In Croatia some residential areas are well kept, while others are quite lacking. Example: Zadar vs Preko.

What to map?

This begs the question which entity should be mapped first with the largest gain for the effort? This can only be answered in the need of the beholder. For a tourist it would be street names, since accommodations are bound by an address and after the town name, the street name is the next factor to reduce the search area of the location.

There is a major requirement for this to fruition and that is that the town has to have varied street names. Depending where in the country one is traveling, it is quite typical that the street names are equal to the town’s name (e.g. Lazina). In such a situation latitude/longitude coordinates should be a requirement of the host to provide over the house number, because lots are not linearly arranged. Plus lots of such towns don’t have house numbers and/or buildings on the map.

Where are the buildings?

Lots of towns have buildings, though these are usually only a fraction of what actually exists. E.g. in Preko:

OSM data in JOSM depicting the lack of buildings mapped although the aerial imagery shows otherwise in Preko

Additionally, if the town has narrow pedestrian zones, one can expect that lots of buildings are missing and/or misaligned. e.g. in Komiža:

OSM data in JOSM depicting the misalignment of buildings in shape in Komiža

Narrow street in Komiža

Narrow street in Komiža

Mapping such towns are tricky without good aerial imagery and it might worth the investment to get a drone for such scenarios.

How to help map such towns?

GPX/GPS tracks and notes with street names help greatly. Notes can easily be made and shared on StreetComplete/SCEE. One should add the start of the street and at least take a picture of street name sign, if one is not willing to type it out.

Personally, I try to add the highway value and the compass direction to the note. This helps when the aerial imagery is to get an approximation of its presence on the map. E.g. in Komiža:

A set of notes in Komiža to help with street directions and names


Change the keyboard layout to the language at hand, so in Croatia it would be Hrvatski. This eases the pain of getting their special characters.

What’s with Wikipedia?

Lots of the entries do not exist in the native tongue (e.g. Hum and plenty more do not exist in English (e.g. Žena Glava translates to wife’s head).

Tried to do site seeing via its information and was disappointed when the promised wasn’t there (e.g. Califfi Castle).

POI and existing data quality

To my surprise there was a good chunk of existing data with e.g. surface information of the roads or if benches have backrests. This is good news and most likely OSM’ers were there on holiday and maximised their StreetComplete contribution. So if more entities existed, data coverage could be quite quickly covered over the next couple of tourist seasons.

The interesting part of the POIs is that they were denoted in the native tongue of the mapper e.g. French or Hungarian and rarely in English.

Next steps

The next steps would be:

  1. Get the data on which towns see the most tourists.
  2. Go through the list and see what is the highway coverage, map ideally all roads.
  3. Go through the list and see what is the building coverage, map buildings around the main market square first.
Location: Komiža, Grad Komiža, Split-Dalmatia County, 21485, Croatia

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