[Tagging] Subtag for place=locality?

Joseph Eisenberg joseph.eisenberg at gmail.com
Mon Apr 15 01:55:55 UTC 2019

Currently place=locality is main in the database from imports, and it
is also used as a way to tag a feature which is not currently rendered
by most map renders so that the name will show.

Since place=locality was originally defined as "a named place that has
no population" it's easy to see how this (mis)use came about.

There are certainly places that really should be tagged place=locality.

The wiki mentions places that used to have a population, but are not
longer inhabited; eg "ghost towns" and railway junctions in the USA.
This features are often still shown on other maps, and may still have
a sign that shows the location, but even if they are only know by
local knowledge they may be useful for orientation.

For example, the locations of old mining camps by the river were still
used by fire fighters and police to specify locations of incidents in
my home area in rural California.

See https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Tag:place=locality

What we need is a way to distinguish the correctly-tagged features and
those that are double-tagging for rendering. I would suggest that a
subtag such as "locality=*" could be useful.


This tag is already used 65,000 times, but actually on boundaries; it
was used for an import in Ireland with the values locality=townland
and locality=subtownland. (These seem to be incorrect usages, because
townlands seem to be populated places)

Besides the import, it's been used 26 times with locality=junction
(which could also be tagged railway=junction
https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Tag:railway%3Djunction)? The other
values look incorrect; they are all populated places, or backwards

So I think the key "locality=*" could be used to specify the type of
locality. This would allow database users to decide which localities
to render, out of the 1.3 million

The most important value would be one for a locality that is a former
populated place but no longer has a population.

Ideas for the value?

locality=ghost_town seems too American

locality=formerly_inhabited could work but is rather wordy

locality=abandoned_farm or =abandoned_hamlet might work?

Are there other types of valid localities which cannot be better
described with a different tag, other than former inhabited places?


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