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Nominatim and Postcodes

Posted by lonvia on 16 January 2018 in English (English)

Nominatim (the search engine that powers the search box on the OpenStreetMap website) has recently changed significantly its way how postcodes are handled. This post tries to give a bit of background on what has changed and why.

When you search for a place on, Nominatim not only presents the name of the place in the result but a complete address. This address not only helps distinguish the different places but is also used to narrow down your search. This address is not a postal address as you would put on a postcard. It is more a textual description where the place is located, in which suburb, city, state, country etc. This information is fairly easy to compute from OSM data. There are areas for all these administrative areas. So Nominatim just needs to check in which areas a place is inside, order all appropriately and there is the address.

Postcodes, however, are different. In most countries there is no such thing as postcode areas. Postcodes are simply assigned to a some place (a house or POI) in a fashion that is deemed most practical for the local postal service. Often the post codes follow delivery routes. It might be possible to draw an area around houses with the same postcode but this would be an artificial distinction and there is no guarantee that the resulting areas don't overlap.

For that reason, there are very few boundaries in OSM that describe postcode areas. Mostly postcodes can be found on house numbers and POIs in the addr:postcode tag. But even here coverage is rather sparse. So when computing the address of a place, Nominatim has to go a different way to determine the most likely postcode for a place where no addr:postcode tag exists.

With the new version, Nominatim tries two different methods to infer the postcode of the place: an address lookup and an area-based lookup.

The address lookup comes first. Nominatim assembles all other parts of the address and then checks if any part of the address carries an addr:postcode tag that might apply. It does that going from the most specific part of the address, the street, up to the most generic one, the country. As soon as it finds an appropriate tag, it stops and uses the postcode. This means that when tagging postcodes you can start with assigning an approximate postcode for a larger area, like a complete village or suburb, and then later come back and add addr:postcode tags to the handful of houses that are the exception to rule (or even complete postcode coverage for the whole village and then delete the postcode tag on the village again).

If there is no postcode to be found in the address, Nominatim tries the area method. That means that it ideally should be looking for the closest object with an addr:postcode tag within a certain area and use that postcode as a guess. This is unfortunately a bit expensive, so Nominatim implements a simplified version. For each postcode, it looks for all the points in OSM that are tagged with the appropriate addr:postcode tag and computes one central point, the postcode centroid. When guessing the postcode of an object with the area method, the closest postcode centroid is used. This is not quite as accurate but considerably faster. The postcode centroids are also used when you search for a postcode. If OSM has no postcode area, then an artificial point is returned with the same location as the centroid.

Postcode centroids have been a feature of Nominatim for a long time. However, they have always been static and only computed once when the database was initially imported. Starting with the next release, postcodes become their own entity in Nominatim and can be regularly recomputed and updated. On this is already done once per day now.

Finally, there is also a change in the way postcodes are handled in your search query. Formerly, if you added a postcode to your search, you had to use the one that Nominatim had guessed for the place or you would get no result at all. That was particular annoying when Nominatim had guessed wrong and the search had the right postcode. With the new version Nominatim is now able to detect postcodes in the query and ignore them, if necessary. So if a place has a wrong postcode in Nominatim it is now nonetheless able to find the place by the correct address. There is one catch though: Nominatim needs to understand that the part of your query is indeed a postcode. At the moment it takes this information from OSM itself. That means it can really only detect (and ignore) postcodes that have been previously mapped in OSM somewhere. At some point, it will learn to detect postcodes by their format but that is a project for a future version of Nominatim.

Mi experiencia en SOTM 2017

Posted by juanlacueva on 16 January 2018 in Spanish (Español)

Conferencia de mapas abiertos en Japón - SOTM 2017

Del 18 al 20 de Agosto tuvo lugar la State of the Map 2017 en Aizuwakamatsu, Fukushima, Japón. . Esta es la conferencia internacional de OpenStreetMap, un mapa colaborativo de gran uso en el tercer sector.

Tuve el privilegio de participar presentando el Mapa de Asentamientos que desarrollamos con TECHO.

