[talk-au] place equals what BY features

cleary osm at 97k.com
Sun May 15 00:38:38 UTC 2016

I think using services is more useful.  The classification "city" is a
problem as it has multiple meanings (it can mean the inner city central
business district or it can mean the larger city local government area
or it can mean the very much larger area of surrounding communities) but
other classifications can be straightforward.  In my travels (more
extensive in NSW and Queensland than elsewhere), I have found local
government areas to be a helpful guide to thinking about places and
services. Towns generally provide services for people within their own
local government area while cities provide services for people from
greater distances including other local government areas.
My preliminary thinking is
Location : named place without residents.
Hamlet : place in which people reside but it does not necessarily
provide any services to residents. Residents may be in a concentrated
area or dispersed over a wider rural area.
Village : provides minimal services such as convenience store, fuel,
hotel, primary school or multiple of these ... but not necessarily all
of these. A village usually doesn't have a doctor but may provide some
outpatient health services and/or an emergency ambulance to take people
to a town for medical treatment but is unlikely to have in-patient
health care.
Town : provides services not only for immediate residents but also for
surrounding places, usually within the same local government area.
Services might include health service/hospital, secondary school,
specialty shops such as clothing store, hardware store, electrical
store, major national or intenational fast-food store, local government
offices, library ... most but not necessarily all of these. Just one of
these is probably not enough to make a town - needs a few or even most
of these. The presence of a high school (or combined primary/secondary)
is a very good single indicator as this is a service for a significant
surrounding area and cannot be sustained in smaller centres.  A hospital
providing in-patient care is another good indicator.
City :  provides even more and higher level services and is a major
centre for surrounding areas. The high level of services will attract
people from surrounding local government areas.
Smaller cities are generally contained within their own local government
areas but may provide services for residents from surrounding local
government areas. The city central business district (CBD) can be
classified as a "city" while surrounding areas within the same local
government area are "suburbs" although it is a matter for the local
government body to decide whether to subdivide into suburbs. For
example, in NSW, the rural cities of Wagga Wagga and Griffith have
central CBDs and the surrounding areas within the city local government
area are officially classified as suburbs. In contrast, the whole of the
Dubbo residential area is part of Dubbo and there neighbourhoods but no
official suburbs. It would still be a city even though it has no offical
suburbs. I think a key indicator is that cities usually provide services
for people from surrounding local government areas as well as local
residents. Services in cities are similar to towns but on a larger scale
and higher level. For example the court house would house sittings of
the District Court, education probably extends to a university campus,
health and hospital services include specialist/referral services. A
town might have a small number of professionals such as
solicitors/doctors etc but a city would have more. A city has many more
shops and offices than a town.
Then there are the larger cities such as capital cities - they can have
cities within cities. There is central Sydney city (the CBD), then there
is the City of Sydney local government area, but then there is the vast
area commonly known as "greater Sydney" .... leading to some confusion
when deciding what constitutes a city.  Within "greater Sydney" there
are smaller cities with their own satellite suburbs. Parramatta,
Blacktown, and Penrith are such smaller cities within greater Sydney.
Then there is Chatswood ... the local government area is known as
"Willoughby City Council" but Chatswood is the actual city CBD (I
haven't though this through but I think Chatswood is the city location
in this case as that is the place where the main services are - the name
of the local government body is less relevant.) Then there can be "in-
between" cities. Newcastle in NSW is not the state capital but it rivals
smaller state/territory capitals in size and services. It has other
local goverment areas within the "greater Newcastle" area making it more
like a larger city than a smaller one.
I have no difficulty in naming Sydney, Chatswood, Penrith, Blacktown,
Parramatta, Wagga Wagga, Griffith, Dubbo and Newcastle as cities and the
same would apply to places elsewhere in Australia providing similar
levels of services to residents of their own and surrounding local
government areas.
As a further thought, I am a little averse to using post offices as a
guide. While would have been useful in the past, they are being closed
and merged at a rapid rate and may almost disappear in the future.
Do my thoughts help at all?
On Sat, May 14, 2016, at 02:30 PM, Warin wrote:
> On 5/13/2016 9:22 PM, cleary wrote:
>> I agree that there is a need to improve our classification of places.
>> However I think that taking population as the sole criterion will
>> create more discrepancies than we have already.
> I think of it as a guide. In fact most of the OSM wiki to me is
> a guide.
>> For example, I live in a Sydney suburb that has a population greater
>> than the gazetted "state suburb" of Sydney (roughly the CBD area). If
>> we adopted a strictly population-based criterion, my suburb and many
>> others with more than 10,000 people would be "towns" in OSM and
>> Sydney CBD be a "town". My suburb has about the same population as
>> the rural city of Griffith, NSW. I think Griffith is a city but my
>> suburb is not.
> Yep. I take your point. Closer to home is Penrith .. a city or a
> suburb of Sydney?
>> I won't keep going on and on, but there are many questions thrown up
>> by relying on population alone as the criterion for determining if a
>> place is a city or town or whatever. I think it has to be a sort of
>> "common sense" decision taking population into account but other
>> factors as well.  But I do support the need to try to clarify our
>> classifications and appreciate the difficulty in resolving the issue.
> A start on the classification by features? Warning .. draft only!
>  A city at a minimum has;
>  one hospital with emergency services more than one police
>  station more than one public library more than one secondary
>  school a university more than one doctor's practice more than
>  one petrol station more than one bank more than one ATM more
>  than one Post Office
>  A town at a minimum has;
>  a hospital a police station a public library a secondary school a
>  doctor's practice a newsagent a petrol station a bank a Post Office
>  A village at a minimum has;
>  a convenience store
>> On Fri, May 13, 2016, at 07:11 PM, Warin wrote:
>>> On 5/13/2016 11:36 AM, Warin wrote:
>>>> On 5/6/2016 9:51 AM, Simon Slater wrote:
>>>>> On Thu, 5 May 2016 10:10:35 AM Ian Sergeant wrote:

