[Talk-GB] Tagging post towns and other addressing issues in the UK

Gareth L o.i at live.co.uk
Sun Jan 27 21:46:23 UTC 2019

I’d hope these would inherit from whatever the address is enclosed in.

On 27 Jan 2019, at 21:22, Colin Smale <colin.smale at xs4all.nl<mailto:colin.smale at xs4all.nl>> wrote:

Assuming the post code is seen in OSM as a way of addressing post (as opposed to a geographic subdivision or an indication of location) then I suggest following Royal Mail's address structure, which can be seen in the description of the Postcode Address File on Wikipedia [1]. If we cannot map a full-format address onto OSM tags, we need a description of how to deal with this (i.e. which bits to leave out or combine).

I have taken the table from wikipedia and added a column for the OSM tags where known. Most of these fields are actually optional, or not always present, depending on the exact address in question.

How do we fill in the blanks?

Element Field name      Description     Max length      OSM
Organisation    Organisation Name               60      n/a
Department Name         60      n/a
Premises        Sub Building Name               30
Building Name           50      addr:housename
Building Number         4       addr:housenumber
Thoroughfare    Dependent Thoroughfare Name             60
Dependent Thoroughfare Descriptor               20
Thoroughfare Name       Street  60      addr:street
Thoroughfare Descriptor         20
Locality        Double Dependent Locality       Small villages  35
Dependent Locality              35
Post town               30      addr:city
Postcode        Postcode                7       addr:postcode
PO Box  PO Box          6

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postcode_Address_File

On 2019-01-27 21:40, Andrzej wrote:


When working on post codes in East Anglia I realised the current address tagging scheme is insufficient for even fairly basic scenarios. I have already discussed the issues with some of the most experienced mappers and like to bring these issues to your attention. Robert has summarised his ideas in https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/User:Rjw62/UK_Address_Mapping

The bottom line is, I would like to be tag commonly used addresses without losing information and without resorting to addr:full.

1. Post towns (most pressing one because there is a lot of confusion around it). The UK is fairly unique in that not every town is a post town. This makes it impossible to tag e.g. Station Road, Histon, Cambridge CB24 9LF.
Wiki recommends addr:city to be used for tagging post towns (Cambridge) but then how do we tag Histon?
- Robert recommends sticking to the current meaning of addr:city and using addr:town and addr:village for town and village names, which, although not in wiki, are already being used in the UK. I like this solution because it is very explicit in what each addr: key means and it doesn't redefine addr:city.
- SK53 prefers using addr:city for everything (towns, even villages) and either not tagging post towns (they can be seen as a an internal detail of a closed Royal Mail database) or using a new tag for it, like addr:post_town. It is a simple solution, results in Histon being called Histon and not Cambridge (without introducing new tags for town and village names) and is commonly used. It is also a bit confusing (what exactly is a city?) and I think we we should at least support tagging post towns.

Key questions:
a) addr:city for post towns or towns and villages?
b) how to rag remaining information (respectively, towns and villages or post towns,)

2. Tagging addresses within campuses, business parks etc. There is addr:place but it is supposed to be used instead of addr:street. Again, Robert has a fairly decent proposal for that using addr:place or addr:locality and addr:parentstreet. Please comment.

2a. should buildings in campuses be tagged with addr:buildingnumber/name or addr:unit? I would prefer buildingname/number (as they are often subdivided) but these seem to be associated with addr:street.

3. Similar to (2) but for buildings. Tagging buildings that have e.g. a single name but multiple house numbers?

Best regards,

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