Forgive me, if this question is already answered, but on a quick search, I could not find an answer that fits my issue 100%:

It is possible to use the place=town/village/suburb etc. on an area or a node. In most cases in my area, both an area and a node are used at the same time. And when tagging, I also do it like this to keep the database uniform.

Although it has the result, that a named place appears now twice in the search results, which is not good in my opinion.

But it would make sense to use both as in my opinion:

  • the area with place=* shows clearly, that a certain feature (e.g. street, restaurant) is located in this village or town.
  • the node with place=* is useful for routing purposes, e.g. I want to go to village XXX, please send me to the village centre (e.g. main square or something similar).

What is the optimal way of having both benefits without disadvantages? Or is it just like eating the cake and keeping it at the same time?

asked 28 Feb '12, 09:57

moszkva%20ter's gravatar image

moszkva ter
accept rate: 17%

edited 28 Feb '12, 09:58

I would like to expand this question: What about multipolygon consisting of all the residential/commercial/farming/... boundaries?
That should give precise borders of the city without creating duplicate geometries.

(28 Feb '12, 20:30) LM_1

Follow the tagging good practices and in your case, the "One feature, one OSM element". Therefore, put the tag place either on a node or on the area, but not on both.

For a village or town, the "area" might be:

  • the settlement itself where most of the buildings are, the urbanized area. This can be tagged with "landuse=residential" on a single polygon as a starting point. Later, it can be more detailed and split in smaller pieces (apart the residentials, you might have farms, shops, industries, offices, crafts, etc areas). But if you have a single polygon, you can put the tag "place=" there. Or keep the place node and tag the polygon with the tag "place_name=" (see this wiki or that one).
  • the administrative boundary which may include the countryside around the settlement. You can also put the tag "place*" on this polygon (or more commonly, on the boundary/multipolygon relation). But this is less usual as we can see in the statistics that currently only 6% of the boundaries are combined with the "place" tag. An alternative is to keep the place node indicating where the place "centre" is (more or less, the definition of the place centre being sometimes subjective) and attach it to the boundary relation with the role "admin_centre".
permanent link

answered 28 Feb '12, 12:37

Pieren's gravatar image

accept rate: 15%

edited 12 May '14, 11:26

aseerel4c26's gravatar image

aseerel4c26 ♦

thanks for the hint with the place_name. That should work out. Unfortunately, in Georgia we do not have any admin levels for villages and small suburbs / neighbourhoods. They either don't exist, or a source is not accessible. So for now, this workaround must do it.

Also, in Tbilisi, historic neighbourhoods are sometimes split up between two raion boundaries, which is also a little annoying to tag. But with a polygon and place_name, I think it is fine.

(01 Mar '12, 06:49) moszkva ter

Seems like there are differing views, because I tend to think that the area provides a superset of what the node provides, so the node can be deleted once the area is created (the node will often have been added by an earlyer mapper, as an approximation.

Some arguments why a node isn't worth it when an area is available:

  • The center of the area will usually be just as good an approximation of the town center as could be achieved with a node.
  • For smaller places it really doesn't matter to have the map point you to the "center". For bigger cities, you'd typically be interested in a specific neighbouhood anyway, so puting the city center as a lone feature in the map is not very usefull.
  • If you do want your satnav to navigate to a specific neighbourhood, there are other osm tags better suited for that (landuse=residential/comercial, individual place=locality within the larger place=* area, etc).
  • As mentioned by OP, tools get confused when there is duplicate data in the database.

So again I'd say do not keep the node after you draw the area. If you really want to map the city center explicitly (say because the town has a very excentric shape), do so using a place=locality node or a landuse=* area and use "name=city center" instead of "name=Foobartown".

permanent link

answered 28 Feb '12, 11:17

Vincent%20de%20Phily's gravatar image

Vincent de P... ♦
accept rate: 19%

Your advice somehow violates the "on-ground-rule". If a neighbourhood is not called "City Centre" officially, why add it as a name then?

(01 Mar '12, 06:46) moszkva ter

Do not invent names like 'city center' if they are not used locally. Also, for marking the "center" of a place, there's ""admin_centre", as explained in Pieren's answer.

(14 May '14, 09:07) sleske

In my point of view, the place=* tag should be used on a node. The spatial relation between a feature and the village/town can be deduced with the administrative boundary. See also this similar question (with my answer).

The area is used for giving the administrative boundary, while the node give a more accurate information on the "place" center's position.

In some case, there isn't a suitable boundary, but it is mainly for the hamlets, that are commonly attached to a village/town with a administrative boundary (at least in France). In this case, I don't think it is so annoying to not have a geometric inclusion of a feature of this hamlet in an area.

permanent link

answered 28 Feb '12, 10:41

NicolasDumoulin's gravatar image

accept rate: 13%

edited 28 Feb '12, 10:44

I will now follow your advice partly. I will use the place= on the node and place_name= on the areas.

The problem here in Georgia is, that towns or suburbs don't have an official boundary - or at least there is no access to a source for an official boundary. So the boundaries are added by common sense. Still it would be good to have at least rough outlines for the bigger areas.

(01 Mar '12, 06:44) moszkva ter

The older question when-does-it-make-sense-to-use-place-on-an-area (with currently three answers) is quite about the same topic.

permanent link

answered 12 May '14, 11:19

aseerel4c26's gravatar image

aseerel4c26 ♦
accept rate: 18%

Your answer
toggle preview

Follow this question

By Email:

Once you sign in you will be able to subscribe for any updates here



Answers and Comments

Markdown Basics

  • *italic* or _italic_
  • **bold** or __bold__
  • link:[text]( "title")
  • image?![alt text](/path/img.jpg "title")
  • numbered list: 1. Foo 2. Bar
  • to add a line break simply add two spaces to where you would like the new line to be.
  • basic HTML tags are also supported

Question tags:


question asked: 28 Feb '12, 09:57

question was seen: 8,386 times

last updated: 14 May '14, 09:07

powered by OSQA