[Tagging] New tag proposal: 'addr=milestone'

Jorge Aguirre jorge.aguirre at kaart.com
Wed Oct 2 02:39:13 UTC 2019

Greetings my fellow OSM colleagues. 

In all fairness, I think it should not be as difficult to find a good way to facilitate entering a complementary address tag, one that is very much needed in our part of the world - one which applies to and needed in most of the world actually. 

This has been an interesting experience for me, to find so many different opinions and points of view for something that for others is so obviously needed. Who could have guessed this? There are barely just over 5,700,000 contributors, as of some time today, helping with this project.

So hopefully I will help clarify with these following comments:

> I think we're close to hitting the record for how misleading a tag name can
> be.

Getting into analyzing the true definition of an actual ‘milestone’ - in this case - is needless. I feel we cannot all become ‘purist’ and try to find the proper definitions for terms to be then used as ’universal tags' applicable to the entire world. The best we can all do is adapt and apply what we have at hand. So, things may not be perfect, but they are good enough to use and and apply to many different cases. Most people have come to appreciate the simplicity of using and how versatile the OSM project really is. 

> This is a proposal for a tag addr:milestone to allow us to specify a
> distance in kilometres
> (not miles), of a house (not a milestone) and the nearest milestone isn't a
> stone but a sign.

The existent tag known as ‘highway:milestone’ and it’s definition found here: [https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Tag:highway%3Dmilestone] has been previously created, accepted and is currently being used by the entire OSM community. The point I have based this ‘addr:milestone’ proposal on, is what the general concept of the ‘:milestone' stands for: a location marker - which may be made of any material including ’stone’ - and which it’s primary function is to indicate a location on a road - which coincidentally can match (or not match) the distance - in kilometers (or miles), as these are internationally accepted measuring units mostly useful for these longer distances. But the ‘milestone’ as such, is still only a reference point on any given road.

>  A distance
> from where, exactly?  A highway has two ends, and there may be a milestone 9km from each end.

The ‘milestone’ markers usually indicate a location - and not necessarily the distance - but in either case are used as reference points.

As we are now using Guatemala for this example, there is actually a point called ‘Kilómetro Cero’, a plaque on a cement sidewalk, located at the entrance of the National Palace of Culture from which all major highways in Guatemala begin. Even the 30,000 kilometer-long Pan-American Highway which runs from Alaska to the Southern tip of Argentina (with the exception of the Darién Gap in Panama) runs through Guatemala West to East has ‘milestones’ or markers indicating the distance from the National Palace in downtown Guatemala City towards the Mexican border on the West side, and towards the El Salvador border on the East side.  The kilometer markers (aka 'milestones') have one thing in common - whether you are moving to or from any of the borders - the further you are from Guatemala City, the higher the kilometer reading is and viceversa. There is a starting point and there is a finishing point.


> For the same purpose of this proposal I used addr:milestone:distance=*
> but I agree with Paul that there's no need for the milestone in the
> middle.Real distance or not is the same for distance=* when used with
> highway=milestone.

Unfortunately, DISTANCE could require being too exact in a very subjective and too ambiguous ‘milestone’ related addressing system.  The concept of either of these is not and cannot be an exact science. Most any known address system I’ve heard of is just based on proximity to other known references. If otherwise, any address would require the use of longer and more complex numbers such as ‘Km. 9.47836235’ for us to be able to find an address to get to our hotel - provided we know where to start measuring that distance. Fortunately we are usually capable of 'filling in the blanks' enough to find our destinations through this planet. 

A tag name using the term ‘milestone’ to locate an address - as opposed to using a tag with the term ‘distance’ - in which that distance is measured from a ‘milestone’ (which may or may not be even there) makes no sense to me. As occurs in real life, these distances are not even close to being exact on any addressing system - they are only approximate distances from a reference point and usually expressed in round one (with any luck 2) decimal numbers - give or take a few hundred meters…


> Milestones are not necessarily located at the true distance of A to B. Not sure why this is the case, but I know that this is true for at least Thailand. 

Think of the ‘milestone’ as a point of reference. The ‘milestone’ only provides a general idea of how far or how close you are to a destination. Once you go beyond and reach the next ‘milestone’ you may need to turn around and go slower to find what you are seeking.


In all honesty, I’ve always thought: "Why don’t we save us the trouble of guessing and finding locations and addresses - and just switch over the entire global addressing system to the simple latitude and longitude system?” Although it would save everyone tons of time, it would also take all the fun out of finding things scattered out on a global shaped surface, while trying to decipher poorly named tags!

In any case, the purpose of this proposal is simply to create a Tag to use for adding addresses which include either ‘Km' or ‘Mi’ (which are directly related with a 'milestone’ on the road) as part of the actual address as a whole.  These addresses actually do exist in large quantities in most countries throughout the world.  

If the tag name [addr:milestone] I have suggested to use for this concept is not liked or is in any way unacceptable for use is just a side-tracked problem to be resolved. - The whole purpose of it all is to find a tag with which anyone can easily enter an address, including (or not) the ‘Km/Mi’ nomenclature it contains into the OSM data in an orderly fashion. 

Since we are already discussing this - let’s just finish the job and find a proper ‘liked by everyone' tag for it.


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