[OSM-dev] [OSM-talk] How to fix wonky coastline?

Robert Hart Robert.Hart at BuroHappold.com
Thu Mar 1 15:31:28 GMT 2007

As the OSM dataset grows richer, this issue is going to apply to any
other large areas: administrative regions such as countries, countries,
national parks, etc, and possibly many other things that I haven't
thought of. 

There are two sides to the problem:

1. Editing of incomplete objects is flaky. I think this could be
significantly improved, but could require updates to both the server and

2. Partial areas consisting only of the segments within a bounding box
(unlike partial ways) do not fully define the area of that bounding box
that is included in the area.

A few vague ideas spring to mind.... for example:

we could create the concept of "phantom" nodes and segments. These would
be inserted as appropriate into an area by the API when OSM data for a
given bounding box is retrieved. This might be as simple as adding a
node for each corner of the bounding box that falls within the area.
Again, some editor support would be needed, particular if multiple
bounding boxes are to be combined correctly, but I think this is no more
onerous than for proper editing of partial ways.

To be efficient the database may need to internally split larger areas
into square tiles, but I think with a bit of thought this could be done
in a way that is entirely transparent to clients.

Thoughts? Alternatives?

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