[Tagging] Tagging town/village/hamlet - am I misunderstanding something?

Greg Troxel gdt at lexort.com
Fri Mar 31 22:19:04 UTC 2017

Kevin Kenny <kevin.b.kenny+osm at gmail.com> writes:

> I tag boundaries when there are boundaries. In many places in suburban
> New York, the hamlets (not self-governing in any way) have well known
> boundaries, and the locals can tell you with some consistency who does
> and does not live in the named community.

That sounds fine to me.

> New York's settlement hierarchy is very messy indeed, and indeed
> not quite hierarchical.

I have not explained myself well enough.

Each state, more or less, has a set of rules about governments and

Separate from any rules, there are places that have names and
populations. It is this that I am calling settlement hierarchy.

Of course, often the named places and legal boundaries line up.

> Fort Montgomery is one of these. It stops at the parks, the river, the
> village of Highland Falls, and the West Point reservation.
> A node for the 'center' isn't a bad idea, and for Fort Montgomery, the human
> 'center' of the settlement is the couple of blocks of Route 9W that have
> the post office, the fire station and the school.
> Can you give me an example in OSM of the type of relation you have in mind,
> so that I could ape it? If such a relation is described on the Wiki, my
> Google-fu is failing me.

I heard about such relations long ago, but I have not really dealt with
them.  Around me there are nodes from the GNIS "populated places"



and perhaps


This is messy, because there is the administrative center and then there
is the place that most would consider the point that typifies the place.

For New York, the epicenter of  newyork-ness is arguably not Albany, but
perhaps Penn Station in Manhattan.

For small towns, people would almost certainly tag the place that
everyone thinks of as the town center.  In mine, it's where we have our
original traffic light, common, town hall, and church.    We have a new
town office building, which happens to be in the same cluster, but in
some towns it might be amile away.  But still, that's just the town
office location, not the town center.

So I think we probably need a new relation member in addition to
admin_centre which is just "centre", meaning a node which is the
human-geography center of the administrative unit.

That leaves place=locality and other things on nodes, since those sorts
of settlement terms tend not to have boundaries.
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