[thelist] cities - btw

Luther, Ron Ron.Luther at hp.com
Fri Aug 12 08:21:19 CDT 2005

Dena Marchant noted:

>>btw, my need for the city is as part of the address of a theater.  in 
>>other words it will be a discreet location in the city as opposed to 
>>an area of the city.

Hi Dena,

Still not sure where you are going with this ... initially it 
sounded like an attempt to screen or clean user input - which, 
as you have noted you have seen, is a tough thing.

If it was a 'search' application, then a distance algorithm based 
off zip code, (cuz you did say US cities), might work better than 
a city name search because cities are organized differently in 
different parts of the US:

(1) 'Twin Cities'. A resident of Dallas, Texas could easily live 
closer to a theatre in Fort Worth, Texas than one in Dallas. (or 
St. Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota)

(2) 'Pie' Cities. Some cities, (Cleveland, Ohio comes to mind), 
are actually more 'municipal areas' comprised of a dozen or more 
smaller cities, (complete with their own mayors, police 
departments, and income taxes).  A user search for a theatre 
based on a city name of 'Cleveland' might fail to inform the 
user of a nearby theatre in Euclid, Lyndhurst, Lakewood, East 
Cleveland, or Brooklyn, Ohio.  

This also means that a user from one a city like this, inputting 
data on a theatre they visited that was more than 20 miles from 
their home, may not actually _know_ what city they were actually 
in!  They could easily guess wrong. Multiple users could generate 
multiple db entries for the same theatre for you with different 
city names ... without being stupid or vindictive.

(3) 'Neighborhood' Cities.  Some other cities are comprised of 
'neighborhoods'. [It's like the 'pie cities' example above - 
but the smaller areas do not have legal standing as a 'city'.  
No mayor, etc.] A resident of Akron, Ohio might be interested 
in knowing if the theatre is located in 'Goodyear Heights', 
'Kenmore', or 'Firestone Park', (and you can even see those 
areas highlighted on some maps), but they are not 'cities', 
per se.

(4) 'Other'.  I'm sure there are other organizations I may be 
unaware of. (I'm still not exactly sure how Louisiana 'Parishes' 
function, for example.)

If it's a 'review' application where folks input theatre name and 
address and some kind of text review, then I really think you're 
just going to have to have somebody go in and 'clean up' the data 
on a regular basis.



(A friend of mine used to run (may still run) several sites on 
drive-in theatres; lists and reviews of the ones that are still 
active, maps, directions, history, trivia, stuff like that. (Heck, 
I think he even showed the snack bar menus for some of them!) If 
this project is similar, I can give you a name off-list if you 

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