[OSM-dev] Nearby similar street names (was Straw man design for OSM postcode database creator)

David Earl david at frankieandshadow.com
Sun Feb 3 10:37:49 GMT 2008

On 03/02/2008 09:47, John McKerrell wrote:
> I haven't been paying attention to this so I'm not trying to pass  
> judgement here, the claim about "most towns, at least don't have more  
> than one street of any name" piqued my interest though. I just  
> checked, there's 15 Church Roads in Liverpool, 4 High Streets and 5-7  
> Station Roads. Just thought you might be interested in those stats  
> (found using the Multimap geocoder, unfortunately I haven't got  
> anything like all of those mapped).

That's true, but Liverpool is a big city which has suburbs. The name 
finder will tell you that it is High Street, near Olive Mount near 
Liverpool, which nearly always works(*). (Unfortunately Tom's 
presentation of the results on the OSM home page suppresses quite a lot 
of the context information that the namefinder supplies, so you don't 
get to see this, but you do if you do it from www.frankieandshadow.com/osm)

However, this is more than a problem of searching - it's more 
fundamental IMO - a problem for all users of the map, both in visual 
form and routing. It is particularly 'High Street' in the UK though 
there are others - Church Street/Road as John says, and Station Road are 

If I find this situation in neighbouring villages (suburbs, boroughs...) 
I always disambiguate them, which helps the name finder, people looking 
at the map and so on.

So take the road which runs between Swavesey and Over in Cambridgeshire 
It starts out Station Road in Swavesey, turns into Over Road after 
crossing the now disused railway line (**) and then becomes Station Road 
as it enters Over. So I've put "Station Road (Swavesey)" and "Station 
Road (Over)" on the map.

This is different from Eccles Road: 

which runs from the centre of one town, Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire 
to the centre of another, Whaley Bridge, a distance of about 6km. Unlike 
the Station Road's above the road is not two separate Eccles Roads in 
two towns, but (somewhat unusually) a road which maintains its name 
between settlements.


(*) if they are closer than 3km it doesn't because they won't be 
recorded separately unless they are disambiguated in the name.

http://www.frankieandshadow.com/osm/?find=Church+Road%2C+Liverpool gives 
Church Road, Walton-on-the-Hill; Church Road, Egerton Park; Church Road, 
Olive Mount (twice);  Church Road, Waterloo; Church Road, Wavertree 
Nook; and more...

(**) which will soon become the highway=bus_guideway we've discussed 
here before.

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