On Thu, 2010-07-15 at 16:54 +0100, Richard Quadling wrote:

> Hi.
> It seems that users cannot enter a vehicle registration 100% accurately.
> We have recently released a small mobile web app which allows service
> engineers/inspectors to enter a vehicle registration number and a pin
> number to get service history for the vehicle.
> We are getting around a 40% fail rate on the registrations for the
> first time of entry. This drops to around a 1.5% error rate on the
> second attempt.
> Most of the time it is simply a case of 2 letters/numbers being
> swapped. Sometimes a letter/number is entered for a number/letter.
> 0/O
> 1/I/l
> 2/Z
> 3/E
> 4/A
> 5/S
> 6/G
> 7/T
> 8/B
> 9/q
> Some of the registrations are private and don't obey any format (NOTE:
> Trailer registrations aren't the same as vehicle registrations - they
> can be anything the owner wants. In some cases we have them as
> straight numbers - 1, 2, 3, etc.).
> I'm looking for is a way to compare what they've entered against a
> known list and to provide my 10 best guesses.
> What I'm stuck on is what criteria do I use.
> I think something like the old style colour Mastermind game (right
> colour in the right place, right colour wrong place, wrong colour).
> But that's going to be slow. One of the contracts has over 30,000
> vehicles/trailers available to them.
> Any suggestions really.
> Regards,
> Richard.

I'm not sure how well it would work for things like a registration
number, but metaphone keys are pretty good for detecting similar words
based on phonetic sounds. If you don't get a match first time, maybe
convert all the digits in the reg no. to letters, and create a metaphone
key that you compare against the list of other keys in your DB that you
already created in the same manner (you'll need to create these first

Like I said, I'm not sure how well it will work, but it might possibly
reduce the failure rate a bit.

Also, there's the electric shock treatment. Find out which engineers are
the worst typists, and... well you get the idea!


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