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Hi, i am new to OSM and have started using OSM maps on my Garmin and iPad. I have a question regarding how the name of a street/track is displayed on the map. If a way is classified as a road/highway etc the name of the street is displayed multiple times on the map along the length of the road and depending on how you zoom in it will change where it displays the name so you can always see it. If a way is classified as a "track" it only seems to be displayed once at the middle of the way. The problem is if it is a long way and I am zoomed in somewhere other than the middle of the way using my iPad etc to navigate, you need to scroll along the length of the road/way to find out the name of the road you are on. It doesn't seem to display the name of the road at different positions along it depending on where along the road you are viewing it from like it does with more major roads, even at high zoom levels?

I hope that makes sense?

Regards Aaron

asked 09 Jan '13, 00:27

happpyg's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

Thanks for the replys guys, that makes sense, although upon further reading of the Australian Tagging guidelines here it appears that highway=track and surface=unpaved are the correct tags for these road types? It does not mention "dirt" anywhere there, does that still sound right? I a new to this so please correct if I am wrong.

Under the heading "Regional Roads" it says specifically to use "surface=unpaved" if the road is not sealed?


(10 Jan '13, 10:11) happpyg

surface=unpaved is not wrong but just a generalization for all non-paved surfaces. Whenever possible try to be more specific by using one of the more detailed surface values.

(10 Jan '13, 11:47) scai ♦

Actually, I'd be tempted to take the "unpaved" vs "dirt" question to the talk-au mailing list to see if anyone is explicitly looking for "unpaved" or if the person who wrote "unpaved" on the Australian Tagging guidelines page meant it in the sense of "to make it clear that this road is not paved", so that other more descriptive surface tags would also do.

(10 Jan '13, 12:12) SomeoneElse ♦

So it does, at least when you're using the "standard" map.

Example road:

Example footway (couldn't find a long enough track):

But using the layer switcher switch to the cycle map and names will appear:

permanent link

answered 10 Jan '13, 00:27

SomeoneElse's gravatar image

SomeoneElse ♦
accept rate: 16%


I found one "track" who's name appears multiple times along the way, this one and the one that doesn't are both tagged as "highway = track", the difference is the one that works has a tag "surface = unpaved", the one that doesn't has "surface = dirt" and "tracktype = grade3".

Here are the examples: Lancaster road works fine

Myles Avenue does not

Sorry for a noob question, but what is the "layer switcher" you refer to?

Cheers Aaron

(10 Jan '13, 00:50) happpyg

The layer switcher is the funny little symbol at the top right of the map:

layer switcher

(10 Jan '13, 01:06) SomeoneElse ♦

Great, thanks for that.

I have re-read the Australian tagging guidlines and it seems tracks should be tagged as unpaved anyway, not "dirt" so I have changed it and will wait to see how it appears when the map updates.


(10 Jan '13, 01:13) happpyg

Where did you get that conclusion from?

(10 Jan '13, 09:18) scai ♦

That fixed it, changing the surface type from dirt to unpaved solved the issue. The name is now displayed multiple times along the way instead of just once in the middle.


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answered 10 Jan '13, 06:47

happpyg's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%


dirt is much more specific than unpaved, you shouldn't change this value just because of the renderer unless the value is indeed wrong.

(10 Jan '13, 09:17) scai ♦

You shouldn't change a valid tag to fix a rendering issue ('surface' or anything else). Street names displayed multiple times or out of the screen is mainly depending on how the renderer application (e.g. Mapnik) is handling the OSM data. Most of the time, highway's are splitted in OSM in small segments, mainly because some attributes are changing (name, ref, surface, part of a route relation, etc). If the road is a single long sement, the renderer will repeat automatically the information at fixed intervals.

Basically, rendering tool should re-assemble all these segments sharing the same main tags like the highway type and street name (possibly 'ref') and render them at regular intervals depending on the zoom level (and other stuff like the 'ref' to display as well or take into account intersections, etc). But all of this is something not in your hands but in the "render" processing. Split the ways where attributes are really changing. Or do not over-simplify the elements (merge) just to see a road name at a better place. This is something that has to be solved by the renderer tools, not by you and the OSM data.

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answered 10 Jan '13, 10:00

Pieren's gravatar image

accept rate: 15%

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question asked: 09 Jan '13, 00:27

question was seen: 4,860 times

last updated: 10 Jan '13, 12:13

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