[Tagging] Can OSM become a geospacial database?
kevin.b.kenny at gmail.com
Thu Dec 6 16:28:44 UTC 2018
On Thu, Dec 6, 2018 at 10:58 AM Eugene Podshivalov <yaugenka at gmail.com>
> Let's look into some other examples.
> Settlements are supposed to be defined with
> place=city/town/village/hamlet/isolated_dwelling tags. The value depends on
> the size of the settlement.
> But in Belarus for example we call our settlements "город" (can be city or
> town), "городской посёлок" (can be town or village),
> "посёлок"/"деревня"/"хутор" (can be village or hamlet or isolated_dwelling).
> When people use the maps created form OSM database they don't care about
> the generic OSM categorization of settlements. They need their local
> category names.
> So what tag should be put those local category names in?
If it's something that people usually use in referring to the place, put it
in the name. So 'Nizhny Novgorod' would be named thus (sorry, I don't have
the time to try to enter Cyrillic on a US keyboard).
If it refers to an administrative entity, put an appropriate level in the
Where I live, the formal designation of a place usually fails to match the
OSM definition. We have formal 'hamlet's that have 60000 inhabitants, and
chartered cities with only a few hundred. We use boundary=administrative
with an appropriate admin_level (and I've been lobbying for
administrative:entity to give a word for the legal designation: county,
borough, city, township, village, hamlet, ward, precinct, community
district, ... but that hasn't gotten any significant traction yet). The
'admin_level' is not strictly hierarchical here, because our system for
drawing administrative boundaries is, "there's no system: deal with it!"
The OSM definition is useful for mapping - deciding at what level to render
the name and in how big a font, for instance. Few people around here
actually care when using a map what formal political organization the place
has. Whether the community I grew up in was a Hamlet or a Village made very
little practical difference. You'd have a different set of local
politicians, and the cops might work for the county instead of the town,
but the type of place was clearly much less important than the borders of
If it's a question about the common name rather than the formal name,
that's usually dealt with by name_1, etc. That way, the city called "New
York" can be disambiguated, "New York City" (informal, very commonly used
to make it clear that it's New York City and not New York State), "The City
of New York" (what appears on most of its legal papers), "The City of
Greater New York" (the way it's styled in its charter).
If it's neither a component of the name of the place nor a formal
designation of a political boundary, can you explain more why it's
important? Is it immediately obvious in the field that one thing is a
'gorod' and another is a 'gorodskoy posyolok,' while a third is a
'perevnya?' If so, what is the difference? What's the problem we're trying
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