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

Colin Smale colin.smale at xs4all.nl
Thu Jul 28 14:42:29 BST 2011

On 28/07/2011 15:13, Nathan Edgars II wrote:
> Colin Smale wrote:
>> I assume all the variations would be easily understood anyway so it
>> probably doesn't matter that much. Not worth a protracted debate in any
>> case... In this case it might make sense to opt for the variant with the
>> least possiblity of misunderstanding, so "Parkway". If only the three
>> abbreviations were used, then "Pkwy". How about always picking the
>> "longest form present on a sign"?
> Then the process for finding the name would need to include traveling the
> entire length of the road and looking at each sign. Because of sign
> inconsistency, one would end up with parallel streets, some abbreviated and
> some not.
It's still the same road, even in the face of variations in the 
spelling. I can't for the life of me think of a reason for worrying 
about whether it's Pkwy or Parkway, as both are easily understood to be 
equivalent. There will only be one official spelling (cf. your plat 
example) which, if it differs from the evidence on the ground, should go 
in "official_name". The key criterion (IMHO) is whether the name shown 
on renderings based on OSM data is useful. Anyone following a satnav's 
directions onto "Orlando Parkway" is not going to decide to ignore a 
sign saying "Orlando Pkwy" on the grounds that it is probably a 
different street and carry on scouring the area for a sign that says 
"Orlando Parkway".

In the case where a street has different spellings on the sign at the 
two ends, where's the boundary? You can't tell, because there isn't one. 
It's the same street. Pick a spelling, and stick to it. Many renderers 
(e.g. mkgmap+Garmin nav) will be relying on the spelling being 
consistent from end to end. If the street name changes in the course of 
the street, even by one letter, it can be considered a "different 
street" leading to extraneous directions. To me, consistency is more 
important than 100% accuracy as judged against soft criteria.


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