Además tuve la suerte de conocer grandes proyectos llevados a cabo por miembros de esta gran comunidad. Uno muy digno de destacar es el colectivo Geochicas que trabajan temas de género desde adentro de la comunidad haciendo un trabajo muy valioso.

En este canal se pueden ver las presentaciones de la conferencia:

Quiero agradecer a la OpenStreetMap Foundation por la ayuda para participar en este gran evento y la posibilidad de dar a conocer el gran trabajo hecho por TECHO.

Juan Ignacio

Location: 会津若松市, 福島県, 9650041, Japón

Cimitero Monumentale di Staglieno

Posted by Ale_Zena_IT on 16 January 2018 in Italian (Italiano)

Noi genovesi la chiamiamo l'ottava meraviglia del mondo per la concentrazione di opere d'arte. Nel periodo a cavallo di Natale abbiamo mappato quasi tutti i vialetti e parecchie decine di tombe migliorando ulteriormente il già buon dettaglio precedente. Negli stessi giorni abbiamo scattato forse 10.000 foto su Mapillary.

Location: Media Val Bisagno, Genova, GE, LIG, Italia

Relazioni autobus urbani AMT

Posted by Ale_Zena_IT on 16 January 2018 in Italian (Italiano)

Con la memoria, molti chilometri in auto e il prezioso aiuto di Laser82 (con un nick così immaginate che lavoro potrà fare :-) ) siamo a buon punto con le relazioni (versione 2) della rete AMT. Ad oggi su 121 linee principali (esclusi bus a chiamata vari) 91 hanno relazioni di andata, ritorno e route_master. Escludendo le linee notturne siamo a 80 linee su 99. Mancano ancora diverse relazioni delle linee barrate (ma diverse ci sono già).

Non vedo l'ora di vedere completato il lavoro (ma con le linee dell'estremo ponente ci vorrà più tempo). A lavoro fatto avviseremo anche l'azienda dei trasporti (che conosce già OSM e magari ci sta monitorando). Happy mapping!

Espírito Santo do Pinhal

Posted by BladeTC on 16 January 2018 in Brazilian Portuguese (Português do Brasil)

Concluí o mapeamento de Espírito Santo do Pinhal-SP, que só continha as ruas, previamente bem mapeadas, porem sem os nomes. Ao verificar a camada do IBGE Urbana, a mesma estava não só desalinhada, mas também levemente angulada, impedindo o aproveitamento para os nomes. Procurei na camada "Face" do Censo 2010 do IBGE, tinha o mesmo problema, mas foi possível corrigir o alinhamento e pude continuar o trabalho. Inseri nomes, praças, algumas estradas rurais, lagoas e matas, e fechado a nota que pedia o mapeamento da cidade.

Agora é esperar que usuários locais se interessem e adicionem POIs, construções e outros detalhes.

Duração, 4 dias, trabalhando aproximadamente duas horas por dia.

Location: Rua Barão de Mota Paes, Espírito Santo do Pinhal, Microrregião de São João da Boa Vista, Mesorregião de Campinas, São Paulo, Região Sudeste, Brasil

Detalles sobre la base área Las Palmas

Posted by Diego Sanguinetti on 16 January 2018 in Spanish (Español)

Saludos. He añadido algunos detalles de la base aérea con motivo de la visita del Papa Francisco a Lima el 18 de enero.

Location: Villa Militar Este, Chorrillos, Lima, 15063, Perú

AG Fahrrad-Stadtplan Wolfenbüttel

Posted by jhm-wf on 16 January 2018 in German (Deutsch)

Heute am 16.1.2018 wurde die AG zum Fahrradstadtplan für Wolfenbüttel und seine Ortsteile gegründet: - Valerie Dubiel, Stadt WF: Projektleitung - Jürgen Hartmann, ADFC WF, OSM-Mapping - Klaus Eckstein, ADFC WF

Ziel ist die Aktualisierung und Ergänzung der OSM-Daten im Kartenbereich sowie die Erzeugung eines auf Radfahrerbelange optimierten Kartenbildes für Online und Druck.

