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I'm assuming there's no standard for this, and it's up to the renderer, but am asking just in case.

Large river "X" has a massive delta with separately named channels.
The channels are part of the river relation (as side_stream), but are only named with the channel name, not the parent river name.
i.e., The channel should be named "East Channel" and not "X River East Channel" or "East Channel X River".

Is this correct?

Thanks in advance

asked 14 Oct '19, 00:18

GregRetro's gravatar image

accept rate: 50%

edited 14 Oct '19, 20:23

TZorn's gravatar image


I'm not sure I understand what your question is exactly. Do you ask for help on tagging such situation or on how to render the names?

(14 Oct '19, 07:24) TZorn

Sorry... Tagging. Is it appropriate to name channels of a river as if they are a separate river, as long as they are part of the parent river's relation?

(14 Oct '19, 16:20) GregRetro

Relying on a waterway relation for river names as suggested by TZorn seems likely to be error prone, and provides particular issues with rivers which have different names on different part of their courses (Thames/Isis, Cam/Granta, Wreake/).

Furthermore there are many river features where this does not really work: notably named reaches, such as Cliveden Reach on the Thames, where the general name in use is The Thames. Many rivers have such features either named by boatmen or fishermen. The traditional approach for other OSM features is to use a prefix with the name tag, in these cases reach_name or channel_name. However, these are not in use.

Channel suggests that these parts of the river are navigable, it may be appropriate to treat the navigable channel as a distinct element, perhaps using a route relation.

I do not think we can say that there is a universally accepted solution at this time.

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answered 16 Oct '19, 11:00

SK53's gravatar image

SK53 ♦
accept rate: 22%

Well, I suggested my approach for situations where there is an overall name (which can go into the relation) and to then tag the local common name on the ways itself.

I would think that would also work for your example Thames/Isis: Relation 2263653 for the overall river with name=River Thames and then Isis in a separate relation for the part of Thames where this alternative name is used and the ways would get name according to what the predominant name is for each. Currently, it seems that Isis is not named at all or am I missing something?

If one feels not comfortable with relations one could use name for the predominant name and alt_name for the other one.

(20 Oct '19, 21:48) TZorn

First of all, the names of the distributaries or channels should definitely be tagged as I expect them to be the predominantly used names locally. And you are right you can put the overall name in a waterway relation. That's how it is done for the Rhine for example.

Generally, it's not necessary to create a waterway relation for each river but this delta situation is a good example where it really makes sense. You could also still create separate waterway relations for the sections with the different names.

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answered 14 Oct '19, 20:22

TZorn's gravatar image

accept rate: 15%

Okay I guess I'll take using the local name of the channel as the answer.

Specifically what I was asking: the McKenzie River has many delta channels, and I am naming them by their channel name "East Channel" instead of "East Channel McKenzie River" or "McKenzie River East Channel". I'll continue doing so. Thanks

(15 Oct '19, 04:56) GregRetro

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question asked: 14 Oct '19, 00:18

question was seen: 1,465 times

last updated: 20 Oct '19, 21:48

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