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There are a lot of requests for persistence in the OSM-IDs, and a good discussion/proposal... But to enhance a proposal we need to know the details of the technical (or contractual) problem about "eternal" persistence of the IDs.

We can compare problems and solutions using the Wikipedia/Wikidata model where concepts and working-objects (WOs) are in different namespaces: we can change, merge, etc. a WO preserving its semantic ID... Or specialize/generalize the semantic ID changing the WO association.

PS: perhaps there are many subtopics as map stability, backup/restore procedures, notability of a POI, spam control, persistence cost, etc.

Neutral discussion at Wiki

To not mix "generic question" with "question suitable for this platform", there are a Wiki page with all subsidies, and answers to the non-technical comments.


asked 20 Jul '18, 14:22

ppKrauss's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

edited 21 Jul '18, 16:25


This isn't really a question suitable for this platform. This site is more of a "how do I do this?" or "why is this happening?" platform, not "what do you think of this?". The forums or a mailing list would probably be more suitable.

(20 Jul '18, 16:57) alester

Hi @alester, perhaps I can change, but will be very technical, and any clue is welcome (!)... Change the title to "Where I find the technical specifications of OSM to answer this kind of question?", is better? ...In a broader sense I can say "how do I do $this?" with $this="to use the same link to OSM map today and tomorow"; or "why is $this happening?" with $this="OSM is losting IDs, they are not persistent?".

(20 Jul '18, 18:41) ppKrauss

BTW, If you look at Wikidata, they do not have 100% protection to keep permanent IDs. Take any Wikidata item and change its content so it represents something else. The UI will not stop you from changing the item of the Eifel Tower into the Statue of Liberty and vice-versa. So anyone keeping a list of important tourist sites in France and US will now have an incorrect list.

(21 Jul '18, 06:20) escada

Thanks @escada. About "100% protection to keep permanent IDs" there are solutions, the main one is the stable version of the map as a simple backup (or perhaps a controled backup with a quality-tool like OSMCha). This backup strategy is used by the SimonPoole's good clue, the OSMLR project. The "experiment" Wikidata-wikipedia relation also is stable when ignoring vandalisms.... I edited highlighting a link to Wiki-Openstreetmap where you can see answers to your other comments.

(21 Jul '18, 16:35) ppKrauss

I don't understand the "simple backup" situation. Data needs to be changed.

Permanent IDs not only have technical challenges, but also give a lot of problems for mappers. SimonPoole mentioned already one. Think about independent DYI stores that become part of a chain, restaurants that change owner (and/or cuisine), shops that have to be moved, but were already mapped in the new spot by another mapper, etc. etc. For every real-world action we will have to define whether the ID should remain the same or change. We need ways to merge and split IDs. You are going to have to the model the history of companies into your permanent IDs.

(22 Jul '18, 07:14) escada

Hi @escada, well, all people are voting to "isn't really a question", better to DELETE this question? ... About your questions, is difficult to discuss with "one phrase's" a complex context... I will build a FAQ at the WikiOpenstreetmap :-)

(22 Jul '18, 13:09) ppKrauss
showing 5 of 6 show 1 more comments

alester has already pointed out that this is not a general purpose discussion forum.

In any case, there are, solutions for permanent ids both for POI-like features (see ) and for "way" segments (for matching traffic information and the like to OSM objects) (see and other projects carrying on that work).

BUT completely independent of OSM the former use case is tricky: - is a restaurant that has moved a block still the same object? - is the whatever-restaurant around the corner still the same object after it's changed its name? and so on.

permanent link

answered 20 Jul '18, 22:42

SimonPoole's gravatar image

SimonPoole ♦
accept rate: 18%

Thanks to the OSMLR link, is a good reference for a technically complete solution... Can you help at Wiki to enhance subsidies to this discussion/solution? See

(21 Jul '18, 16:19) ppKrauss

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question asked: 20 Jul '18, 14:22

question was seen: 1,772 times

last updated: 22 Jul '18, 13:10

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