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Some United Kingdom place names obscure map detail. Can I remove (or just move) them to reveal the detail?

asked 20 Sep '11, 11:01

staffy's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

edited 25 Oct '11, 19:17

Jonathan%20Bennett's gravatar image

Jonathan Ben...

Have a look at the locales map rendered on Then click the little blue (+) in the top right corner and deselect all "overlays". That'll show you a map with no names at all.

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answered 20 Sep '11, 12:11

Vincent%20de%20Phily's gravatar image

Vincent de P... ♦
accept rate: 19%

Hello Vincent at OSM Help,

Thank you for your reply. The ability temporarily to remove overlays is just what I need. Incidentally, what is the vote about and where do I do it?

Regards, staffy.

(20 Sep '11, 19:18) staffy

Unfortunately the <locales map=""> link results in a window advising of a 'non-responsive script' ( if I copy the address and then enter it in the address bar direct, the result is a window saying 'not found on this server') and I cannot locate 'locales map' on the toolserver website if I use its link.

(20 Sep '11, 19:58) staffy

right click over permalink left click over copy link address them its ready to paste right click,paste

(20 Sep '11, 20:12) andy mackey

Try this link for the locales map, with names in English: You can click on the little blue + to switch off that layer, to get a map without any names.

(20 Sep '11, 20:35) Vclaw

Vclaw's link should have no "slow script" issue.

You can mark this answer as accepted if it fits your needs completely.

(22 Sep '11, 21:29) Vincent de P... ♦

Hello again Vincent, Sorry for delay, very busy times. Have used 'locales map' link (script now okay) successfully. Initial snag was map just a blank screen except for little blue '+' etc. Tried zooming ('in' I think), saw label 'South Pole'. Scrolling up showed South Africa and I was off UK, zoomed in to Preston, clicked on '+', names layer off and map as required. I need advice on giving points, is there a limit?, how to judge the number? etc. Thank you. I will try Vclaw's link and andy mackey's as part of my learning when I have time.

(24 Oct '11, 17:44) staffy
showing 5 of 6 show 1 more comments

It sounds like this is a problem with the rendering (how the map is shown, and with what details) and not a problem with the map itself. So you probably should not move or remove the details. But it would be easier to answer if you could link to an example or post a screenshot of the area.

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answered 20 Sep '11, 11:04

Jonas_'s gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

edited 20 Sep '11, 11:43


On zoomed-in Mapnik and Osmarender maps of Preston in the UK can I remove the city name PRESTON (or move it down and to the right a little) to reveal the main road detail clearly? Sorry but I do not know how to 'link to an example' or to 'post a screenshot'.

(20 Sep '11, 11:43) staffy

On the map, you can click on the "Perma link" in the bottom right corner. And then post the link.

(20 Sep '11, 11:46) Jonas_
2 seems to be Preston, UK, but if I zoom in the label disappears and no longer obstructs anything. If you want the road detail at this level where the label is visible it might be better to generate your own map.

(20 Sep '11, 12:04) EdLoach ♦

What you can do is try to optimize the node location (there is not a single spot for the centre, but it is rather a central area, so you might move the node slightly inside this central area)

(20 Sep '11, 18:14) dieterdreist
  1. I clicked 'Permalink', map disappeared then reappeared. What next?
  2. Yes, unfortunately I want to copy and use the map (Osmarender) at the scale where the name is really obstructive. Is the name part of an overlay which could be temporarily removed? I wish to use this map rather than another which I do not know how to try to generate anyway.

Optimising the node location sounds promising but how?

(20 Sep '11, 19:52) staffy

you can use the osmarender output (svg) and move or remove the label in the svg-output. Optimizing the position in the data would be move it slightly inside the area you consider to be the centre of the settlement.

(23 Sep '11, 13:51) dieterdreist
showing 5 of 6 show 1 more comments

Great to have your interest. But I think you've slightly misunderstood how OpenStreetMap works.

We are not producing a single map. We're producing a big geographical database showing what's where in the world. Different programs will take this database and draw different maps from them, or use them for sat-nav style "routing", or a million other things.

The important thing is that all these programs can rely on an accurate database. So you shouldn't remove or move a place node just to make one map clearer, even if that map happens to be the best-known one that's showcased on

Rather, this either indicates a problem with the map design (it's highlighting one element at the expense of others), or, more likely, that you're trying to use it for something for which it isn't intended.

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answered 20 Sep '11, 14:36

Richard's gravatar image

Richard ♦
accept rate: 18%


Well you are correct that I am a novice but I am learning.I just want to copy and use the Osmarender map of Preston but unfortunately at a scale where this important road junction (near the railway station) is badly obscured by the city's name. Can this be achieved without me doing something permanent and maybe inappropriate at another scale? At this scale I regard it as badly placed.

(20 Sep '11, 19:53) staffy

Yes you can. But you wouldn't do this within OpenStreetMap itself (see other answers)

You can try to make tweaks like this to a map (a particular map image of a particular area) by first extracting the area in SVG format (or similar), and then using a graphical vector editing tool such as inkscape or adobe illustrator to make the change. This would let you remove labels which are getting in the way, and this might reveal other details, although...

...the renderer might have decided not to plot some objects because it knows the label is there (collision detection with the Mapnik renderer) To reveal those kinds of bits of the map, you'd need to re-run the rendering without the label somehow. All a bit more tricky, but you'd be looking at running your own Mapnik installation or the less technical Maperative. Given your own rendering set-up, you could make one-off destructive changes to your own local database, such as moving or deleting a place label.

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answered 23 Sep '11, 13:41

Harry%20Wood's gravatar image

Harry Wood
accept rate: 14%

Hello Harry Wood, Point taken about OpenStreetMap itself! I don't understand some detail (e.g. SVG format & vector editing). I'll investigate inkscape & adobe illustrator when I have time. Likewise with Mapnik & Maperative.Having got Vincent's 'locales map' right, I just 'Print Screen'ed at three zoom levels, pasting into Windows 'Paint' files to give a set of three maps in JPEG format (my local database?)to manipulate into route directions (inc acknowledgement to OSM). 'En route' as it were, found two minor bits of updating to contribute to OSM. I now need advice on doing this. Thank you.

(24 Oct '11, 18:21) staffy

With regard to asking for advice about what/how to contribute, I'd have a read of and the pages that are linked from there, and then ask any questions as separate help questions on this site (i.e. don't add a comment here, but "ask a question" again).

(24 Oct '11, 19:44) SomeoneElse ♦

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question asked: 20 Sep '11, 11:01

question was seen: 9,152 times

last updated: 25 Oct '11, 19:17

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