[Talk-us] Possible method for identifying major US cities

Phil! Gold phil_g at pobox.com
Tue Oct 26 23:17:37 BST 2010


* Nathan Edgars II <neroute2 at gmail.com> [2010-10-25 21:39 -0400]:
> I've done it in Florida. Here's the algorithm I used:
> principal city of a Metropolitan Statistical Area: city
> principal city of a Micropolitan Statistical Area: town
> other incorporated municipality with population over 10,000: suburb
> (these are all inside statistical areas)
> other incorporated municipality with population under 10,000: village,
> hamlet, or (in the case of Islandia) locality (according to the
> cutoffs on http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:place)
> other unincorporated places: left alone for now

I mostly like this, but I feel somewhat constrained by the place= values
for some of this.  I went over the classifications that this would make in
Maryland and agreed with most of it, except that I'd really like another
value above place=city.  This algorithm would mark Arlington, VA;
Alexandria, VA; Reston, VA; Bethesda, MD; Rockville, MD; Frederick MD; and
Gaithersburg, MD as cities, in addition to Washington, DC.  That's pretty
fair, considering those places' populations and economic importance, but
DC should be ranked a step higher than the rest.  Likewise, it would make
Baltimore and Towson both cities and, while making Towson a city is not
unfair, Baltimore is far more important a place than Towson is.  (For one
thing, people from other states are much more likely to have heard of
Baltimore.)

I've been thinking a lot about city importance since I read
http://www.41latitude.com/post/1178194590/jaywalking and
http://www.41latitude.com/post/400972984/most-important-cities-united-states .
I think I'm mostly of the mind that OSM's basically four-tier system
(city, town, village, hamlet) system isn't granular enough for properly
indicating cities' importance relative to each other.  I think some of the
general "importance" tagging ideas that have been floated might help with
this.  If I have time, I might see about getting them on the proposal
track actively, rather than languishing.

-- 
...computer contrarian of the first order... / http://aperiodic.net/phil/
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