Ideas for short URLs to places on OpenStreetMap

Posted by dankarran on 20 November 2011 in English (English)

I wonder if we can improve the way maps of places can be accessed on using short, friendly URLs...

If you look at pages on the wiki, they can (often) be easily accessed by typing something as simple as or because the wiki software will check for the nearest match and send you there.

On the main OSM site, we have a 404 page (see e.g. which currently doesn't do much, but could be put to better use to redirect people to either a known place or a search results page.

When I say known places, I mean we could include redirects for specific countries (e.g. using their ISO country codes and information about their bounding box. We could also do something similar for places in a more general sense, but because there will be overlap there, maybe a search result would be best for that.

Is there currently a way of linking directly to a search result on the main OSM site? I couldn't spot one, but I may have overlooked it.

Any thoughts? Would this be useful? Any drawbacks in terms of losing the static 404 page?

Comment from dankarran on 22 November 2011 at 18:48

Added a Trac ticket - - as a prerequisite to this, so search results can be linked to. Hoping to look into this on Saturday at the hack weekend.

Comment from LivingWithDragons on 22 November 2011 at 19:40

This is really helpful.

For a suggestion, what about adding to the 404 page a "Did you mean..." box. That could link to wiki search results (if a place, then it gives links to the community of said place) along with places on the map.

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