# What is the difference between the CF standard_names platform_id and platform_name

The two CF standard names platform_id and platform_name strike me as being redundantly similar. From their definition in the CF standard name table:

platform_id:
alias: station_wmo_id
A variable with the standard name of platform_id contains strings which help to identify the platform from which an observation was made.
For example, this may be a WMO station identification number.
A "platform" is a structure or vehicle that serves as a base for mounting sensors. Platforms include, but are not limited to, satellites, aeroplanes, ships, buoys, instruments, ground stations, and masts.

platform_name:
alias: station_description
A variable with the standard name of platform_name contains strings which help to identify the platform from which an observation was made.
For example, this may be a geographical place name such as "South Pole" or the name of a meteorological observing station.
A "platform" is a structure or vehicle that serves as a base for mounting sensors. Platforms include, but are not limited to, satellites, aeroplanes, ships, buoys, instruments, ground stations, and masts.

Are there contexts where these are used interchangeably? Or conversely, where the distinction between them is quite distinct?

• Consider asking this question here: github.com/cf-convention/discuss/issues Oct 29 '20 at 22:18
• I remember discussing this in person with some of the people involved in the CF conventions some years ago, unfortunately I don't remember the conclusion.
– gerrit
Oct 30 '20 at 10:07
• In short, when you have two similarly named fields with one ending in id and the other ending in name, the one ending in id is for computers to use (and is supposed to have unique values for each entity) and the one ending in name is for humans to use (and may or may not be unique, depending on the data model). Nov 2 '20 at 22:56