Wunschtermin: Juni 2018

Für die Erfassung der OSM-Elemente werden weitere Mapper aus der WF-Community gesucht, die Ergänzungen, Änderungen und Präzisierungen aus ihrem Umfeld benennen und/oder selbst in OSM editieren. Als Redaktionsschluss ist der 16.3.2018 angepeilt. Spätere Änderungen können in die Onlinekarte einfließen, jedoch nicht in die Druckversion.

OpenStreetMap volunteers - you're awesome!

Posted by GOwin on 16 January 2018 in English (English)

On-going humanitarian mapping around Mt. Mayon, Albay, Philippines

This morning, barely 12 hours ago, the OpenStreetMap volunteers from the Philippines set up a task to map an area threatened by the restive Mt. Mayon.

And the global community of digital humanitarians quickly responded:

48% mapped. 7% validated.

We're not done yet, but we wish to acknowledge everyone who quickly responded to our call. Thank you, folks. You're awesome - and you know it. ;)

If you have some minutes to spare, we still have a little over half to complete:

Location: New Lidong Trail, Legazpi, Albay, Bicol Region, 4508, Philippines

5000-esimo changeset

Posted by Aury88 on 16 January 2018 in Italian (Italiano)

Ieri ho festeggiato il mio 5000-esimo changeset. \o/

Location: Borgo Pignatelli, Albani Roccella, Gela, CL, SIC, 93012, Italia

New User

Posted by NinjaRage83 on 16 January 2018 in English (English)

Started mapping today. Nothing to grandiose. Fixed some streets in my city and added/fixed a few buildings and parks. It will take time, but I intend to fully map my area.

Location: Fremont Street, City of Gloversville, Fulton County, New York, 12078, United States of America

Days of mapping: Batangas City (January 2018)

Posted by TagaSanPedroAko on 16 January 2018 in English (English)

Once again, Batangas City's map is growing again with updates, particularly on mapping building floors, addresses and names, missing buildings and POI's, and land use zones.


In order to improve 3D renderings of the city's buildings, especially those in the Poblacion, number of floors are being added through on the ground work using In addition, tagging of building addresses are also done, as there are many buildings with known addresses that can be sighted on outdoor signage. Building numbering also exists, but not all buildings indicate them. Names of buildings are also one part of building map improvements, as the building name form one part of many POI addresses.

Not only missing building details are added, but also many missing buildings constructed or existent since the past year. I mapped new houses and apartments inside Duluhan in Cuta, and a new commercial building along Lt. Col. D. Atienza Street. Building remapping is also done to redraw buildings that does not align properly with the most recent images. As part of this, the building occupied by Novo Department Store is remapped using DigitalGlobe Standard imagery and physical survey.

Points of interest

Many POIs scattered on the urbanized Poblacion and Cuta areas are being added one by one, also on the ground using

Land use zones

Land use zones have been part of my mapping work for Batangas City, but it is not in my priority on the previous mapping. I now placed it in my list of tasks for the city, to mark land use zones the LGU's City Planning and Development Office should have added on their Comprehensive Land Use Plan. Supposedly, the land use tag should go on the large area, not on the individual buildings, especially buildings I, and Project NOAH volunteers, mapped. Land use has been already added on part of Poblacion (the area around barangays 15, 16, and 21), and some areas elsewhere, but most has been not yet mapped, so, I now slowly adding those zones based on previous data added to buildings by LGU employees.

Location: Duluhan, Cuta, Duluhan, Batangas City, Batangas, Calabarzon, 4200, Philippines

ЕженедельникОСМ 389, 390

Posted by Sadless74 on 15 January 2018 in Russian (Русский)

Постараюсь в этом году снова регулярно переводить ЕженельникОСМ

ЕженедельникОСМ 389 (26.12.2017-01.01.2018)

ЕженедельникОСМ 390 (02.01.2018-02.01.2018)

Может вы следите за жизнью русского сообщества OpenStreetMap и готовы присоединится с составлению еженедельных новостей? Напишите мне.

