OpenStreetMap

I am overtly an OSM advocate. For many reasons. But I’d like to focus on just one reason why I believe Open Street Map (OSM) will surpass GM (Google maps), even though today, GM is in much broader use because of its transport navigation capability.

Below is one area in which OSM is already better, and you can help make it better in many more small (or large) areas.

West Cammachmore, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, is a small village or hamlet, consisting of 50 - 100 or so houses, and you can see all the house names on the OSM map, which are searchable, in the www.osm.org map page search box.

https://www.openstreetmap.org/#map=17/57.04474/-2.15279

GM does not show this level of detail on its maps, and often does not contain addressing information which is accurate enough, after a search, for routing in the last 300m or so of the radius.

This can lead to problems for delivery drivers, and others, searching for an exact address using GMs.

In towns, or cities, with streets that are numbered sequentially, with odd numbers on the left, and even numbers on the right, this is not a problem. Because a delivery driver can easily locate such a numbered house, but in a hamlet, often, there are only house names, and no sequential numbers to aid locating the exact address.

For small communities knowing the name of each house, when directing this lost traffic, is very handy, and saves return to sender delivery problems.

Once a small community is accurately mapped, the local community will, over time, learn where to go for accurate, detailed, mapping information.

Detailed mapping creates better community connectivity.

That is why I mapped West Cammachmore, even though I don’t live there.

I simply walked round the hamlet and surveyed the house names and asked the few people I know who live locally if they knew the names of houses that were not displayed outside houses.

If you have a clipboard with outline traces of houses on it that you are marking up, then sometimes someone local is going to ask you what you are doing.

I always find walking round a place, to survey it for mapping, interesting. You never know what you will learn, about the locality, the people who live there, the local history, the local builder /developer, the local farmer, etc.

After what usually amounts to a few survey trips, and entering survey results into OSM, I use JOSM for this, it can take a few days for additions to appear on the map. It is always satisfying to see new additions appear on the map.

House names or addresses can be made visible on the OSM map by drawing the trace and tagging with the tags :-

building=house and addr:house name=The Steading (If the house name is “The Steading”) or addr:housenumber=12 (If the house number is 12)

In some cases both tags will be applicable.

Location: Cammachmore, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, AB39 3NJ, United Kingdom

Comment from nickjohnston on 12 July 2020 at 19:24

Good work–it’s great to see this level of detail on the map.

On this point:

In towns, or cities, with streets that are numbered sequentially, with odd numbers on the left, and even numbers on the right, this is not a problem.

There are many streets where that is the case, but the more addresses I add to map, the more unusual cases I find. Here are just a few recent examples (without even looking at the classic “Falsehoods programmers believe about addresses” article):

  • Numbering on one side of the street jumps from 3 to 13.
  • Subdivsion–numbers like 24a and 24b are quite common, but I recently saw a street with houses from 24a to 24g.
  • Houses with an address on one street, but their entrance on a different street.
  • A block of flats where most flats use a communal entrance, but where some flats on the first floor have their own external staircase.
  • Some cul-de-sacs numbered anti-clockwise.
  • A single “logical” road having two or more different names, with different numbering schemes. (See Charlton Lane and Greenhills Road.)
  • A road with a named terrace block, so you can have (say) number 18 in that terrace almost opposite a different number 18 on the same street.

As such, I think it’s useful to add all addresses to the map, even “obvious” ones.

Comment from ABZ_OSM on 13 July 2020 at 09:45

That is a very interesting reply, thanks, with lots of useful information.

  • “Numbering on one side of the street jumps from 3 to 13.” I have never seen that. I am surprised by this becasue often the builder / developer leaves number 13 out. Apparently it is an unlucky number. Do you have any anecdotal information regards the reason 3 to 13 is left out.

  • When I mapped Newtonhill, Aberdeen, Scotland, Europe, I found this very curious situation. 2, 2 and 2a. Click on the house to see the associated street. This must create some difficulty for folks on that corner https://www.openstreetmap.org/#map=19/57.03258/-2.14992 I mapped 99.9% of Newtonhill, having surveyed it countless times, and it is just south of West Cammachmore. If you croll down just a bit from West Cammachmore you will see it. Around Skateraw there is an interesting mixture of names and numbers.

And here is a case of number 52 beside number 52, again in Newtonhill. That will have caused some interesting situations. https://www.openstreetmap.org/#map=19/57.03721/-2.14890 Click on the house to see the associated street.

