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Hello. I am a map lover who has been editing OSM on and off for about a year now, but still very much a beginner, and this is my first post here, so I apologize if it's poorly formatted.

I'm looking for advice on how to best label rather non-traditional neighborhoods in Texas known as colonias.

First, here's a bit of background on what a colonia is. Most colonias began as cheap farmland outside city limits (and therefore not subject to city taxes) bought by land developers and sold in parcels at affordable prices usually to poor immigrants from Mexico usually without utilities like water and power. Most colonias remain very poor and underdeveloped outside of city limits, with the largest concentration existing in the Rio Grande Valley region.

Here are some links if you would like to learn more to get a better understanding of what these are:

  1. From Wikipedia
  2. From The Washington Post

Now, currently these places are labeled as hamlets; however, I feel that these communities don't fit the hamlet label well and that the map becomes rather cluttered with the boundary-less label. I have found an online database from the state that gives boundaries for the colonias.

So, back to the point of my post. What label best fits these unincorporated communities? And what would be the best way to map them? Any advice would be appreciated.

asked 08 Jun '18, 01:57

southtexasmonkey33's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

The place=hamlet nodes are a relic of an import of names from GNIS, and the tag choice was never terribly reliable (I remember inner-city industrial areas of Pittsburgh being so marked).

Given the size of the colonias in your representative area I would suggest mapping them as landuse=residential and place=neighbourhood.

It may also be beneficial, or just plain interesting, to use some kind of sub tag such as residential= or residential_type= with value texas_colonia or us_colonia to make it easier to pick them out. Other possibilities are marking them as informal_settlement and then specifying colonia as the type of informal settlement. Tagging in this area is not well developed, but it is clearly advantageous to provide the information in some form.

Lastly, I would suggest adding a page on the OSM wiki about these places. This could provide additional relevant information than just a discussion here

permanent link

answered 08 Jun '18, 13:15

SK53's gravatar image

SK53 ♦
accept rate: 22%

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question asked: 08 Jun '18, 01:57

question was seen: 1,909 times

last updated: 08 Jun '18, 13:15

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