[Talk-us] Place classifications

Minh Nguyen minh at nguyen.cincinnati.oh.us
Fri Jan 9 11:45:58 UTC 2015

Recently I've been trying to improve the distribution of place=village 
versus place=town in my area. Originally municipalities were tagged 
based on their populations, resulting in clusters of place=cities in 
urban and suburban areas and a desert of place=hamlets everywhere else. 
And there's a lot of "everywhere else" in Ohio and Kentucky.

Generally speaking, I've been promoting the county seat and other 
significant municipalities in each county from place=village to 
place=town. The result is 1-2 place=towns in each rural county, a bit 
more along Interstates. It looks nice on the standard map, but more 
importantly, it accurately reflects what "going to town" means in the 
surrounding area. That seems to be the idea behind the wiki's nebulous 
definitions. [1]

Meanwhile, over in Indiana, one mapper has been turning virtually every 
place POI into place=town, even unincorporated places with nothing but a 
house or two. [2] I'm sure that's too extreme, and I just reached out to 
the mapper to say as much. But after browsing various parts of the U.S., 
I think we've all got different ideas of what a city, town, and village 
ought to be. Some metropolitan areas have lots of place=city POIs, while 
in other places 3-4 U.S. routes converge on a place=village.

I think we should reserve place=city for the focal point of each 
metropolitan area and distribute place=town more evenly across the 
landscape. Just as the highway tag summarizes disparate tags like 
surface, maxspeed, and lanes, the place tag holistically sums up 
admin_level, border_type, and population (and the admin_centre role for 
county seats). So for example, the Walden County seat (population 900) 
and a Bigopolis suburb of 15,000 should both be place=town.

Or has everyone settled on a different standard? Sometimes it's hard to 
tell whether the state of the map is due to a long-ago import to be 
fixed or a community consensus to be respected, and the wiki hedges too 
much to be helpful.

[1] http://wiki.osm.org/wiki/Key:place
[2] http://overpass-turbo.eu/s/6VW

minh at nguyen.cincinnati.oh.us

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