[Tagging] Use of the name=* on features internal to named areas

Brian M. Sperlongano zelonewolf at gmail.com
Thu Dec 31 15:50:27 UTC 2020

I recently became aware of a tagging dispute[1] regarding the use of the
name=* tag on features within a college[2] in Maryland, USA.  On review of
the wiki, I found the documentation did not directly address this type of
situation.  Since we're talking about a tag with 80M usages and a tagging
dispute, I figured this warranted discussion.

The tagging in question is constructing name=* tags for features within the
college, using the college's name prepended.  For example, the tennis
courts are labelled "CCBC Tennis Court #1", "CCBC Tennis Court #2", etc.
The section of the campus that has the athletic fields is tagged
landuse=recreation_ground and named "CCBC Recreation Area".  There is also
a "CCBC Main Score Board" next to the baseball field, a "CCBC Pitching
Cage", and even a "CCBC Flower Garden".

The wiki article "Names" has a section[3] titled "Names are not for
descriptions" which has only a limited discussion of this concept, e.g. "it
is completely sufficient to tag building=house, it is wrong to add also

I would recommend adding a paragraph to that article that reads something

Do not construct names for features by combining the name of an enclosing
feature with a description.  For example, an unnamed fountain in XYZ Park
should not be tagged with 'name=XYZ Park Fountain'.  Internal features to a
named area should only be tagged with a name when there is some verifiable
indication (such as signage) of the feature's name independent of the
enclosing area.  When the internal feature is named, it should still not be
combined with the enclosing area's name.  A feature named 'Smith Fountain'
within 'XYZ Park' should be tagged 'name=Smith Fountain' but not 'name=XYZ
Park Smith Fountain'.

Is that an accurate description of our customs and conventions for name=*

[1] https://www.openstreetmap.org/changeset/95882458
[2] https://www.openstreetmap.org/way/158082404
[3] https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Names#Names_are_not_for_descriptions
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