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I live in Bristol, UK and noticed that OSM shows the wrong local area component for all addresses in my road. The addresses all show the local area as 'Kingsdown, Cotham', whereas it should be 'Redland'. This is confirmed as the postal and Google maps both use 'Redland'. There are two parts to this question: 1. What is the process to contact OSM and have the error above be corrected? 2. Where does OSM obtain its UK address information?

asked 04 May '22, 11:15

Rich888's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%


Hi Rich. Could you please clarify where exactly you are seeing the wrong address? Do you look directly at the data stored with an object or do you look at the information returned with search results on Could you link to the place?

(04 May '22, 12:14) TZorn

Hi TZorn, The postcode area is BS66NS, Lansdown Road, Redland, Bristol UK On further investigation, it looks like it is the 'Suburb' data property which leverages the 'Kingsdown, Cotham' incorrect data. I am not sure where this information comes from but it could be the local ward data which divides Redland and Cotham.

For reference here are the local ward maps for this Bristol area:

Cotham ward reference: Redland ward reference:

The main point here is that the postal addresses for all houses in Lansdown Road and some adjacent roads should be <#> <roadname>, Redland, Bristol, <postcode>

(04 May '22, 12:56) Rich888

Rich, the suburb is not stored with the houses themselves as you can see for 15 Lansdown Rd for example. Whatever gives you the wrong information must be drawing it from somewhere else. So let me repeat my question: Where do you see the wrong information? What website or app are you using? What do you do to retrieve the address?

(04 May '22, 13:57) TZorn

Hi TZorn, My apology on the vague answer to your original question. I cannot provide a link to the point of use as this is my company's integration under development. I am the tech writer who has the task of writing a description about the integration. I don't have access to the business OSM account but I can say that the address properties used by the developer are: country, state, city, suburb, major streets, major and minor streets and building. I will pass on your comments to our developer.

(04 May '22, 14:23) Rich888

Hi TZorn, I've been in contact with the developer and he has shared a link to the map as follows: I hope this helps.

(05 May '22, 15:12) Rich888

The suburbs in your area have only been mapped as node feature (Redland, Cotham). The buildings in question only carry basic address information (115 Lansdown Road, BS6 6NR, Bristol). So there is no direct link between building and suburb.

The offending data you got comes from nominatim. That tool uses OSM data and guesses the suburb. You can see that when you click on the details button on the link you gave us. Under the Address heading it lists all suburbs in the vicinity with the distance between the building and the node that represents the suburb. As you can see Cotham beats Redland by a few meters, so nominatim thinks Cotham is the most likely suburb Lansown Rd belongs to.

Coming back to your questions. The information in the OSM database is not incorrect. It is only imprecise as it does not contain the boundaries of the suburbs but only the "center" nodes. As such there is nothing to be corrected. Apparently you are somehow using data from nominatim for your application. It's up to you how much you want to rely on guessing suburbs or not.

OSM is a constantly growing database. It's very normal that objects are mapped with less precision first and then get improved over time. So it's quite possible that at some time Redland will be mapped with its boundaries and the address can be derived with more precision. The suburb could also be entered with the building's address information directly.

You asked "What is the process to contact OSM and have the error above be corrected?". There is none. OSM relies on a large community of voluntary mappers. If you need something corrected or improved you can create an account and do it yourself. It's very intuitive and does not require much learning in the beginning.

Since the problem you are facing is a wider one and not limited to a few buildings you may want to reach out to the local community to check how things could be addressed and how you could contribute. Mapping practices vary from region to region.

permanent link

answered 06 May '22, 08:52

TZorn's gravatar image

accept rate: 15%


Just to add that UK addressing issues are discussed quite often on the talk-gb mailing list, so that might be a useful place to get more help. For example, perhaps Redland should be explicitly included in the address tags on these buildings, but that would depend on UK-specific tagging conventions.

(06 May '22, 16:37) alan_gr

Hi TZorn, thank you for taking the time to help out. The answers are very thorough and helps us understand the thought train, map address raw data sources and calculation approach. The links are useful resources and will assist future development.

(10 May '22, 09:57) Rich888

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question asked: 04 May '22, 11:15

question was seen: 1,198 times

last updated: 10 May '22, 09:57

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