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I'm noticing over a hundred Hamlet tags within a major US city (and probably 100 more in the surrounding suburbs). I realize the word Hamlet has different meanings but they are usually designate "officially recognized" places in some manner. Like not necessarily having it's own government but pretty much on par with a small town. A hamlet should not be part of an incorporated official city. That would be like saying a town is part of a city, which I think isn't possible. And a hamlet isn't a neighborhood (section of a city, like "Downtown") either.

An additional problem here is that, recognizing many of the names seen in OSM, these hundreds of Hamlet tags are definitely designating housing subdivisions. Just to avoid any confusion, by "housing subdivision" I mean that a land developer built a bunch of houses in an area and gave their own property a name in order to sell the houses. There is nothing official or historic about an arbitrarily named subdivision.

So should these housing subdivisions all over the city remain "Hamlet"s in OSM? If not, would suburb be more appropriate? Or would that still be incorrect since a suburb is an area outside of a major hub city? My instinct would be that these should all be deleted. Looking for more feedback. Thanks.

asked 28 Dec '12, 01:50

gopanthers's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%


There are further place values that may be appropriate: quarter or neighbourhood

(28 Dec '12, 19:32) SimonPoole ♦

It's all part of local definitions. In Belgium, it's not strange to have towns being part of cities (or even of other towns). Look at Rumbeke, part of Roeselare. Rumbeke is a town, but not a municipality. The major is the one from Roeselare.

To me, a hamlet is a group of houses, too small to be a village. It doesn't matter weather the houses belong to a city or not, as long as they're clearly separated from the main city.

For things that are not clearly separated from the main city, I normally use a locality instead of a hamlet. That just means it's a place with a name.

(30 Dec '12, 12:02) Sanderd17

<quote>The place=locality tag can be used to name unpopulated place</quote>

I haven't seen any unpopulated cities lately.

(30 Dec '12, 13:44) cartinus

These "hamlets" are probably from imports (GNIS, I'm guessing). place=hamlet probably isn't appropriate in most cases. Some are subdivisions, some are mobile home parks, others may just be plat names. If the names are not currently in use, they should probably be deleted. If they are being used, I don't know that there's a uniform approach, but there's some discussion at the Neighbourhoods wiki page.

If I come across these or other housing developments, I usually create a landuse=residential area, and name it with the development name. You could do place=neighborhood if that seems correct (note that's usually a node). place=suburb would be for a larger part of a city than a neighbourhood, so I doubt it would apply to a subdivision. (FYI on suburb, it is not used in OSM in the US-centric sense: see that wiki page for more info)

If you haven't seen it yet, a great way to view the different "places" in an area is to use the OSM Inspector Places view.

permanent link

answered 28 Dec '12, 21:09

neuhausr's gravatar image

accept rate: 21%


Wow. I used that OSM Inspector Places and there must be THOUSANDS of these bogus Hamlets throughout (at least) North and South Carolina. They're in much greater concentrations in higher population centers (which is why I saw hundreds in and around Charlotte, NC). These are mostly housing development names (not suburbs and certainly not real Hamlets) but I see many apartment building names too. At some point these were all a bad import. Sorry but I can't even scratch the surface of this problem. Argh!

(29 Dec '12, 05:16) gopanthers

You don't have to solve this completely on your own. Just do the bit near you and anytime you encounter one when you are editing somewhere anyway.

(30 Dec '12, 13:47) cartinus

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question asked: 28 Dec '12, 01:50

question was seen: 8,411 times

last updated: 30 Dec '12, 13:47

NOTICE: is no longer in use from 1st March 2024. Please use the OpenStreetMap Community Forum