[Talk-GB] NaPTAN station codes

Dave Stubbs osm.list at randomjunk.co.uk
Wed Oct 27 10:55:38 BST 2010

On Wed, Oct 27, 2010 at 12:32 AM, Dave F. <davefox at madasafish.com> wrote:
> On 26/10/2010 10:04, Dave Stubbs wrote:
>> On Mon, Oct 25, 2010 at 9:11 PM, Andy Mabbett<andy at pigsonthewing.org.uk>
>>  wrote:
>>> On 25 October 2010 12:47, Ed Avis<eda at waniasset.com>  wrote:
>>>> Shaun McDonald<shaun at ...>  writes:
>>>>> I have been adding the three letter short code as the ref tag when I
>>>>> have been
>>>>> editing around stations. e.g.
>>>>> http://www.openstreetmap.org/browse/node/9779990
>>>> OK so 'ref' is the de facto convention for this three-letter code.
>>> Wouldn't it be better to have a unique key?
>>> If not, why not?
>>> (Genuine question; I'm relatively new to this.)
>> The contents of the ref tag is generally the publicly used reference
>> code for an object. For roads that'd be M1 or A303 etc. For stations
>> it'd be the three letter code that's in all the timetables and gets
>> printed on online booking receipts etc.
>> There's no harm in using ref for this as it doesn't really conflict
>> with anything else and it's what the key is for. To do a special key
>> would be a lot like doing a special key for station_name -- there's
>> little point and it just makes it harder for everyone to remember what
>> the keys are :-)
> I disagree. It should be 'station_code' which is de facto, as used on
> Wikipedia & even on National Rail Enquiries.
> Using that unique descriptive key clarifies what it is your trying to
> describe & makes it *easier* for everyone to remember..

Sorry, yes, I should have been more precise about why it's easier to
remember. Obviously there's nothing hard to remember about the tag
"station_code", I was more thinking of the sheer number of tags that
get created if we were to follow this method. Instead we tend much
more towards key reuse which lowers the total number of keys for
ancillary data and hopefully makes the learning process more

The meta discussion over whether reusing "ref" or using "station_code"
is more memorable, is, I'm sure you'll agree, a rather pointless
discussion :-)
Given the number of editors these days supporting presets, most users
will hopefully be insulated from this. The field can even be aliased
"Three Letter Station Code" if we make localised presets files for


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