Comenzando con OpenStreetMap

Posted by VyrtualGhost on 15 January 2018 in Spanish (Español)

Editando y descubriendo lugares desde Cañada Juncosa

Desde que empecé a comenzar editando el mapa de OpenStreetMap, solamente me tomaba lo que hacia como hobbie, pero una vez empece a buscar zonas de otros paises y terrenos, me di cuenta que también aprendo y descubro lugares pequeños pero increibles y fascinantes.

Todo comenco editando mi pueblo, Cañada Juncosa. a partir de ahi pase a editar los pueblos del alrededor y Valencia. Una vez ya estaba aburrido de editar estas zonas, pase a editar al azar por el mundo. Y de momento he descubierto lugares como Boutilimit, en Mauritania o Islas en el norte de rusia con poblaciones que ni siquiera hubiese pensado que estubiesen en esos lugares tan inhóspitos.

De momento continuaré descubriendo nuevos lugares e ire poniendo en mi perfil todo lo que voy editando por si quereis seguir los pasos que voy dando.

Location: Calle Valencia, Cañada Juncosa, Cuenca, Castilla-La Mancha, España

Gründung einer OSM-Gruppe in Bochum

Posted by sn2d on 14 January 2018 in German (Deutsch)

In den letzten paar Monaten habe ich einige OSM-Nutzer, die primär in Bochum Einträge vornehmen als Freunde hinzugefügt. Dies hat den Hintergrund, dass ich gerne die bisher in Bochum aktiven OSMler in einer Gruppe zusammenbringen möchte.

Diese Gruppe soll regelmäßige Treffen abhalten, sich über Probleme und Erfahrungen austauschen und gemeinsam Mappen (z.B. orts- [ein Stadtteil] oder themengebunden [Videokameras]). Zudem sollen Einstiegsworkshops für neue OSM-Interessierte durchgeführt werden.

Jeder der gerne Teil dieser Gruppe werden möchte, kann sich einfach per Nachricht bei mir melden. Ich werde einige Nutzer direkt ansprechen. Sobald wir 5-10 Leute zusammen haben, soll es das erste Treffen geben.

Örtliche Heimat der OSM-Gruppe soll der Bochumer Hackerspace "das labor" in der Alleestraße 50 werden. Dort haben wir Vortragsräume, Getränke, Snacks und eine ziemlich gute innenstadtnahe ÖPNV-Anbindung. Wer einfach so mal vorbeikommen möchte, ist natürlich herzlich eingeladen.

Ich freue mich sehr darauf Bochum gemeinsam mit euch zu kartieren und darüber auszutauschen.

Ergänzung (15.01.18): Dass es in Dortmund und Essen bereits Gruppen gibt, ist bekannt. Jedoch geht es darum speziell in Bochum eine Gruppe zu gründen, da derzeit viele Bauprojekte umgesetzt werden und die lokalen Initiativen mehr denn je freies und detailliertes Kartenmaterial benötigen.

Ergänzung (16.01.18): Der Hackerspace 'das labor' hat da schon mal einen Tweet zum Teilen gepostet:

Location: Kruppwerke, Weitmar, Bochum-Mitte, Bochum, Regierungsbezirk Arnsberg, Nordrhein-Westfalen, 44793, Deutschland

Proposed Admin Levels for Turkmenistan

Posted by apm-wa on 14 January 2018 in English (English)

Now that I have been editing OSM's Turkmenistan map for nearly three years, I feel confident enough to offer a suggested set of administrative levels. I invite one and all to take a look at my proposal at and offer constructive feedback. This proposal is based on my by now fairly good knowledge of the political structure of Turkmenistan and the way the hierarchy works.

The last two days have been fairly productive. Ann and I went exploring neighorhoods in Gypjak, Choganly, Taze Eyyam, and Taze Zaman where we were missing street names, numbers of schools, and such. We mostly filled in blanks in the map but also updated some streets in Taze Eyyam plus added a few in the new subdivision being built on the west side of Choganly. We visited the unidentified neighborhood on the northwest corner of the demolished former Ruhabat dacha community, which has absolutely no signs, but asked locals what it is called. They identified it as Galkynysh (Turkmen for "renaissance"), a neighborhood subordinate to the Choganly jurisdiction, which is part of the city of Ashgabat.

