[Talk-GB] A UK perspective on the 41Latitude article

wynndale at lavabit.com wynndale at lavabit.com
Sat Oct 30 19:00:47 BST 2010

I have got some comments on the article on 41Latitude about
OSM.[http://www.41latitude.com/post/1310985699/openstreetmap-critique] My
comments concentrate on the criticisms as they relate to the map database in


Not a database issue.


Not a database issue although the default rendering seems to be easier on
British eyes.


> Country & City Labels Look Too Similar

Not a database issue.

> Country & City Labels Overlap

Not a database issue.

> Many State/Province Names Should be Simplified

Some parishes have been named in the form Welton CP. There may be other


> Country & State/Province Borders Are Too Similar In Appearance

Not a database issue.

> Labels—But No Borders

I am unaware of this being a problem in the UK.


> A Rainbow of Roads

Not a database issue; possibly British users are more used to the default
rendering scheme.

> Some Roads Are Too Wide & Obscure Other Roads

While overuse of highway=primary/highway=secondary is certainly not a
American vice I cannot think of anywhere in Britain where anything above
highway=unclassified is so used.

> Uneven Road Coverage

> Some Counties Are Shown to Have More Roads Than Other Counties

Not a serious problem in the UK except where roads are genuinely unmapped
(because of the TIGER import US roads are more often badly mapped than

> Some of OSM’s Roads Look Like State Borders

Roads in the UK do not (apart from a few at the Irish border) jump in
classification on borders therefore we do not get this effect.

> Comparison with Google Maps

Not a database issue.


> Hyphens

Not a problem in the UK. No prefix letter used in the UK can be misread as
a number.

> Inconsistent State Prefixes

Not a problem in the UK.

> Same Road—Different Colored Markers

This is not wholly a database issue though you get something similar when A
roads change from green to red.

> No Prefix

Not a problem in the UK.

> Semi-Colons

This can happen in the UK as it is a problem with editors.

> Colons
> Parentheses
> Semicolons & Parentheses

None of these are problems in the UK.

> Acronym Markers

Funny text in the ref field is rare in the UK though I once found an
with a numeric ref tag.

> Some Interstates Show Exits—Others Don’t

Junction numbering is worth watching.


> Uneven City Label Densities

Like road densities this (at a more detailed level than place=city) can be a
sign of variations in the level of mapping.

> Labels That Don’t Appear Above Their Cities

This has occasionally happened; it risks the next problem.

> Multiple Labels for the Same City

This has occasionally happened, for instance Ilford. Names have also
been deleted entirely.

> Misc. City Label Peculiarities

Not a problem in the UK.

> Hide-and-Seek Cities

This would seem to be a rendering issue that is triggered by having too
flat a
structure of places (see below).

> Major Cities Don’t Stand Out Enough

What is a problem in the UK is that sometimes ceremonial status (St Davids
not Reading) has been used to the detriment of the quality of the map.

As an aside: is it practical to tag towns with populations as some US mapers
have suggested?

> Are Rogue OSM Users Promoting Their Hometowns?

Always something to watch. Why exactly is the town of Elgin tagged as


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