[Tagging] Avoid using place=locality - find more specific tags instead

Joseph Eisenberg joseph.eisenberg at gmail.com
Tue Apr 16 07:38:45 UTC 2019

We recently discussed place=locality, and I now believe this tag
should be avoided, and perhaps deprecated.

To summarize, most of these features were added in North America from
GNIS imports; almost 20% are in Alaska alone (>200,000!), and they
were used for all sorts of features that are not populated places:
abandoned hamlets, former mining camps, construction sites, railroad
and highway junctions, former locations of Native Alaskan villages,

Martin and Warin suggested to use abandoned:place=* for those which
were former place=hamlet, =village, isolated_dwelling, etc.

Several people mentioned ways they have used this tag for a "place
without population that has a name:" for example, to tag crossroads,
hills, a wood, a field, a pair islands, a group of a few lakes, an
informal landmark / route mark, an abandoned airstrip, a proposed
airstrip, etc.

However, most of these suggested uses have other tags that could be
more specific
crossroads: highway=junction
railway junction: railway=junction
hill: natural=peak or natural=ridge or natural=hill
wood: natural=wood
field: landuse=farmland or =meadow
islands: place=archipelago
airstrip: proposed:aerodrome=airstrip + abandoned=yes;

Two of the examples need new tags created:
3 lakes with a name: needs a new tag, perhaps natural=lake_group as a
multipolygon relation?
An informal landmark (eg an old car wheel up on a tree) - perhaps
there is something for this already.

I believe that place=locality was a reasonable idea when it was
proposed in 2007, and few tags had been developed. But now, over 11
years later, we have more specific tags for almost everything that is
currently tagged this way.

My suggestion: check out all the features tagged with place=locality
in your area. If they have a more specific tag or a more precise tag
can be added, please remove the place=locality tag.

(If this results in the name no longer rendering in the
Openstreetmap-carto, please check the list of issues and add a comment
if you think that the feature should have a name label rendered on a
general map: http://github.com/gravitystorm/openstreetmap-carto/issues


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