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According to When did I move to Andøy, Norway? and Why does my location in stackoverflow profile change?, there is now an effort to standardize on a canonical format for the location field in a user's profile. Entries which don't match that canonical format will get autocorrected.

Unfortunately, that autocorrection seems to be pretty much random. In my case, it autocorrected Karlsruhe, Germany to Delaware, which isn't even on the same side of the planet, let alone the same continent. When I re-entered Karlsruhe, Germany, it suggested Ka, Democratic Republic of Congo as the correct format. (Thankfully, that is just a suggestion and can be overriden.) In other cases, it seems to correct locations which contain the number 6 to Dublin, Ireland, randomly relocate people to Norway, or mangle the spelling.

Where is the documentation for what format is considered "correct" and what isn't, so I can make sure my entries don't get autocorrected? And shouldn't there be a link on the profile edit page to that format specification?

EDIT: Hmm … it appears that my memory is failing me and at least some of my profiles may have had DE as a location and not Karlsruhe, Germany. But it still doesn't make sense why that got corrected to Delaware. DE is the ISO 3166-1 ALPHA-2 code for Germany. The ISO 3166-2 code for Delaware is US-DE. If ISO 3166 isn't considered canonical, then what is?

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In the algorithm's defense, my location entry consists solely of the number 6. And while I do remain curious about the algorithm, once you've edited your profile once, it will stick permanently without getting autocorrected (the autoset was a one-time event, basically) –  Grace Note Apr 21 '11 at 11:11
    
+1 for your edit; here ISO looks like a good canonical source. –  Hendrik Vogt Apr 21 '11 at 12:17
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1 Answer

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I thought It was using Google Geocode API, but actually It was using Yahoo PlaceFinder

http://where.yahooapis.com/geocode?q=6 returns

Dublin, Ireland,

http://where.yahooapis.com/geocode?q=DE returns

Delaware, United States

http://where.yahooapis.com/geocode?q=NRW

North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

http://where.yahooapis.com/geocode?q=N/A

Andøy, Norway

According to Yahoo PlaceFinder Site, they support following queries

  • Single-line address: An address contained in a single field. The Web service parses the address data and return the best match.

  • Multi-line address: An address contained in up to three boxes. The Web service combines the address data and then processes it like a single-line address query.

  • Fully parsed address: An address with each component (street, city, etc.) is in a separate field. The Web service does not parse the address, so it is less likely to interpret the address incorrectly, such as mistaking a street name for a city name.

  • Point of Interest (POI), Area of Interest (AOI): Places not identified by mailing addresses, such as parks and monuments.

  • Airport codes: The three-letter airport codes you may have seen printed on your luggage tags.

  • Where On Earth ID (WOEID): A unique permanent identifier of a location.

  • Coordinates: The latitude and longitude of a location. Sometimes called reverse geocoding, this feature enables applications to get the address nearest to the specified coordinates.

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