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Formatting standards

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HogDriver

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#1
I have a request for each administrator to go through his responsible database and format the Description block to include the name of the town or county so that when this info is imported into a scanner database, the name appears along with the service, i.e., Craig County Sheriff Dispatch instead of just Sheriff Dispatch; and Chelsea Police Dispatch instead of just Police Dispatch.

I ask this because the complexity of displays on some scanners has achieved a point that a lot of info can be shown at once. I own a BCD536HP and have it installed in my vehicle. I would like to be able to quickly glance over to see who is broadcasting without me having to try to read the smaller print to see what town or county it is. Now granted that I can go through and fix this myself but when one has a rather large I.e., statewide database, it can be time-consuming to enter all this info. So I figure that since each admin has a relatively small batch to tend to, he or she can chance as needed.

Thank you.
 
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#2
The DB manager may chime in here but they don't want us to do that purely because it's duplicative of the subcatagories.

The subcategory already names the agency and /or service thus no need to name it again in the description field. That's my understanding.
 

DaveNF2G

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#4
This complaint will keep coming back up as long as the primary driver is database formatting instead of utility to the scanner end user.
 

HogDriver

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#5
The DB manager may chime in here but they don't want us to do that purely because it's duplicative of the subcatagories.

The subcategory already names the agency and /or service thus no need to name it again in the description field. That's my understanding.
I understand what you're saying but you already put duplicative info in the Alpha Tag! Now that scanners displays are larger and you have the option of using either alpha display or description, I don't see it being an issue anymore.

Right now I'm using lists I've created myself so I can customize them. If I were to use the GPS function with the Full Database, I'm back to the same issue. I really don't think it would take each administrator too much time to do it.

For what it's worth, consider it a safety issue! The user spends less time looking at the radio and more time on the road for us mobile units!
 
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#6
I understand what you're saying but you already put duplicative info in the Alpha Tag! Now that scanners displays are larger and you have the option of using either alpha display or description, I don't see it being an issue anymore.

Right now I'm using lists I've created myself so I can customize them. If I were to use the GPS function with the Full Database, I'm back to the same issue. I really don't think it would take each administrator too much time to do it.

For what it's worth, consider it a safety issue! The user spends less time looking at the radio and more time on the road for us mobile units!
It would take a lot of time actually. Since it's our standard not to, we would have to fix every listing.
 
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#7
It would take a lot of time actually. Since it's our standard not to, we would have to fix every listing.
I might be wrong, but maybe a batch/cron -type job could be run that would pre-pend the sub-category to the front of the description, thus avoiding each DBA needing to manually touch each description, while ensuring accuracy and saving time.

Just a thought,
 
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PJH

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#8
I'll chime in here, as I am a bit of a stickler for common naming practices.

A bit of history - there are quite a few listings in the DB nationwide after TRS.net became RR.com. AT the time (and before database aware products) listings were formatted a certain way.

As everything evolved, the formatting evolved with it and changes to our handbook also were made. It is a general policy that we do not cater to any one product, which is good.

I for one can't say I am happy with how Uniden or Whistler formats or pulls in the description fields - as you do get some repetition. As I own some of these products, I do get a chance to see what works best for all worlds (web service, product service) with happy mediums.

Also with that, with large statewide and regional trunked systems, it becomes a bit more interesting as we cannot have a breakdown of listings (without them getting incredibly ridicules or webservice) as we can in the conventional listings.

With that being said - I have gone in and standardized each state's railroad and federal listings as time permits. This allows persons to go into any state and expect to see the information formatted the same way - and display on the scanner the same way. It really helps those who live on state borders to identify which side of the line they are hearing.

In addition, I have been removing duplicate and triplicate information it the display fields.

If you are looking at Anytown OH Police, there will be a subcategory of "Anytown" in "Some County". So we have it established that we are looking in the Ohio Database, you have scrolled to "Some County" in that database and looking at the town of "Anytown".

On that same line, it says "Law Dispatch", and there are no other listings for Anytown PD.

Why does the description field need to state "Anytown Police Dispatch 1"?

It doesn't. Its verbose, and causes fields to be jumbled up with restated information. I will go in and change that description to "Police". We know its use, its in the function tag.

If all things work right for the display scanner users, you may see:

Some County
Anytown
Police

Much cleaner, same info.

I took a road trip this spring with a GPS enabled 536HP, and some of the stuff I saw come across, was, well - needed to be worked on.

Some of the limitations are due to the database structure, and others from the scanner manufacturer.

Personally I would love if Uniden (for conventional information) would drop the duplication of the county in the 2nd display line so that town names could be shown in their entirety vs seeing: Washington County - St Fra (rest off the screen). It already says "Washington County on the top...
 

