[Talk-us] Directional suffixes on roads: yes or no?

Clifford Snow clifford at snowandsnow.us
Sun Nov 30 06:49:24 UTC 2014

On Sat, Nov 29, 2014 at 8:39 PM, Jack Burke <burkejf3 at gmail.com> wrote:

> I have a question about how much effort should be put into adding
> directional suffixes to road names.
> Many counties around Atlanta have adopted directional suffixes for roads,
> both in incorporated areas as well as outside city limits. Usually all
> areas in the county use the same system, with directions denoted NE, SE, NW
> and SW from some standard point, although some cities tend to ignore the
> suffixes. Also, signage is inconsistent--some street signs bear the suffix
> while others on the same street don't.
> In most cases, the suffix is immaterial, and most people don't use it
> anyway. Use of it or not won't affect directions most of the time, although
> I know of a few specific cases where knowing the suffix can be important in
> finding the right location (is your house 100 Concord Road Southeast or
> Southwest?).
> The majority of the Tiger data doesn't include the suffix.

Of course once TIGER is updated, then we will have a mismatch. As CENSUS
incorporate new county road data into TIGER, the suffixes will start

> So, how much should I worry about the missing suffixes? Should they be
> included in the main name= tag? Or one of the other *name tags with the
> unsuffixed name in the name= tag.
> Because most people don't use the suffix, on some roads I've put the
> with-suffix name in the name= tag and the unsuffixed one in the short_name=
> tag, but I'm wondering if I should continue to bother.

My small town has addresses with direction prefixes but most street signs
are years old and just list the name. Businesses and locals use the suffix
so I decided to add it to road names. I suspect as road signs are updated,
they will get changed. It does remind me to ask the publics works
department about that.

I found my county GIS department easy to talk to. They are very helpful and
want to see OSM have the correct data. I'd email them and ask them when the
road signs will be changed.


OpenStreetMap: Maps with a human touch
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