[OSM-dev] Street name abbreviations

Laurence Penney lorp at lorp.org
Wed Mar 21 14:57:51 GMT 2007

[Resubjected from "Re: Osmarender map beautifier question"]

Regarding abbreviations, in practice I've noticed maps using a variety 
of abbreviations for the same thing, depending on the space available.

For instance, Boulevard would have multiple levels of contraction:

Boulevard -> Blvd. -> Bvd. -> Bd. -> B.
Buildings -> Bldgs. -> Blds. -> Bs.
Street -> St. -> S.

The "Bs." example above occurs on the A-Z map near me; you won't find 
that abbreviation in the key, only Bldgs. The map-makers seem to value 
pragmatism - you can drop all but the most distinguishing part of a 
name and still make some sense - over regularity or omission. Thus we 
should chop the common parts of names, up to the initial letter (e.g. 
S for Street), before going for our renderers' centring approach which 
chops beginning and end equally.

Regarding the period, it does usually make an appearance on paper maps 
such as A-Z. I think this is a good thing, reminding people they can 
look it up in a key. But such maps have high enough resolution to 
ensure it's not confused with something else, so I think it's best to 
drop it from maps for the screen.

This list is the "General Abbreviations" from the A-Z Premier Map of 
Bristol. It's a subset of the abbreviations they use, because they can 
be further contracted.

All. Alley
App. Approach
Arc. Arcade
Av. Avenue
Bk. Back
Blvd. Boulevard
Bri. Bridge
B'way. Broadway
Bldgs. Buildings
Bus. Business
Cvn. Caravan
C'way. Causeway
Cen. Centre
Cl. Close
Comm. Common
Cnr. Corner
Cotts. Cottages
Ct. Court
Cres. Crescent
Cft. Croft
Dr. Drive
E. East
Est. Estate
Fld. Field
Flds. Fields
Gdn. Garden
Gdns. Gardens
Ga. Gate
Gt. Great
Grn. Green
Gro. Grove
Hgts. Heights
Ho. House
Ind. Industrial
Info. Information
La. Lane
Lit. Little
Lwr. Lower
Mnr. Manor
Mans. Mansions
Mkt. Market
Mdw. Meadow
Mdws. Meadows
M. Mews
Mt. Mount
Mus. Museum
Nth. North
Pde. Parade
Pk. Park
Pl. Place
Pct. Precinct
Res. Residential
Ri. Rise
Rd. Road
Rdbt. Roundabout
Shop. Shopping
Sth. South
Sq. Square
St. Street
Ter. Terrace
Twr. Tower
Trad. Trading
Up. Upper
Va. Vale
Vw. View
Vs. Villas
Vis. Visitors
Wlk. Walk
W. West
Yd. Yard

They also give a similarly long list of abbreviations just for this 
locality: K'wd = Kingswood, Clif = Clifton, etc.

-- Laurence

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