[Talk-us] Merging a GNIS node with a TIGER way - for a town

stevea steveaOSM at softworkers.com
Wed Jan 29 21:01:31 UTC 2014

I like Toby Murray's solution, as I've seen it before, it makes sense 
and it works well with Nominatim.

>Note that if you delete the node, the city name will no longer be 
>rendered on <http://osm.org>osm.org or Mapquest Open. Not sure about 
>other renderings but I'm guessing a lot of them do the same thing. 
>Another way of fixing the nominatim problem is to create a boundary 
>relation for the city. Move the tags from the way to the relation 
>and then add the node to the relation with a role of "label" as this 
>will cause nominatim to merge the two into a single entity while 
>still rendering the name on the map.

In California, I use the following to guide my use of the place= tag. 
This is QUITE rough, but serves well:

city=50,000 or greater population
town=10,000 to 50,000 population, especially if it is an incorporated 
city, but not very populous
village=1000 to 10,000 population, especially if there is a commercial zone
hamlet=dozens to hundreds of people, or even a bit more, especially 
if there is NO commercial zone
isolated_dwelling=just that:  maybe a single family (or two or 
three), usually in a remote area
locality=0 population, as it is simply a place designation, not a 
place where people live.

I sometimes fuzz the village boundary a bit:  a hamlet that has a 
(very) small business/commercial zone can rightly be called a 
village, even if it is only hundreds of people.  A hamlet's 
crossroads fuel station with a convenience market, an ATM, a public 
phone and a postal box might be just enough to tip hamlet into 

I reserve the tag suburb= as a true subdivision level 1 tag (under 
city or town) only with values of names that are "districts" of a 
larger city.  These can be very well defined or rather vague.  I 
reserve the tag neighbourhood= as a true subdivision level 2 tag 
(under city or town).  The subdivision levels are well explained in a 
table in OSM's Place wiki.

While not straying too far in the direction of "coding for the 
renderer," I have noticed that these selections do render in mapnik 
(at virtually all zoom levels properly) as "rather pleasing," at 
least for areas I have designated with these tags and that I know.

As long as we are on the topic, I do think there is something to be 
said for place= values like:

large_city=50,000 to 1,000,000 population
mega_city=1,000,000 to 10,000,000 population
super_city=10,000,000 and greater population

Again, these are rough, but they would promote better rendering of 
super and mega cities (only) at low zoom levels.  And because there 
are a relatively small number of super and mega cities, it wouldn't 
take that long to "promote" their tags from the existing city value. 
These tags would work worldwide, and are a relatively simple change 
to most renderers.  Sure, we can keep existing population values 
(where they have been entered), but they haven't in a lot of places, 
and this seems a simpler method.

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