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

Brad Neuhauser brad.neuhauser at gmail.com
Wed Oct 20 17:30:48 BST 2010


On Wed, Oct 20, 2010 at 11:20 AM, Peter Budny <peterb at gatech.edu> wrote:

> "Andrew S. J. Sawyer" <assawyer at gmail.com> writes:
>
> > My thoughts are mixed in below.
> >
> > On Wed, Oct 20, 2010 at 11:17, Peter Budny <peterb at gatech.edu> wrote:
> >
> >     Antony Pegg <antthelimey at gmail.com> writes:
> >
> >     > tagging admin area / populated centers / labels in USA seems to
> >     > come down to two main tags:
> >     >
> >     > admin_level and place
> >
> >     Before you over-simplify, let me point out a couple things:
> >
> >     1. Not all of the US is incorporated.  In the Northeast, every tiny
> part
> >     of land is incorporated into a town or township or borough.  But in
> the
> >     Southeast (and I presume elsewhere as well), there's lots of
> >     unincorporated land, even in the vicinity of large cities.  Look at
> >     Atlanta, which still has lots of unincorporated area.
> >
> >     That's a big variation, and the map needs to be equally competent at
> >     handling both regions.
> >
> > Slight correction, not all land in the Northeast is incorporated. In New
> > Hampshire there are a handful of communities which are not
> > incorporated.
>
> I was exaggerating to illustrate the differences, but point taken.
> >
> >     2. Defining how "important" a city is (and thus, how big its label on
> >     the map should be) is a tricky thing to do.  Population is certainly
> a
> >     large factor, but how do you define this?  The City of Atlanta is the
> >     #33 most populous city in the US, with 540,000 people, but the
> Atlanta
> >     metropolitan area is #9 with 5,475,000 people and is the largest
> metro
> >     area in 800 miles.
> >
> >     There's also a recognition factor... the whole world knows where New
> >     York is and would expect it to be fairly prominent on a map.  Capitol
> >     cities are considered to be "important" even when they're not very
> >     prominent or populous.  Etc.
> >
> >     It seems to me that admin_level handles the first point, except that
> 4
> >     levels to cover all of the US doesn't give much granularity.  Maybe
> we
> >     need to think about using the in-between levels to show more detail?
> >
> >     place= seems to be handling the second point, but not very well.
>  Should
> >     label sizes really be determined purely by population?  By
> "importance"?
> >     What criteria should there be?  I don't think the current scheme of
> >     city/town/whatever is very good, because it's another instance of
> >     hacking a British scheme onto a country with a very different history
> >     and organization.
> >
> > I agree that there isn't a one-size-fits-all approach that will work
> > with displaying/tagging named communities on the map. I think that a
> > combination of the size of the given area, the "admin_level" of the
> > given area (country, state, county, etc), population and
> > recognizability (capital cities, etc). The latter being the most
> > difficult to quantify in a manner in which many people would agree on
> > (less capital cities).
>
> I forgot to mention control cities (
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Control_city).
> These are cities that are designated for use on highway signs to
> indicate which direction you're heading.  These should definitely appear
> on the map, even if they're relatively small cities (e.g. Valdosta,
> Georgia).
>
> > However, I agree that a ratio of area, "admin_level" and population
> > could take care of most cases.
>
> This gets me wondering if maybe there's some way to do it more
> automatically.  For instance, it should be easy to find data sources
> for population, area, and lists of "global cities"
> (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_city) and control cities.  Maybe
> there should be a process just before the renderer that takes in that
> information and decides how to label cities automatically.  That keeps
> the OSM database down to the basics.
> --
> Peter Budny  \
> Georgia Tech  \
> CS PhD student \
>
>
>
If you haven't seen it, the 41Latitude blog had an earlier post about
getting a good density of US city names at different zoom levels--it was in
reference to Bing maps, but the same ideas apply:
http://www.41latitude.com/post/931787074/improving-bing-maps-3

In his analysis, using the Census' Urban Clusters and Micropolitan
Statistical Areas looked useful.  Worth a read, if you're still following
this thread.  :)
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