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I'm working on adding island s and other features in the Tanana River in Alaska. There are many named sloughs (side channels), islands and in some areas curves or bends that have a name. In my example there is a large bend in the river that has its own name, Harper Bend.

If I break the river at both ends of the curve, I could add the name to the section between the breaks but that doesn't seem right because the river's name isn't changing. Another much more complicated solution would be to break the riverbank into sections and add a name to the one that encompasses the bend.

Suggestions? Opinions?

asked 27 Sep '18, 06:54

AlaskaDave's gravatar image

accept rate: 16%


Would a single node somewhere on the bend be appropriate in this situation? Since the bend's delimitations aren't probably geographically delimited?

(27 Sep '18, 07:15) robinmetral

Well, that might work although it would be such a small object one would have to look closely at a map to see it. Also this presents the problem of deciding how to tag and render this new object. Using pieces of the riverbank or a section of the river might make rendering a non-issue.

Alternatively, if we could come up with a special case tag, say, for example, waterway=river_bend or something similar. I might take this question to the tagging list to see if there are any other suggestions.

Thanks for your comment.

(27 Sep '18, 10:47) AlaskaDave

I had a look at "well known" examples (such as on the Thames in London, referred to in Oxford v Cambridge boat race commentry) and I couldn't see any. Maybe look elsewhere and see what people have used? Failing that, maybe just a "place=locality" node?

(27 Sep '18, 11:24) SomeoneElse ♦

I had that thought too but decided against it because place=locality, while allowing one to put a name on the bend, confers nothing about the fact that it is a feature of a river. Instead, at least to me, it implies a place where people live or used to live.

(28 Sep '18, 08:34) AlaskaDave

Here is an example of a locality in a country town that I think is well served by the locality tag. It is a well defined small area and accessible from only one side of the river or via the river.
Other types of tagging are more suitable for a long stretch of the river.

(23 Oct '21, 05:40) nevw


I don't agree. The locality tag as you've used it here is not even on the waterway — it looks as though there are places on the south shore of the river with the names Habels Bend and Packard Bend which have nothing to do with the Murray River at all.

The solution we came up with back in 2018 is to break the river into sections and then name those sections accordingly.

waterway:section=bend (slough, reach, rapids)

waterway:section:name=Habels Bend

There are only 9 such named sections so far according to Taginfo

That way, the river keeps its name yet the bends are part of the waterway. Unfortunately, the names are not rendered on the slippy map but, as we know, that's not a reason either for or against this usage.



(23 Oct '21, 15:37) AlaskaDave
showing 5 of 6 show 1 more comments

I would suggest a named place=locality node, as SomeoneElse mentioned.

This is then semantically not connected to the river, of course, but that could be achieved (if necessary) by adding it to a river relation, as neuhausr mentioned.

You could set the node directly as a node of the waterway=river way, then the connection will be clearer even without a relation.

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answered 28 Sep '18, 09:17

gormo's gravatar image

accept rate: 13%

Assuming this river has a relation, could you create a named area for this bend which is part of the larger river relation? As an example, this is something I've thought about doing (but haven't yet) for Lake Pepin which is part of the Mississippi River.

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answered 27 Sep '18, 15:58

neuhausr's gravatar image

accept rate: 21%

Yes, that is one alternative. But it is a much more complicated solution than some others.

I have taken this question to the tagging list where we're hashing out ideas. If you care to follow along or contribute, please do it there. Sorry for the inconvenience. If we come up with anything worthwhile, I'll post it here for the benefit of future mappers.

(28 Sep '18, 08:30) AlaskaDave

In Sweden, there are some related examples where a section of a river has a different name. Here an example of the river Indalsälven on the map ( of the Swedish mapping authority where I highlighted the river in yellow. Along the section Gevsjöströmmen, the river is labelled Gevsjöströmmen and not Indalsälven.

alt text

From I understand that the name tag should be added to the waterway=river object and not to the one describing the river banks. Therefore, including all sections of the whole river in a relation for that river seems to be a good solution. Then, individual segments of the river can carry their own names while the whole information is contained in the relation.

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answered 18 Oct '21, 11:35

G%C3%A5seborg's gravatar image

accept rate: 50%



I think you have proposed the best solution to this case in your post. Including the differently named portions of the waterway in a relation would tie them together but allow the different names to apply to the appropriate sections.

Looks like a winner to me.

(22 Oct '21, 17:40) AlaskaDave

Hmm, the river which flows along the Cliveden Reach of the River Thames is still the Thames (which further along it's course is called the Isis, also with named reaches).

I would suggest either a) using another name tag something like reach_name or bend_name; or b) using the place=locality with locality=* to indicate the type of locality name (Irish Townlands are a well-established precendent for this).

(23 Oct '21, 14:11) SK53 ♦

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question asked: 27 Sep '18, 06:54

question was seen: 2,082 times

last updated: 23 Oct '21, 15:38

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