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Hi guys I am trying to replace google maps with OSM

Where I live there is a car parts shop called SuperCheap Auto, When I search SuperCheap Auto some the closest one does not appear, because they are labelled as Super Cheap Auto (with a space between super and cheap) and when Super Cheap is searched the ones labelled SuperCheap do not appear.. If I have time I can rename the ones around me to help other people but then if people search the wrong term literally no stores will appear unless they spell it without a space..

Edit: my question is can the search accuracy be improved to include results with very similar names

asked 05 Jan '20, 09:26

regulator_g's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

edited 05 Jan '20, 09:27

So much this! I've fixed a few places by adding name:en1 tags with alternate spellings. I'm not sure if this is the right thing to do where it seems this could be resolved by making search a little less strict. If I type "mcdonalds" I get locations hundreds of miles away because they lazy typed the info when they added it to the maps. Meanwhile "McDonald's" is .5 miles away around the corner. Fixing search rather than adding a TON of alternate spelling data to the map seems like the smarter way to go.

To be frank this issue makes OSM/OsmAnd unusable day to day.

Unfortunately I don't have the programming skills to submit such a fix/change myself so I/we are at the mercy of whomever might see fit to do this. Please and thank you!

(04 Feb '20, 18:12) Tekchip

@Tekchip: It's a bad idea to add alternative spelling to improve the search results of 1 or 2 search engines. If you think they should improve their fuzzy search algorithms, file improvement requests with that software. Do not pollute the OSM database.

(05 Feb '20, 06:53) escada

@escada I figured this wasn't a great solution. Thus the post here. @regulator_g is apparently having a similar problem so it's not just me. If this isn't the right place to report such a problem, make such a request, or seek help with resolving what's seen as a problem where would this request best be directed? The problem appears with the search on and this is the help forum for

(05 Feb '20, 07:00) Tekchip

@Tekchip, of course, one can ask for help here. But when you ask for software improvements (*), you have to use the issue tracker of the project for which you file the issue. For Nominatim, that is BTW there is already an issue for that:

(*) or you find out via the answers that your question requires a software improvement

(05 Feb '20, 14:41) escada

I wanted to make sure I wasn't missing something procedural (like what I mistakenly did) that will have resolved the issue without involving a change in code. Now it's apparent this isn't the case. Thanks for the links and the additional direction related to this issue!

(05 Feb '20, 22:38) Tekchip

If this is a reasonably common brand you should check that a canonical spelling is entered in so that we in general use the same spelling (in real life things might not be so simple for example the outlets using different spelling, but that tends to be an exception).

Then to the 2nd aspect, search engines will typically try to normalize both the search input as the user input as far as possible and depending on the search engine will employ fuzzy search algorithms, see for example

permanent link

answered 04 Feb '20, 18:36

SimonPoole's gravatar image

SimonPoole ♦
accept rate: 18%


The common brand index is kind of the opposite of the problem. As in my example the canonical spelling works fine. But that's not how anyone actually types that in a search.

Your second aspect is exactly where the problem lays. The website and OsmAnd seem to use the same search which is overly strict. As another example of the problem "Hy-Vee" supermarket exists. It's what I added alternate spellings to. "hyvee davenport ia" now finds the supermarket because I added alternate spellings However if you go to whatever Photon search is pointed at which hasn't updated with my change yet and type in "hyvee davenport ia" you get nothing even remotely in the area.

The search is not remotely "fuzzy" enough to be useful IRL. I can't find most things in my area because I haven't the slightest their canonical names according to OSM but the search is not fuzzy enough to find them.

(04 Feb '20, 19:30) Tekchip

The osmand search and the osm website search (nominatim) have nothing at all to do with each other (btw photon uses nominatim generated data).

The "problem" with nominatim is that it was conceived not just as a search engine but as a QA tool too.

(04 Feb '20, 20:16) SimonPoole ♦

This is good information. However all searches mentioned here result in the same useless results.

(04 Feb '20, 20:54) Tekchip

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question asked: 05 Jan '20, 09:26

question was seen: 2,046 times

last updated: 05 Feb '20, 22:38

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