[Tagging] Is a reference a name if it is actually used as a name on the ground ?

Jean-Marc Liotier jm at liotier.org
Fri Feb 5 23:14:04 UTC 2016

Hello from Senegal - talk-sn at openstreetmap.org has a question about 
which we would like tagging at openstreetmap.org's opinion before we settle 
it for good.

For residential streets, we have a well-known and documented naming 
scheme as follows:

- name=* bears the official name
- loc_name=* bears a local name, which is often an old name but what 
matters is that it is a locally well used name
- ref=* bears a government official universal reference, which 
abbreviates the district and suffixes it with a number (for example "GY-63")

So far, so good. Now, the problem is that not all streets have a name - 
actually most streets are unnamed, so value of the ref=* is actually 
what people use as a name... It is not a name but it is used as a name. 
If it quacks like a duck... So here is the dilemma:

On the one hand, the content of ref=* is not officially a name - so one 
might argue that it has no title to being the content of name=*

On the other hand, the content of ref=* is used as a name - so it may 
just as well be argued that it is legitimate as a name=* value.

So here is the proposal so far most popular with the 
talk-sn at openstreetmap.org crowd: if no proper name=* exists, then the 
value of ref=* is copied to name=* - but of course any name that might 
be surveyed at a later time will overwrite that.

What does tagging at openstreetmap.org think about that ?

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