[Tagging] Can OSM become a geospacial database?

Marc Gemis marc.gemis at gmail.com
Sun Dec 9 11:08:22 UTC 2018

Alsmost any proper name can be used without it's common name depending
on the context, e.g. if you are discussing "Atlantic ocean" with your
friend you can say just "Atlantic".

I don't think this is true in all languages. We never do this e.g. for
the North Sea, which is Noordzee in Dutch. We never say "Noord". The
Dutch name for this sea, is never Noord, in whatever context. For some
other objects we might do drop it, e.g. churches (kerk in Dutch).

On the other hand if we talk about the "Atheneum van Berchem" , local
people will first drop the name of the village (Berchem) and just use
atheneum. They will not say "Berchem".

> So this topic was raised as a suggestion to distinguish between proper and common names strictly to put only proper names into "name" field and common names into some other field taking into account that language specific common names very often differ from the generic categories adopted in OSM.
> Without that distinction OSM cannot be called a true geospacial database because there are no fields which let you query data by it's real category (common name), you currently have to do that by analysing the "name" filed.

We have tags for that (waterway=stream, ditch, ... / amenity=school,
college, university, kindergarten), I don't understand why we should
change the usage of name for that. The purpose of tags is to indicate
what the thing is. One can add additional tags to the objects if one
wants, but changing the usage of the name field after more than 10
years would be very difficult to implement.


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