[Talk-ca] Formatting of Municipality Names

Tristan Anderson andersontristan at hotmail.com
Fri Feb 16 22:37:24 UTC 2018

I'm going to make here to the unpopular argument that in OSM tagging "St." should always be written as "Saint".

I know that you will never see "Sault Sainte Marie" on a sign, map or official document and that seeing it written like that looks weird and even wrong to local residents.  In much the same way when I started editing OSM, "Pine Street" looked weird, even wrong, to me.  After all, street suffixes are abbreviated on every sign and map; even when they are referenced in articles.  I have since come to accept and embrace the unabbreviated street suffix, even to the point writing them out in full in my day-to-day life, such as when I enter in my home address.  I think we can all agree that there is nothing incorrect about Maple Boulevard, and by extension that an abbreviation's ubiquity does not in and of itself make the full version incorrect.

There are a lot of streets that begin with Saint.  In one neighbourhood of Niagara Falls, for example, there is (using the names recognised by Canada Post) a Saint Marys Avenue, St. John St, St Paul Avenue, St Patrick Avenue, St. Peter Avenue, and Saint George Avenue.  I doubt that whoever named those streets intended for that specific combination of St/St./Saint and I can be certain that the abbreviations were merely ever there out of convenience, one that's made obsolete by digital maps not needing to cram a bunch of street names onto limited space.  I find it hard to see anybody having a problem with beginning all six of these names with "Saint".

The "St" abbreviation may particularly problematic for data consumers as it could mean Street, Saint, or if you check out the Wikipedia disambiguation page, dozens of other things.  Sure it's obvious to a human that there is no city called Street Thomas, but a computer might have a bit of trouble there.  And don't get me started on the absurdity that St is a contraction, not an abbreviation.

I'm not going to rush out and change any existing tagging but I think this is one instance where rational thought needs to override tradition.

From: OSM Volunteer stevea <steveaOSM at softworkers.com>
Sent: February 16, 2018 4:03 PM
To: Jarek Piórkowski; talk-ca
Subject: Re: [Talk-ca] Formatting of Municipality Names

I stand corrected, thank you everybody.

BTW I do my best not to abbreviate thinks like "DC" for District of Columbia, but I now better understand that "St." in many cases has now truly become the official name, abbreviation included.


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