  • “Houses with an address on one street, but their entrance on a different street.” Yes when I mapped Portlethen, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, Europe, I found an interesting case of this. You can see houses on Rowanbank Road with an entrance on Cookston Road https://www.openstreetmap.org/#map=18/57.06349/-2.13136 I mapped 99% of Portlethen, just north of West Cammachmore. There was a lot of walking and checking. It’s not perfect but all the buildings and addressing information is in there.

  • “A block of flats where most flats use a communal entrance, but where some flats on the first floor have their own external staircase.” Yes, this is curious. I have across that before but I have never mapped it, or seen it on OSM. If you have a link to an example I’d appreciate it.

  • “Some cul-de-sacs numbered anti-clockwise.” Do you know if there is an international, Scottish or European defined way of doing this, or does each place follow some sort of local tradition?

  • “A single “logical” road having two or more different names, with different numbering schemes. (See Charlton Lane and Greenhills Road.)” For this reason alone colouring the map becomes imperative. It would give a distinct advantage over GM. I think OSF should consider a colouring the map option to sort this confusion. This will lead to better community connectivity in all sorts of ways. This query shows clearly which streets 2, 2 and 2a belong to http://overpass-turbo.eu/s/W2F This query shows clearly which streets 52 and 52 belong to http://overpass-turbo.eu/s/W2H

  • “As such, I think it’s useful to add all addresses to the map, even “obvious” ones.” Yes, and then people can search. I find overpass queries particularly useful for sorting the confusion, I will be doing a number of posts on overpass queries, asking for help in areas where I have no understanding, to follow.

Comment from ABZ_OSM on 13 July 2020 at 10:01

How do you edit a comment to improve layout for quotes etc.

I just realised kramdown can show quotes neatly.

Admin, can you add the capability please?

Comment from ABZ_OSM on 13 July 2020 at 10:14

I’ve cleaned it up. Should be easiear to read .. hear goes again. Comment edit would be much easiear. Do you know if it’s there?

Comment from ABZ_OSM on 13 July 2020 at 10:16

That is a very interesting reply, thanks, with lots of useful information.

>“Numbering on one side of the street jumps from 3 to 13.”

I have never seen that. I am surprised by this becasue often the builder / developer leaves number 13 out. Apparently it is an unlucky number. Do you have any anecdotal information regards the reason 3 to 13 is left out.

When I mapped Newtonhill, Aberdeen, Scotland, Europe, I found this very curious situation. 2, 2 and 2a. Click on the house to see the associated street. This must create some difficulty for folks on that corner https://www.openstreetmap.org/#map=19/57.03258/-2.14992

Later, below, I have included a neat MapCSS query which makes everything clear. Scroll down to see link.

I mapped 99.9% of Newtonhill, having surveyed it countless times, and it is just south of West Cammachmore. If you croll down just a bit from West Cammachmore you will see it. Around Skateraw there is an interesting mixture of names and numbers.

And here is a case of number 52 beside number 52, again in Newtonhill. That will have caused some interesting situations. https://www.openstreetmap.org/#map=19/57.03721/-2.14890 Click on the house to see the associated street.

Later, below, I have included a neat MapCSS query which makes everything clear. Scroll down to see link.

>“Houses with an address on one street, but their entrance on a different street.”

Yes when I mapped Portlethen, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, Europe, I found an interesting case of this. You can see houses on Rowanbank Road with an entrance on Cookston Road https://www.openstreetmap.org/#map=18/57.06349/-2.13136 I mapped 99% of Portlethen, just north of West Cammachmore. There was a lot of walking and checking. It’s not perfect but all the buildings and addressing information is in there.

>“A block of flats where most flats use a communal entrance, but where some flats on the first floor have their own external staircase.”

Yes, this is curious. I have across that before but I have never mapped it, or seen it on OSM. If you have a link to an example I’d appreciate it.

>“Some cul-de-sacs numbered anti-clockwise.”

Do you know if there is an international, Scottish or European defined way of doing this, or does each place follow some sort of local tradition?

>“A single “logical” road having two or more different names, with different numbering schemes. (See Charlton Lane and Greenhills Road.)”

For this reason alone colouring the map becomes imperative. It would give a distinct advantage over GM. I think OSF should consider a colouring the map option to sort this confusion. This will lead to better community connectivity in all sorts of ways.

This query shows clearly which streets 2, 2 and 2a belong to http://overpass-turbo.eu/s/W2F

This query shows clearly which streets 52 and 52 belong to http://overpass-turbo.eu/s/W2H

>“As such, I think it’s useful to add all addresses to the map, even “obvious” ones.”

Yes, and then people can search. I find overpass queries particularly useful for sorting the confusion, I will be doing a number of posts on overpass queries, asking for help in areas where I have no understanding, to follow.


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