Dava Sobel. I reviewed this book in a previous post:

    We'll have to wait and see if Loc8 takes off - I believe it will, but it may need a big helping hand from Dept of Environment.


  3. Why not use An Post's GeoDirectory? An Post are going to know where all the houses are.

  4. Good point - An Post have a number/code for every house in the country. But we need something easy to use - a unified system that everybody understands. Whatever is used, I hope that it catches on soon.

  5. Loc8 Code naturally enjoys copyright like many other things and as such is protected from reverse engineering as suggested.

    There is no cost to any individual using a Loc8 Code - all new popular Garmin SatNavs have Loc8 already included. There is a samll cost for updating older devices - this reflects the related cost to the parties involved (Loc8 Code is a small Private Company covering its development and setup costs)
    Loc8 is currently a commercial system - if it became a National System a different financial model would obviously be appropriate.

    There is a Loc8 Code already for every entry in the GeoDirectory - Loc8 Codes are Lat/long or Grid References in any easy to use format

    Lat/Long cannot be used as a postcode:

    1. because it can be sourced from multiple public sources of varying accuracy causing confusion and variable results

    2. because in comes in 3 different formats and 2 different quandrant representation formats, causing great confusion for the untrained. Research by Loc8 Code over 2 years showed that the untrained user will make Lat/long in one format fit into another resulting in large destination errors.

    3. You need at least 13 Lat/long Characters to express a location to better than 10m accuracy

    4. There is no error checking capability in Lat/long

    5. If you get the Lat wrong and the Long short you may set out for Maynooth but end up in Madagascar!!!

    The designer of Loc8 Codes is an experienced Surveyor/navigator and has a MSc Degree in Navigation and positioning with particular interest in coordinates - so you can assume that he has considered all the options.

    Loc8 Code recently won Geographic Industry Project of the year from IRLOGI.

    Loc8 will shortly also be available from multiple other manufacturers. Many business already have Loc8 Codes on their websites - for which there is no cost.

    Lots more info here: