[OSM-dev] User-friendly interface to OSM POIs

Nolan Darilek nolan at thewordnerd.info
Fri Oct 29 17:41:46 BST 2010

Hash: SHA1

My OSM-based navigation app is finally maturing to the point where users
can add POIs, and I hope to add search soon. Only, in diving into the
OSM recommendations on tagging map features, I'm having a hard time
wrapping my mind around how users might search for points, or easily
contribute them to the OSM database.

Say, for instance, a user wishes to search for nearby restaurants. How
might one design a search interface that queries an OSM database for
this information?

At the moment, I'm using a freeform text box that sends a query to
multiple back-end agents. Current candidates are Yahoo's geocoding API
for addresses and, if I'm allowed to do so by its TOS, Mapquest's API
for nearby POIs.

But say someone types in "restaurants". I'm not sure how to transition
from that to a meaningful OSM query. Singularize it, obviously, but the
features page would seem to indicate that searching for
"amenity=restaurant" isn't enough. Leaving aside the issue of whether or
not fast food is in fact food, I'd also have to search for that, plus
food_court and maybe a few others I've missed. And that's just for the
case of wanting to find a restaurant. I'm sure there are more that I've
missed, where a common category would translate into several
combinations of tag queries.

So I'm wondering how people have implemented this, if anyone in fact
has? Right now it seems like I'd have to map common words like
"restaurant" to combinations of tag queries. Has anyone created such a
list of category keywords and mappings? Many can be intelligently
handled I'm sure, but there are likely quite a few that would need to
search multiple tag combinations to provide the most meaningful results.
Or maybe this freeform text field isn't the best approach and instead I
should just have a dropdown list of categories?

The problem is similar for adding points. I want to give users the
ability to add their own tags, and to see all the tags assigned to a
given point, but it'd be great if I could just click a button or
something and have my app request information specific to a given tag
type. Has anyone had success with a UI for doing this, and if so, again
has some sort of tag mapping been created (I.e. "the
"amenity=restaurant" tag is related to cuisine, so allow that to be
entered if desired.)

Version: GnuPG v1.4.10 (GNU/Linux)
Comment: Using GnuPG with Mozilla - http://enigmail.mozdev.org/


More information about the dev mailing list