[OSM-talk] Key:Destination Abbreviations

Tobias Zwick osm at westnordost.de
Sun Dec 18 22:27:03 UTC 2016

Hey Edwin

I read through the discussion on that page.

I think you focus too much on this 20:1 statistic. I too think this does
not really belong on the main page, but this is not really the issue.

I do not have the impression that anyone is using the 20:1 statistic as
an argument whether the destination name should be abbreviated or not.
The argument is that abbreviations in names being expanded for the DB is
the standard _in general_ and that the destination-value is just another
name(-like) tag.
Which I can totally follow. After all, where is the difference between a
sign on a freeway saying "Argument Ave" for the next exit and an actual
street sign at an intersection saying "Argument Ave"?

Why should this one sign not be abbreviated (street name) but that other
sign (freeway exit name) should?

As Carciofo said on the discussion page, I don't see the use case why
this consensus on names should be overturned for a specific tag.
You mentioned so that the actual sign could be displayed by the
navigation software. Well, it still can, the software just needs to know
how to abbreviate words, which is easy to do. The other way round,
automatically expanding an abbreviation (i.e. reading aloud) may be

This is an old argument, it has been brought up years ago when talked
about whether to abbreviate names or not in general. That the same
argument applies to Key:destination again is a clear sign that
Kay:destination is in fact just another name tag.

Tobias Zwick

On 18.12.2016 10:40 PM, Edwin Smith wrote:
> Hi all,
> There is a disagreement that could use a few more eyes.  Destination has
> the explicit purpose of telling a
> navigation program the wording of a sign.  It is typically used as a tag
> of a Motorway Link.  It is not visible
> in the Mapnik in any way.
> One side of the disagreement argues that if an abbreviation appears on
> the sign (Ave for instance)
> it should be expanded to Avenue in the Destination Tag.  The arguments are:
> 1) OpenStreetMap discourages abbreviations
> 2) If you search through Destinations every time Avenue appears it is a
> mapper vote for expanding Ave to
> Avenue.
> The other side of the disagreement (which I support) argues to present
> the sign to the navigation program
> exactly as it appears, neither abbreviating or expanding abbreviations. 
> The arguments are:
> 1) Destination is for the use of the navigation program.  If
> abbreviations are changed it has no way to
> know if the sign says Ave or Avenue.  If they are unchanged it can make
> its own decision as to what use
> of abbreviations is best for its users.
> 2) It is just wrong to count every Avenue as a mapper vote for expanding
> Ave because it very often is
> just the mapper's correct reporting that the sign has Avenue spelled out.
> Check it out in the Key:destination Discussion.  As you will guess, the
> EDSS comments are mine.
> Cheers,
> Edwin Smith
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