Something Useful to do Whilst in Covid-19 Lockdown

Posted by alexkemp on 24 March 2020 in English (English)

Obtain UK Schools info

Above is the link to a recent Diary from CjMalone with info on using to obtain a list of all the UK schools mapped in OSM within a particular Postcode, ordered by how well they correspond to the UK site.

I’m a pensioner and am supposed to slowly rot within my home without any socialisation with any other human. So, no change there. However, whilst we are in that Lockdown state — I’m over 70, and therefore have been instructed by the government to stay isolated at home — I may as well do something useful. I’m currently working my way through NG, and have just completed the 28 Nottinghamshire schools that could not match up with a school at all. That has taken me 3 days. Phew! I’m either superb in my coverage or (far more likely) just very slow.

f12|Remote Control:

If using JOSM, then a useful shortcut is to enable Remote Control (Preferences: f12|Remote Control (LHS vertical column icon)|click in tick-box for 'Enable Remote Control'). Within your Web Browser, be sure to disable all Script restrictions for OSM, else there can be no inter-connection. Then, with JOSM launched, and whilst logged in to your OSM account in a browser, and with the relevant part of the map active (for me at this instance:, click on the browser Edit drop-down and choose Edit with Remote Control. You can now switch to JOSM and that Way is waiting for you to edit it. Be sure to disconnect the Remote Control facility after use unless you want your computer to (possibly) be open to the internet.


The key for (as best as I can tell) is that it looks for the ref:edubase=(URN number) to relate the OSM school with the site, so make sure to add that. There have been a lot of school changes as they have become Primary schools (rather than Junior) or Academies, etc., so there may be a name update to make as well. The key here would be to edit name=Example Junior to become old_name=Example Junior and then add the new name.

The OSM advised method is to create an Area for the School perimeter (in JOSM use the ‘A’ key to create connected nodes and eventually join to create a circumference of the whole School) and use the menu:Presets|Facilities|Education|School (or college) to add the school (or college) + ref:edubase value into that Area (edubase is NOT part of the Preset, and thus needs to be added by itself). Complete that with menu:Presets|Annotation|Address for the postal address & menu:Presets|Annotation|Contact for the Website, etc..

I continue to have problems with this. Here is my brief guide, but feel free to correct me in the comments (see also wiki:ISCED (International Standard Classification of Education) scale:

  • isced:level=0 : Infants/Nursery :: before age 5-7
  • isced:level=1 : Primary :: age 5 → 11
  • isced:level=2 : Secondary/Academy :: age 11 → 15
  • isced:level=3 : Sixth Form College :: age 15 → 18
  • isced:level=4 : University :: age 18 →
  • isced:level=5 : University :: age 18 →


House Number:
If empty, then place the School/College name into House name
Place name:
I’ve had a school within an Industrial Estate. This is the place for the name of that Estate (and the Unit number goes into Unit/Suite) but you will have to click through a dumb warning.
City name:
This is the nearest large Town/City. Small towns go into Suburb.
Whilst the OSM system can determine the Postcode from the location (it already has a full set of Postcode centroids as those are all opensource now) human visitors cannot, so it is a good idea to add them.
Country code:
Do not bother
Useful if the school is located within a large multi-level building or multi-unit Estate, etc.
House name:
Most Schools & Colleges need their name here.
If just a handful of buildings, it is a hamlet.
Also used for small towns.
This would be the best option for the UK ‘County’ value. However, the general advice is not to bother (as long as that part of the country has a full set of boundary relations in place) as the system will derive the County from those. Thanks to CjMalone for that.

Added later:
Whilst the wiki gives that advice, it does completely ignore the fact that many visitors are humans who may just want to know what the County is. They are not part of the “system” and nowhere on a school way does OSM show the County, nor give a method to discover it, unless someone has explicitly added it. If the system auto-filled a County field for every school, then the wiki advice would make sense. It does not, so the wiki advice is non-sense.

Comment from CjMalone on 25 March 2020 at 12:10

Which Address section does the County go into?

I’ve seen the county in at least addr:county, addr:state and probably others. addr:county is not mentioned on the wiki, so is probably wrong. addr:state is pretty vague, so I guess you could put it there.

However I’ve not been adding it, as the wiki says it can be interpreted.

Using addr:country=, addr:state=, and addr:province=* are optional, since they can almost always be determined from boundary relations (if present and valid).

Comment from philippec on 25 March 2020 at 19:25

Welcome back Alex. I was afraid I would not hear anymore your free mind.

Comment from alexkemp on 26 March 2020 at 00:02

@CjMalone: Thanks. That makes good sense to let it be auto-interpreted (all NG have full boundary relations, since I put them there).

@philippec: It takes far more than that to suppress me. But good to feel your support.

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