[Talk-GB] too many universities in Cambridge

Stuart Reynolds stuart at travelinesoutheast.org.uk
Fri May 22 13:54:53 UTC 2015

Without wanting to get into specific tags, or indeed into specific renderers, let’s step back and see if what we have got is what we want?
The answer is probably no, IMHO.

Take Newnham College (http://www.openstreetmap.org/#map=17/52.19959/0.10973&layers=H) which I know fairly well. It is one site - Newnham College - and is part of the university. But the individual buildings within it are just that - buildings. In fact, the distinction between the various buildings is really only of relevance to the people within it, given that you can walk between the extremities Strachey in the east to Peile in the west without every going outside, and the fact that much of it is student’s rooms.


- we need to be able to identify the site as Newnham College
- we need to be able to identify Newnham College as part of the University of Cambridge
- we need to be able to name and identify the buildings on the site, and to have them linked to Newnham College. But we do NOT need to reference them as universities in their own right

So long as we use tagging and/or relationships which maintain those associations, we have clarity on the data and renderers can choose what to do with it.


On 22 May 2015, at 14:22, Andy Allan <gravitystorm at gmail.com<mailto:gravitystorm at gmail.com>> wrote:

On 22 May 2015 at 14:03, Christopher Baines <mail at cbaines.net<mailto:mail at cbaines.net>> wrote:
On 21/05/15 22:39, Dan S wrote:
I don't relish bringing this up since it's a bit of a tangle, but I
noticed Cambridge has a lot more universities than I thought!
Apparently 1219, judging from the number of amenity=university tagged
objects. In real life I'm aware of two: Cambridge Uni, Anglia Ruskin

I think that it is a poor assumption to make that there exists a one to
one mapping between objects (nodes, ways, relations) tagged with
amenity=university, and actual organisations.

Sure, but then you need to look at what is actually being tagged.
We've already heard that there are 1219 different universities in
Cambridge, so I was intrigued as to what they are. After all, I would
expect "amenity=university; name=University of Somewheresville" to be
a university. If there were two objects tagged as universities with
identical names within a few dozen miles, I could make a guess they
are the same university and write some rendering rules to suit.

But they are all different. There's a university named "Music Centre".
There's another university called "Pavillion D". There's a third
university called "Forbes Mellon Library" which is a surprising thing
to call a university. There's a bunch of little unamed universities.
And they all have different operator tags too.

I suspect these are the names of buildings, not universities. I
suspect they are operated by different sections of the one university,
but there's no easy way to tell from the operator tag without a
natural-language parser coupled with a wikipedia-based explanation of
the constituent college system.

Have a look at the data, and you'll see it's not as straightforward as
you think. Sure, there's no one-to-one mapping between the real world
and OSM features. But that's not what we're talking about here.


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