[OSM-talk-ie] Tagging townlands in OSM-Ireland

Patrick Casey pcasey at compuserve.com
Wed Sep 10 17:37:30 BST 2008

Hi Dermot,

Thanks for this rapid and very informative reply. All now clear.

I now understand why one or two places in 'my' area in the
Tubber-Ruan-Crusheen triangle aren't where they should be on the map (e.g.
the village of Ruan). May I take the liberty of moving them a few hundred
yards to their correct sites  or does a committee have to vet changes. I'm
new to OSM and not yet sure of the protocol and the last thing I want to do
is contravene some existing convention or practice. I'm very conscious of
the fact that in a project like this the participants need to conform to
standards to prevent anarchy. Anything else and the OSM becomes useless.

If I interpret your tenor correctly there would be no objection if I were to
"re-baptise" e.g. Coolbane as a locality. I would restrict such changes to
places that I know well and have walked over and can vouch for the fact that
they consist of a few scattered houses or farms or cabhals and not tiny
groups of habitations that one might call a hamlet. Would that be OK ?

Some of the lakes in 'my' area seem to have been very roughly drawn (or my
GPS was faulty). For example, the footpath to Dromore Castle from the car
park (which I walked with the GPS) appears to cross part of the lake. There
is a New Testament example of walking on water but I haven't yet managed to
emulate it. Is it possible that those lakes were traced from a relatively
low-resolution satellite image ? I'm talking about small errors here, e.g. a
couple of hundred yards. 

I couldn't understand your statement ".....it's a bad idea to tag for the
renderer....".  Could you clarify that, please ?

Again, thanks, You are helping me to move forward.


-----Original Message-----
From: talk-ie-bounces at openstreetmap.org
[mailto:talk-ie-bounces at openstreetmap.org] On Behalf Of Dermot McNally
Sent: 10 September 2008 16:29
To: Discussion of Open Streetmap in Ireland
Subject: Re: [OSM-talk-ie] Tagging townlands in OSM-Ireland

Hi Patrick,


2008/9/10 Patrick Casey <pcasey at compuserve.com>:

> I see that townlands are being marked with points tagged as hamlets. This
> seems to me a bit odd because a townland is an area rather than a point,
> rather analogous to a lake. Also, many of the townlands in the West of
> Ireland are as good as uninhabited so the term 'hamlet' would hardly apply
> to them.

Fair comment. I can give you some background on how this happened.
Most of the place names on the map in Ireland were imported (by me)
from a US government source known as GNS. It theory, the points
provided by GNS ought to be tagged according to their importance. In
effect, most don't, and for these, I tagged them as hamlets. As you
rightly point out, locality is a better tag, but either this wasn't in
standard use at the time or I wasn't aware of it.

I have since repeated the import for Northern Ireland - here I _did_
use locality as the default place type.

> Wouldn't the tag 'place=locality' be a better choice from the existing
> than 'hamlet' ? Or could Ireland-OSMers have a tag 'place=townland' within
> the category 'Places' (see
> http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/index.php/Map_Features#Natural ) ? Would
> confuse the renderers, i.e. would it have to be added to some kind of
> official OSM list so as to be accepted by the rendering software ?

Well, it's a bad idea to tag for the renderer, but I still think that
considering a townload as equivalent to a locality provides the best
global understanding of our Irish data (and it's shown on the map). We
are free to change our minds in the future and re-tag them, of course.
Also, note that for all place types - cities, towns, village,
townlands - we'd prefer to represent them as areas, not points. That's
hard to do, of course...


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