The 2012 Summer Olympic Games are upon us in the city of London and the excitement of the games is spreading throughout the globe.
In DataGeek speak, London is the capital city of what used to be the country of England. The country of England is now one portion of the country of United Kingdom (UK) whose full name is “United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.” The UK is also sometimes affectionately called Great Britain by many people throughout the world, but apparently Great Britain is really a geographic name of the largest island in the UK and is supposed to only include England, Scotland, and Wales. To make it even more confusing, Britain is apparently comprised of England and Wales only, perhaps the addition of Scotland to Britain is what makes it “Great?”
Some folks call the set of islands which comprise the UK as the “British Isles,” but the people of Ireland (where most of my bloodline is apparently from) apparently don’t enjoy this because they don’t believe their island to be a British Island (or Isle). Apparently, “The Islands of Britain and Ireland” is a more politically correct term. Before writing this post I had no idea that the “The Islands of Britain and Ireland” consists of around 5,000 actual islands, giving new meaning to me for the saying “No man is an island.”
In the world of data we’ve tried to represent complex real-world concepts into simple data structures and clearly this is one of those cases. If there ever were a data quality problem with the nomenclature of locations, I’m pretty sure London’s a good place to start because it’s the capital of the UK. Adding to the overall London confusion is the fact that there are many cities in the world named London, not just the capital of the UK as seen in this article which illustrates a fantastic example of a London data quality issue: “Hey, That’s the Wrong London!”
For me, well, I’m looking forward to the Olympic Games because my guess is that there is no way one silly little blog post can remedy the geographical name data quality issues. These issues began well before my time and will certainly continue well past the end of the 2012 Olympic Games.
Until next time…Rich
the Data Roundtable.