But the addresses are given with an extra two numbers--it's 2500 if you're at 25th Street. A mile is 5280 feet, so each number is about two feet! Is that really ... necessary? Could we have cumulatively saved a few man-years of writing and typing effort if we'd started out with one fewer digit a couple centuries ago?
Maybe. But turn the question around: what can you do with this extra information?
- Differentiate between the front door of a walk-up and the door of the basement apartment in the same building
- Estimate the width of a property by checking the numbers of the properties to either side
- Determine whether a car accident occurred because someone was driving on the wrong side of the road
- Provide the length, width, and depth of a pothole
- Fly a small airplane between telephone poles, blindfolded
- Describe the exact location of an individual seen on CCTV, for example, to call in an artillery strike
- Track continental drift