[OSM-talk] The world’s best addressable map

steve at asklater.com steve at asklater.com
Thu Oct 23 16:56:50 UTC 2014

I'm adding OSMF-talk since it concerns what I outlined in the original “vision statement” email.

I was perhaps too specific and jumped ahead saying “world’s best addressable map”.

What I really mean is the “world's most complete open map”. There are three pieces to a modern map. There's the display piece, the routing and the geocoding.

We won the display piece. It looks great. We are ok at routing. Not perfect or great, but ok. We're really lacking on the addressing. If we can get addressing even to the “ok” stage then a lot more people will use OSM, which means more editors, more community and more data. This is because the main use for maps today by the public is to get somewhere, and we can't help with that without all three pieces. Right now we have 2/3.

I jumped ahead because I see this every day, and I understand not everybody does. I think all the other things are good too, even every tree in OSM! I just know that if we had to pick one thing to focus on it would be addressing, as it will get all the other things to happen faster too. But that doesn't mean you can't add trees in to OSM at the same time, just that the shortest path to getting more of everything is to get more of addressing.

Also let's be clear - addressing isn't easy. It's complicated and hard. But that's a good goal to have, and OSM was complicated and hard in the first place.


From: Oleksiy Muzalyev
Sent: ‎Thursday‎, ‎October‎ ‎23‎, ‎2014 ‎2‎:‎53‎ ‎AM
To: Jóhannes Birgir Jensson, talk at openstreetmap.org

I agree that addresses is a complicated field. There are different historical systems, there are cities where even many streets are without names, etc. There is a lot of space for innovation, certainly.

What I meant is that it is not obligatory to map a city or a town addressable from one end to another, one house after another, or wait until a municipal government releases into public domain its database of addresses (which may be not without errors or omissions too).

If there are, say, 10% of buildings where 90% of the population lives, studies and works, it makes sense to map them addressable first. Often these are large modern buildings with clear addresses.

And it is much easier to return into the same area for the second time, when there are already at least some large buildings with numbers, much easier to orientate oneself. 

I see from your example that in the city of Reykjavik almost every building has a number, so you have a more advanced set of priorities.

Best regards,

On 23.10.2014 10:39, Jóhannes Birgir Jensson wrote:

I like addresses but they don't behave like you would think. For example we have a part of a street that has each individual flat as its own address number. We first used the number;number;number; approach but I'm now in favor of naming the house what it says on the front (the range 37-51) and then put address nodes on the building so it appears in search, with roughly the position accounting for where in the house the apartment is. In this case the numbers closest to the street are at the bottom floor (the stadium approach I favor). I'm in favor of moving this same method over to the other houses.


As for being able to search within a specific town or area then I think we should look again at relations and super-relations. You could group streets relations into a neighborhood relation and then into a town or municipality relation etc. This of course works very differently based on country but for Iceland I can't see us hitting any limits.


Regards on behalf of the Icelandic Local Chapter applicant,

Þann 22.10.2014 18:28, skrifaði Clifford Snow:

On Wed, Oct 22, 2014 at 5:04 AM, Oleksiy Muzalyev <oleksiy.muzalyev at bluewin.ch> wrote:

It is not necessary to put down a number on each building. It is possible to use addr:interpolation (odd, even, or all).

We put down a number on the first building, then on the last, connect them in JOSM, and add addr:interpolation: all . For example here: http://osm.org/go/0CFn0AZ_d--?m= . It is also very useful on a street with many small houses. And it is searchable. For example if there is number 15 and number 27 on the map for a street, and they are connected with addr:interpolation: odd, and if one searches number 21, the map will show the number 21 all right.

Then, there is another approach. We first map addressable large building, where a lot of people live or work. Kind of of going after the low-hanging fruit.

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