[Tagging] Relationship between place=* and name=*

Michael Montani michael.montani at un.org
Tue Jan 26 17:48:08 UTC 2021

Hi all,

I wanted to ask one doubt on the usage of place=* nodes with name=*, especially when mapping villages in Africa. Is it mandatory or highly suggested?

The wiki definition of place=*<https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:place> states:

"Used to indicate that a particular location is known by a particular name, to indicate what sort of "place" it is. A place tag should exist for every significant human settlements (city, town, suburb, etc.) and also for notable unpopulated, named places."

which in my opinion is like saying human settlements cannot exist if they don't have a name. The general practice I often saw when mapping human settlements in Africa is to add place nodes within residential areas (with exception of (sometimes) place=isolated_dwelling and (always) place=locality), whether or not the name=* is known.
Indeed when mapping rural settlements, especially from satellite images, toponimy information cannot be retrieved even though human settlements are there. Furthermore, wrt to landuse=residential areas, place=* carries approximate population information (which is quite useful and well established in humanitarian mapping).

Many times rural settlements in Africa have names:

  *   which are coming from family chiefs (patronimics) or important people that lived there (ex1<https://www.openstreetmap.org/node/3097654804>, ex2<https://www.openstreetmap.org/node/3097654826>) (same as some places in EU / US though!)
  *   which describe the purpose of the settlement or job of the people living there (ex3<https://www.openstreetmap.org/node/7503479607>, which translated from Hausa would be 'Yan Gero Along the House of Saba, the Seller of Dawa', with 'Dawa' being a local food)
  *   sometimes missing, but can be inferred from the names of amenities (eg schools) which are coming from imports (like ex4<https://www.openstreetmap.org/node/7777758115>)

and, as you can imagine, many times they couldn't have a name at all, especially place=isolated_dwelling, as they would be described in other ways (like people/clan living there or landscape features to navigate up to that place).

My question is not a matter of rendering, but about the definition of place in the wiki, and whether you believe or not name=* could be sometimes skipped when mapping places (try to run 'node["place"]["name"!~".*"]({{bbox}});' on Overpass anywhere in Africa...) or the wiki definition should be revised.

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