[Tagging] We should stop using hyphens to denote address ranges

Sarah Hoffmann lonvia at denofr.de
Wed Aug 19 08:46:30 UTC 2020

On Tue, Aug 18, 2020 at 11:29:50PM +0200, Colin Smale wrote:
> I think you misunderstand hyphenated addresses in Queens. The second
> part of the hyphenation is not a flat/apartment number. As an example,
> the Dunkin Donuts at the corner of 31st St and 36th Ave has an address
> of 31-02 36th Ave, with no apartment number. The US Postal Service
> considers this to be equivalent to 3102 36th Ave, and will deliver mail
> to the same place regardless of whether you include the hyphen, though
> the address written on the entrance is hyphenated. Most building numbers
> in Queens have a hyphen before the last two digits. 
> Thanks for the explanation.. It is indeed a while ago since I was there.
> Any idea how this is structured in IT systems? Is "house number"
> alphanumeric? Are the two parts stored separately? Or is it simply a
> question of formatting, inserting a "-" before the final two digits? 
> Maybe we should use a different character to indicate a range, such as a
> slash? 

No matter what character you suggest, there will be some place in the world
where that is a valid addition to a house number.

Lets be honest, the main reason why we keep discussing how to get a range into
the addr:housenumber tag is good old tagging for the renderer:
addr:housenumber gets rendered on the map, a different tag doesn't. I've
even had people arguing that they must use housenumber ranges because single
housenumbers do not fit the map[1]. This is a slippery slope to go down.
It makes the tag less and less useful for uses beyond rendering.

[1] https://github.com/osm-search/Nominatim/issues/565#issuecomment-315131285

I'm strongly in favour of coming up with a new tag for ranges on building/nodes.
I'd be happy to quickly add such a tag to be searchable and I'm sure it would also be
fairly simple to convince the carto people to add support for an additional tagging
schema here.

Martin's suggestion of addr:housenumber:start/addr:housenumber:end wasn't half way bad.
Something like addr:housenumber_range=<from>-<to> with an explicit definition of the
hyphen as separator would work as well but add the restriction that you can't have
hyphened housenumbers in interpolation ranges (probably rare enough to be okay).

We'd also need a new tag to indicate the interpolation steps odd/even/all. It's not really
a good idea to reuse addr:interpolation because on a building outline it becomes ambigious:
you'd have to check for the presence of other tags to figure out if the way denotes an
interpolation line or an address range on a building.


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