[Talk-us] Proposal: delete census-designated place polygons

Nathan Edgars II neroute2 at gmail.com
Fri Nov 12 05:21:49 GMT 2010

On Thu, Nov 11, 2010 at 11:23 PM, Daniel Sabo <danielsabo at gmail.com> wrote:
> I would oppose deleting them. They do have real world significance because they represent community boundaries in unincorporated areas,
No they don't, except coincidentally. For example
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Butler,_Orange_County,_Florida is a
name apparently made up by the Census Bureau. In many other cases the
names are real but the boundaries are bogus, often expanded to fill
the space between incorporated communities.

> and the name that you would use to search for an address these communities.
Maybe, maybe not. Often the USPS uses a nearby incorporated place, and
the CDP name would not be valid. Sometimes the actual incorporated
community that has jurisdiction over a place is not accepted by the

> McKinleyville, CA (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McKinleyville,_California) is as much a defined community as Arcata or Eureka to the south of it even if it only exists on the map as a CDP.
It's definitely a defined community, but are the boundaries really
well-defined? What makes the south side of Baird Road part of it but
the north side not?

> Place nodes are worse than useless
Perhaps you mean "useless for searching", since if something is worse
than useless it should be deleted.

> as demonstrated by the associations Nominatim generates from them. (e.g. it thinks my home street is part of a trailer park several miles away).
That's partly Nominatim's fault and partly our fault (presumably the
trailer park is tagged with a misleading place=* value). A better
algorithm might be (if it's not inside a polygon) to give distances to
nearby place nodes, rather than choosing the closest.

> If you think the boundaries are wrong move them (or even better ask people on the ground what the name of the place they live is, which is probably how the census ended up with them in the first place).
I have been replacing the CDP polygons in central Florida for a while
with better-defined neighborhood polygons roughly based on platted
subdivisions and zoning. The CDP boundaries were not useful for any of
these, even as starting points.

More information about the Talk-us mailing list