[Talk-us] [Tagging] how to tag US townships?

Brad Neuhauser brad.neuhauser at gmail.com
Wed Oct 20 13:14:54 BST 2010

On Wed, Oct 20, 2010 at 4:02 AM, M∡rtin Koppenhoefer <dieterdreist at gmail.com
> wrote:

> 2010/10/20 Brad Neuhauser <brad.neuhauser at gmail.com>:
> > Aren't admin_level and place getting at slightly different things?
> >  admin_level is to mark official political/legal boundaries.  place is to
> > mark a...well...place that has a name, and the
> > place=city|town|village|hamlet does not necessarily align with the type
> of
> > government (if any) of the place.  From the place page:
> > "In most Western countries, the status of a location (whether it is a
> > city/town/etc.), is decided by the government, and is not a function of
> > size. ***But most OSM communities of those countries have made a
> convention
> > to use the population to decide which place tag to use, to ensure a more
> > common way of tagging across the globe, and not to end up with cities of
> > 1000 residents for example.***"  Just like the term "township" that Ant
> > linked to, the same word can have different meanings in different
> contexts.
> > Brad
> personally I think that the wiki is not very good at this point. The
> criteria to decide between town and village and between village and
> hamlet is IMHO a functional and often historic and traditional one. Is
> there a market place? Is there a church? Is there a townhall? What was
> the status in the past? Are there city-walls? Are there other town
> specific functions like a university, a hospital? etc. This might not
> be valid in all regions, but for Europe it is definitely the case. The
> general numbers (1000 /10000 / 100000) proposed in the wiki are IMHO
> definitely too big on the lower end. For Germany we concluded hamlet <
> 200 and village < 2000 (which might be better values for Europe in
> general), but this doesn't mean there can't be villages with 5000
> inhabitants as well. Basically the size of the population is only a
> rough guideline but cannot substitute further analysis.
> While you might argue that we (OSM) are not interested in history in
> the first place it is IMHO unneglectible that the historic relevance
> had huge impact on the organization of the territory. E.g. the street
> grid (as well as railways) is no something constructed in 20 years
> from zero (at least in Europe or Asia) but is a structure that was
> evolving for hundreds if not thousands of years.
> In the US the history of a place might be shorter, but you might still
> be able to apply functional criteria IMHO.
> cheers,
> Martin

Functional (subjective) tagging versus tagging to a set standard (objective)
is one underlying reason why US highway tagging is so inconsistent--some in
the US community want a consistent schema that works in all situations,
others want to allow some fuzziness based on the local situation.

Regarding the wiki page, Martin, it's not just "not very good" on the point
you make--the point is totally missing.  If the things you mentioned are
usually factored into the tagging decision, then that should be added to the

Thanks, Brad

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