>>>>>> 1. Any attempt to make something render on sparse parts of the
>>>>>>    map, is a rendering issue.  Any renderer is free to pre-
>>>>>>    process the data based on a population and remoteness
>>>>>>    algorithm if they wish.  2. Personally, I make anything a town
>>>>>>    if it has services.  If it has a pub, a take-away, a
>>>>>>    supermarket, a post-office, and a fuel station, then it's a
>>>>>>    town.  I save hamlet for a population grouping without any
>>>>>>    services, and a locality for a place where there is
>>>>>>    essentially no population clustering.  This is a natural skew
>>>>>>    towards remoter destinations becoming towns, because they are
>>>>>>    service towns for surrounding areas, rather than necessarily
>>>>>>    having large populations themselves.

>>>>> Post offices may be a good guide.  25 years ago there were at
>>>>> least 4 post offices between here (Swan Hill) and Kerang.  Now
>>>>> there is only one at Lake Boga, but all the other post codes are
>>>>> still in place, mail routing through either Kerang or Swan Hill.
>>>> Australia post has;
>>>>  * Post Office (PO) and
>>>>  * Local Post Office (LPO)
>>>> The LPO is usually smaller and within another business ..usually a
>>>> local convenience store.

>>>> The ABS has this

>>>> http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/2f762f95845417aeca25706c00834efa/1d90c1ef4ac928d5ca2570ec0018e4f7!OpenDocument[1]
>>>> "*Identifying towns*

>>>> In this review *small towns* have been defined as population
>>>> centres with between 1,000 and 19,999 people. Towns might ideally
>>>> be distinguished from cities and from smaller rural communities
>>>> according to functional criteria, such as the presence or absence
>>>> of various educational, medical, recreational and retail services,
>>>> together perhaps with administrative criteria such as whether or
>>>> not a city or town council operated from within the town. While
>>>> such conceptual distinctions might be made, it is difficult to put
>>>> such definitions into practice. The above population size was
>>>> therefore considered the most suitable alternative which would
>>>> generally encompass these criteria."
>>>> I tend to concur with this - simplest to implement and verify.  I
>>>> do note the 'medical' services that ABS have for identifying towns
>>>> etc, that may be a usefull criteria in addition to number of pubs,
>>>> petrol stations etc.

>>> I have gotten some 1,400 'towns from the OSM data base .. many of
>>> these have no population given, but from those that do;
>>> Penrith             178465 Bunbury          64385 Maitland  61431
>>> Palmerston        46618 Melton            45624 Port Macquarie
>>> 41723 Sunbury           33062 Pakenham  32911 Nowra
>>> 32556 Albany            30656 Devonport 29051 Goulburn  21484
>>> Busselton 21407 Ocean Grove       16093 Bacchus Marsh     14913 Port
>>> Hedland      13772 Torquay           13339 Coolum Beach      13154
>>> Broome            12766 Batemans Bay      12000 Lara
>>> 11192 Drysdale  10927  Compare this to the 'cities';  Charters
>>> Towers   8,234 Charleville       4,700 Caloundra 3,550 Winton
>>> 1,337    Winton and Charleville 'cities' when Broome is not? No ..
>>> sorry that makes no sense, even when taking into account
>>> 'remoteness' and services.  And the other end of 'towns';  Marble
>>> Bar       194 Coral Bay   190 Coorow              176 Guilderton
>>> 146 Marvel Loch 98 Popanyinning 87 Betoota              0 Ooldea
>>> 0  Ooldea used to have a hermit, he could still be kicking ... the
>>> others there were railway workers with homes elsewhere. Betoota used
>>> to have 1, but he died. I don't think anyone could call these
>>> 'towns'! Even on a 'services' scale.

>>> _There is a clear disparity here. _   I hope to get all the 'towns'
>>> populations that are missing entered from the ABS census 2011, and
>>> then look again at these 'towns'. I have entered all the 'cities'
>>> population data that was missing, so that bit is done.  I am yet to
>>> get the villages list, if I do!  ----------------------- As a
>>> reminder of what I first proposed OSM wiki presently has by
>>> population city>100,000>town>10,000>village>200>hamlet>100  _
_I think for Australia;
>>> city>10,000>town>1,000>village>100>hamlet>10


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  1. http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/2f762f95845417aeca25706c00834efa/1d90c1ef4ac928d5ca2570ec0018e4f7%21OpenDocument
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