[OSM-talk] Use of official names Re: shortened names

Colin Smale colin.smale at xs4all.nl
Thu Jul 28 11:51:40 BST 2011

On 28/07/2011 09:33, Nathan Edgars II wrote:
> So what's the correct name of the bridge? Does the highway department set
> the standard, and so both saints are abbreviated? Or do we go with what the
> cities call themselves and use Saint Paul-East St. Paul Bridge?
I wonder what the process is to decide the name of a new road. Looking 
at it from this angle might clarify where the "official name" is 
registered. If some contractor misspells the name on a sign, or is asked 
to abbreviate certain words, that won't change the official name.

It sounds like there are three types of street name:
1) Official, as decided by the Powers That Be
2) Signed, as displayed on the signs
3) Colloquial, as people habitually use

So which one do we put in "name=*", and what do we do with the others?

I suggest putting 2) in "name=" as it is a) most useful and b) most 
easily verifiable "on the ground". For 1) we can use "official_name" and 
for 3) we can use "alt_name" or "loc_name" (all in the wiki at [1]). 
Then the renderers (and other consumers of OSM data) can choose cleanly 
which name to use.


[1] http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:name

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