[OSM-talk] Labling places with Labels

Tom Carden tom at tom-carden.co.uk
Thu Mar 2 23:16:31 GMT 2006

On 3/2/06, Etienne Cherdlu <openstreetmap-L at gj0.net> wrote:
> I've just updated the image at
> http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/index.php/KT13_Weybridge with
> a new version that includes place names.
> It uses nodes with class=town or class=village to render 14pt blue or 10pt
> green captions on the map.  The captions are rendered to the right of the
> node.

This is definitely the way forward - it's good to see people
experimenting with this kind of thing.  What are you using to draw at
the moment?

As it stands though - and please don't take this the wrong way - it
could definitely use a designer's eye :)

There are other people on this list who have a better claim to being a
designer or cartographer than me, but having looked at a couple of
dozen online mapping sites there are definitely a few best practice
rules of thumb you could apply:

 * black text everywhere - size and weight differentiate better than
colour, which seems a little distracting.  Google Maps uses thicker
white outlines around the text too.
 * white or off-white (light grey or cream) backgrounds
 * outlines for roads (as other people have said, first draw
everything dark, then everything thinner in a lighter colour for the
best result)
 * blue for motorways
 * green for major A roads
 * red/orange/brown/purple for minor A roads
 * yellow for B roads

Rather than going for the purest possible colour, try muting it a
little bit - the main thing to note is that the colours are rarely
saturated, and rarely very dark, so that they don't clash and that the
text is readable over the top of them.

Of course, these things depend on map provider and country, but it
can't hurt to step in line a little bit.  If you post your code, I'd
be happy to try and pick out some better colours, as I'm sure would
Richard or other people with an eye for these things.

Hope that helps,


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