The Ruhabat dacha community is definitely gone. We drove through part of the territory, and crews were there watering saplings that have been planted where old imagery shows a dacha community.

Location: Ahal Region, Turkmenistan

Mapear cidades do Estado do Ceará

Posted by FrancyskoMarkes on 14 January 2018 in Brazilian Portuguese (Português do Brasil)

Este ano tenho por objetivo mapear o máximo de cidades do Estado, que estão com as ruas sem nomes. Ano passado iniciei a minha contribuição aqui no OSM. Errei, acertei, corrigi, aprendi, enfim, continuo aprendendo mais e com isso, fazer um bom trabalho. Gosto de mapear, é como se fosse uma paixão rsrs. Enfim, fiz o mapeamento de algumas cidades do Ceará, faltam muitas ainda, mas espero que este ano façamos um bom trabalho e vamos expandir mais e mais as nossas contribuições. Abraços e até a próxima!

Location: Bairro Bem Viver, Carnaubal, Microrregião de Ibiapaba, Mesorregião Noroeste Cearense, Ceará, Região Nordeste, Brasil

On Sett Pavements

Posted by Pieter Vander Vennet on 14 January 2018 in English (English)

I'm from Bruges (Belgium). You know, that famous medieval city in Belgium.

As everyone in Belgium knows, the center of Bruges is paved mostly in sett/cobblestones. Personally, I'm pretty fond of those sett pavements. They're way nicer to see then asphalt (not to mention conrete plates), the absorb a lot of heat in the summer (cooling the city) which is released again in autumn.

But, as the bicycle is my primary means of transportation, one drawback comes to mind: they're uncomfortable to cycle on - especially when pulling a cart. Some types of set pavement are to be avoided then - I'd rather drive 200 meters over asphalt than 100 over the big boulder. However, the smaller sett -often laid in arcs- is more comfortable to drive on and has a smaller penalty.

This implies that more information should be added to the 'surface'-tag. In this document, I propose a few extra tags to deal with this extra information; and what kind of sett these are. These tags are used in Bruges; feel free to use them in other places as well.

All example pictures are taken by me, and may be used freely for OSM-related endeavours (e.g. wiki, tools, ...).

Cobblestone vs. Sett

First things first.. What is sett stone? And what are cobblestones?

According to Wikipedia, Cobblestone is a natural building material based on cobble-sized stones, and is used for pavement roads, streets, and buildings. Sett is distinct from a cobblestone by being quarried or shaped to a regular form, whereas cobblestone is generally of a naturally occurring form.

In practice, cobblestone is often used in OSM to describe sett stones - although incorrectly. The wiki itself acknowledges this:

  • surface=cobblestone: Cobblestone paving. "Cobblestone" is used in the colloquial meaning here, and therefore includes the type of stones that would more precisely be called "setts". (Used for around 162k ways)
  • surface=sett: Sett surface is formed from stones quarried or worked to a regular shape. In OSM, this is a subset of "cobblestone", and it is far more common to tag these surfaces with surface=cobblestone instead. (Used for around 52k ways).

In other words, please, only use sett from now on; and use cobblestone only for when the natural form of the stones is still visible and thus results in a random pattern of laying the stones.

And then there is the even more attrocious surface=cobblestone:flattened; still in use for around 4k ways. The wiki says on this that this is neither a correct name, like sett (cobblestone is by definition not shaped into any form), nor a colloquially used name, like cobblestone. In other words, a tag that should not be used anymore and be translated to sett.


As already discussed: cobblestone is somewhat chaotic in natura, as can be seen in this image (again, from Wikipedia).


Types of sett

With these prerequisites out of the way, lets talk about the main topic of the post: sett in all its sizes and patterns.

In Bruges, there are three kinds of shapes:

  • Rectangular, often quite big (25cm*10cm)
  • Square, measuring around 10cm*10cm
  • Cube, small cubes of around 5cm

These can be laid down in various patterns, as described belowed.

