[Talk-GB] Road Names Quarterly Project

Paul Bivand paul.bivand at blueyonder.co.uk
Tue Feb 17 23:05:59 UTC 2015

A small story about this:


Laurie Gray Avenue, Bluebell Hill, Kent, used to have a street sign saying 
"Laurie Gray". 

Various council documentation and OS locator referred to the 'Avenue' form.

After two discussions an openstreetmap mapper asked the relevant council 
(Tonbridge and Malling) who replied 'That's funny, we'd better sort that' or 
words to that effect.

The sign now has the Avenue suffix. 

Actually, I rather regret the change as I was imagining the person the road 
was named after telling the council that if they wanted to call it an avenue 
they'd better plant trees along it. As there were no trees, no Avenue.


On Tuesday 17 Feb 2015 12:16:52 Dan S wrote:
> 2015-02-17 11:46 GMT+00:00 Colin Smale <colin.smale at xs4all.nl>:
> > A better paradigm is that the data should be "independently verifiable
> > from
> > open sources."  If the sign is wrong, it is wrong. Propagating that error
> > does not change that by magical thinking.
> It is true that street signs can be wrong, but other "official" data
> is wrong with roughly the same frequency. There is no absolute truth
> that we can appeal to. So we need a community standard for which
> sources of evidence we use for OSM, and that is broadly agreed to
> prefer things observable on the ground. This does not rule out the use
> of common sense!
> > "Ground truth" is of course no good if there is nothing on the ground -
> > such as boundary lines, postcodes and even "source=local_knowledge". If
> > there is no sign at all, should we remove the name from OSM, even though
> > we, the local authority and Royal Mail agree that it has a certain name?
> This is a straw man argument, so let's skip over it.
> > This "ground truth" business needs a bit of nuance now and then. It's not
> > black and white - in between there are many shades of grey, where
> > common sense needs to be factored in.
> Common sense, yes of course, no-one said otherwise. I used to find it
> odd that OSM preferred "ground truth" over official data, but I've
> increasingly come to see the wisdom of this. "Ground truth" however
> does not mean purely "street signs" - it's a common-sense combination
> of evidence, where we give most credit to the evidence that is freely
> accessible at the location (e.g. street signs, talking to people,
> looking at bus stops...). This is different from Wikipedia's
> consensus, which prefers official sources rather than direct
> experience - a really interesting contrast IMHO!
> Best
> Dan
> > On 2015-02-17 11:48, Jonathan Harley wrote:
> > 
> > On 17/02/15 10:03, Colin Smale wrote:
> > 
> > It's only "correct" because that's the frame of reference you have chosen
> > in this case. The local authority decides what a street is officially
> > called. How that is transposed to signs sometimes introduces errors, and
> > these errors are sometimes volatile. The OS is not the source of the
> > official name either is it?
> > 
> > The frame of reference we use is "ground truth" - what is actually there
> > in
> > the physical world.
> > 
> > Also, the signage at the end of the street is what visitors and delivery
> > drivers see, so it's surely the most practically useful thing to have on a
> > map.
> > 
> > 
> > J.
> > 
> > 
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