[OSM-talk] Why are POIs integrated in the map?

Robert (Jamie) Munro rjmunro at arjam.net
Tue Aug 7 18:27:52 BST 2007

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mlerutte at tiscali.nl wrote:
> Maybe my understanding is wrong, but to me it seems that POIs are 
> integrated in the map. I'd assume that POIs would have their own 
> database and category, for example as in navigational systems like 
> tomtom or as in POIEdit. What's the reason for not having a separate 
> poi system? 

Mainly convenience of editing / mapping. When I did the London mapping
party, it was easy to mark the pubs on the map as I went around. It was
easy to add them as nodes when I added the streets. If I had to add them
somewhere else, it would have taken longer. Sometimes things get fuzzy -
e.g. is a train station a POI, or a node connecting rail lines?

Sometimes for the purposes of a map, a large POI like Wembley Stadium
gets drawn as an area feature. This would be even harder to separate out.

> Doesn't the map get swamped with too many little details?

Arguably, yes it does. That's why I'm not in favour of taking all
wikipedia/openguides etc. entries with Lat/Lon data and adding them to
OSM. I'd rather that happen at a later stage, either in the map
rendering, or as a mash up in the browser.

But I don't think there's harm in adding key features that are unlikely
to be in other sites. E.g. I don't think post boxes, phone boxes and
speed cameras will ever get their own individual wikipedia entries, but
they are useful to look out for when navigating. Also OSM has a fine
tradition of marking every pub on the map. :-)

If someone wants to make a separate OpenPostBoxMap site, they can take
all the OSM postbox nodes as a starting point, and in that case, we may
well consider removing them from the OSM database to reduce space and

Postcodes are an interesting feature. I guess ultimately they probably
should belong in OSM, as they are just labels for ways, but there aren't
many in at the moment and there are 2 other sites collecting them for us
freethepostcode and npemap.

Robert (Jamie) Munro
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