Patterns of sett

Big boulder (aka 'normal sett')

surface=sett implies sett:pattern=interleaved and sett:type=rectangular

The first, and most common type of sett are the 'big boulders': the big, rectangular sett stones, in a interleaved pattern like a brick wall. As these are the most common stones, I didn't bother to add more tagging to them.


surface=sett sett:pattern=arc implies sett:type=cube

The second most common type of sett are small cubes, in a pattern of multiple, parallell arcs. Nice to see, and not to be confused with the very similar belgian fan.

Some examples I found in Bruges:

  • Simon-Stevenplein has arcs, where a few arcs are in white cubes. Notice how those white arcs never touch each other:
  • De Burg in Bruges has arcs as well:

Belgian Fan

surface=sett sett:pattern=belgian_fan implies sett:type=cube

Even more beautifull -and extremely rare- is the belgian fan. The cubes are laid in shell-like or fan-like patterns, as can be seen in the Sint-Amandsstraat near the Markt:

This is the only street in Bruges that still has this pattern! There used to be Belgian Fan in the streets around the Simon Steven-square as well; but a recent (~10 year ago) reconstruction of the site used 'normal' arcs, as visible above. The other place that still has a few specs of belgian fan is one construction site as well; so it is endangered as well. Perhaps someone should complain to Unesco that we are losing some world heritage!


surface=sett sett:pattern=interleaved implies sett:type=square

Although square sett is mostly used for foothpaths, it is sometimes used for shorter streets or speed tables as well. The square sett can be used interleaved, as here:

Square without pattern tag

surface=sett sett:type=square implies sett:type=square

... or used in a straight way, as here:

Paving stones

At last a word on paving_stones: the consensus here is that these are (in general) modern, mechanically shaped to neatly fit. The can be cast from concrete, they can be natural stones that are cut in a specific shape, ... For example, I consider brick roads to be a subclass of paving stones (but I'd tag it as surface=brick anyway).

The distinction with sett can be very small and subjective. For example, I have been doubting what to call the following:

In conclusion: a nice map to see

As you've already noticed in my previous posts, I've customized the routing parameters for OSMand to help with this task. It also was an excellent reason to map all the street pavements of Bruges. It was a lot of fun to do, and it helped to discover new places in Bruges; both beautiful or ugly.

The result of all this mapping can be visualized, thanks to overpass-turbo.

Location: Brugge-Centrum, Brugge, Bruges, Brugge, West Flanders, Flanders, Belgium

Missing Highways in Metro Manila, PH, and neighbouring provinces.

Posted by GOwin on 14 January 2018 in English (English)

Last week, we shared a a tasking project to update missing roads in Metro Manila 0 in the local mailing list. We've also published a few more tasks to cover adjacent provinces:

The data is not perfect, and you may even encounter false positives, but it's pretty good with pointing out a good number of missing roads in essential areas that local mappers have yet to digitize.

These are all part of the on-going initiatives by Kaart, to make awesome data for PH, and help grow local mapping communities.

If you're keen on improving the map of your home town or province, and they're not on this list yet, please let me know so I can put them up sooner rather than later, and we can work together in filling-in gaps in your favorite neighborhoods.

How about a mapa-thon soon? I'm planning to organize one, primarily to work on these tasks, and for the community to meet each other, and maybe welcome new ones. Would you folks have any suggestions, or is your org interested in collaborating? Let me know.

Do email me for any concern, or other questions, about these tasks.

Location: Mahogany Townhomes, Plainview, Mandaluyong, Metro Manila, 1550, Philippines

Mairies et églises de l'Aisne

Posted by Pichasso on 13 January 2018 in French (Français)

Un an après la Somme, l'Aisne est le second département de l'ancienne Picardie dont l'ensemble des mairies et églises est intégré dans OSM. Le Pas-de-Calais et le Nord étant également dans ce cas depuis 4 ans, seules les communes de l'Oise restent à être traitées pour compléter la région des Hauts-de-France de ce point de vue.

.fit フォーマットの変換

Posted by hibagonsan on 12 January 2018 in Japanese (日本語)

.fit ファイルを .gpxに変換するツールの覚書き