PJH

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#10
We don't adjust database names etc so it works with a specific make or model. It is the responsibility of the scanner or software maker to take information from
The database and format it for their product.
 

HogDriver

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#11
I simply asked so that, as I was driving and I hear something of interest, I can look down and readily read what town or the transmission was from, minimizing the time my eyes are off the road.. I have conceded to just go to the 3-line display so see the town or county in large text, effectively eliminating much of the other, potentially interesting, data that happens to be on the 2-line display. It seems to be sufficient for my immediate needs.
 

DaveNF2G

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#12
We don't adjust database names etc so it works with a specific make or model. It is the responsibility of the scanner or software maker to take information from
The database and format it for their product.
A tremendous amount of time and effort are being expended to conform RRDB data to a standard that only produces an acceptable amount of information for a Home Patrol style display and to justify those decisions, mainly by blaming other manufacturers for any shortcomings in user friendliness. Perhaps your definition of "catering to" is different from the one in the dictionary.
 

wa8pyr

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#14
Same question, same response.

Folks, this is a discussion that's been going on for years, and our answer is still the same. PJ pretty much covered the basics in his responses above, but I'll amplify his response a bit.

As noted, we don't include the entity name in the Description field where it's already present in the Category or Subcategory, and showing it in the Description field would be double or even triple duplication. Some of the duplication which currently exists is a holdover from TrunkedRadio days, and as our administrators have time, they're cleaning things up to conform to the standards in the Handbook.

As regards what data is downloaded (despite the comments of some that we cater to a specific manufacturer), all of the information found in the database, including entity name, alias name and description, is available for download through the API. How the various scanner manufacturers and software developers utilize that data is in fact their decision, so it is their issue to address if the information isn't used correctly. I will add, however, that some software packages (Butel, for one) allow the user to specify whether to use the alias name or description in that location on the radio display, and I've found that it works just fine.

I do understand that some people like their data formatted a certain way (as do I), but we have to keep the database as generic as possible and balanced between a useful data download and a comfortable viewing experience on a web page; data duplication in both cases is unnecessary. What's in the database generally seems to work quite well, but it the data isn't quite up to individual preference, you're welcome to edit your downloaded data as desired.
 

JamesO

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#16
2 Letter State Designator Option/Request

Not sure how this will be received, but maybe it is something that can be thought about from many sides. Might not be a database issue, might be a manufacturer software/firmware issue, might be a combination of both?

For the Uniden HP scanners, as this is all I have been working with for now, when traveling and/or using the GPS function, in some areas of the county it gets rather confusing to know what you are listening to. This is also true when traveling to a new city that may be near one or more state borders.

Please be patient and hang with me here for a moment. At least for the US things are very different in some regions of the country.

For example if you are in the Midwest, it seems the states very large geographically and some people may not even drive out of their home state, but still travel a fair distance. You do have multi state borders, there is even the "4 Corners" area, but I think if people focus on the idea that something works for say Dallas which is typically 100+ miles from most borders is very different that say setting something up for Rhode Island or Delaware. So it is possible some people may be "blind" or unaware of this specific problem.

But in the Northeast of the US, you can travel very short distances and go through 2-3 states. Many of these states are broken up into tiny Cities or Boros. For example where I live, I am 2 miles from MD and DC as the crow flies. But I have lived here a long time and I know the names of most all of the cities and counties around me. But if is was to travel to say Wilmington, DE, I would be approximately 10-15 miles to NJ and PA and would probably not know the names of the surrounding towns, cities and boros and which state they actually reside in.

It would be VERY helpful to have the option of the 2 letter State Code to proceed a System Name or identifier. Again, not sure if this is possible and how it would be best resolved, but it is a real problem in some areas of the country. Being able to lock out systems from a State you just left or are driving parallel to for a few hours with a simple temporary lock out would be very useful option. Or to be able to understand "Jonesboro" is not in the state you are currently driving in and you could ignore or discount some of these transmissions when you could quickly see the transmission is in State XX.

Not to ruffle feathers, just want to plant the seeds to at least have this option be discussed. It might be a combination of the way Sentinel grabs and formats data and maybe even a firmware tweak that allows a user to toggle a 2 letter state prefix to be displayed on the scanner for travel purposes. Whether this is while using GPS when driving or even visiting a new city on business or vacation.

Maybe this will start some productive discussion. With many of the scanners now database driven along with GPS enabled scanning, this seems to be a real world issue that should be considered.

Might be time for me to duck and cover, but I appreciate anyone that can see the usefulness of this request.
 
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