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I've been trying to work out the best way to draw, and address various styles of "apartments".

For the sake of this question, my definition of an "apartment" is a parcel of residential land with a unique street number, that contains more than one residence. So it could be a duplex (house split in half, or more?), or a group of 2 or more small "villa homes" (eg 4 or 5 small detached dwellings sharing one street number), or a small block of townhouse-style units, or a single block of units - usually with 3+ floors, or a "complex" that contains multiple blocks of units or some other combination.

I'm split my question into 3 specific parts for clarity:

Part 1: What object to give the address to -- It seems standard practice to add addresses to buildings. It goes against my thinking because street numbers belong to a parcel of land as opposed to a building. I'm confused what to do in the case of a multi-building apartment complex, or some group of physically-separate dwellings that share one street number. Do I have to draw a separate residential area for the complex and assign a street number to that, then draw the individual buildings within? Or do I give all buildings in a compelex the same street number, or use some kind of relationship to connect them?

Part 2: Name of Apartment Complex/Building -- All apartment buildings in Australia have a street number, but many also have a name. The building/complex name is optional in formal addressing, but they are legal names registered with the strata scheme and usually clearly signposted on the building.

Is it okay to address (as example): addr:housename=Dolphin Court AND addr:housenumber=57

The wiki says housename is used in some areas where names are used instead of numbers, so I'm wondering is it strictly one or the other, or can it be appropriate to use both name and number in this case, if not, should the "name" tag simply be assigned to the building, and what to do in the case where "Dolphin Court" may consist of 2 or more buildings?

Then... there are also rare cases where individual buildings which are part of the one complex may have their own names too...!

Part 3: multi-building unit/flat/apartment numbers -- The wiki says you can use the addr:flats=NN-MM tag in combination with the building=entrance tag. If I'm not sure where the exact entrance is, is ther any harm (or any point) in simply adding this tag to a building object without specifying the exact entrance?

Thinking about it, all the above issues can also be relevant for commercial and industrial buildings too.

Thanks in advance!

asked 05 Dec '11, 20:20

wolftracker's gravatar image

accept rate: 33%

The question is way too long, but since no one tried to answer...

Part 1: It apparently depends on the location, here (Czech Republic) street numbers belong to houses and bigger houses would usually get a number for each entrance to a independent part (eg. a house with 3 independent entrances each used by 8 flats gets 3 numbers).
I would put the number somewhere to the middle, to a place from where you can go to each of these houses. Using the number multiple times does not seem like a good idea. Residential are is a good idea, but still I would use a separate node for the address. The residential area can be named. Generally only identifiers that are connected with the house and nothing else should be tagged on the house.

Part 2: Name the residential area Dolphin Court and each house to its own name, if it has one. If it has both legal number and name I do not see any problem in using both addr:housename and addr:housenumber.

Part 3: I am used to addressing system where street, number and name are sufficient, but if the flat numbers have any significance (they can if multiple houses share same number) it makes sense to add it to know what flats are in what house, even without specifying the exact location of the entrance.

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answered 06 Dec '11, 18:58

LM_1's gravatar image

accept rate: 10%


I know it's a long question but it's a complicated issue, and I appreciate your response.

Where I live we have 38 apartments spread across 7 buildings, and we have just the one street number and one name for our complex.

I think in a case like that, I give it it's own residential area, name the residential area. Map the buildings and optionally define flat numbers for each building. For the street number I place a node inside the area.

In more simple cases - one building, one name, one street number - I will tag the building itself, and use addr:housename if it has one.

(06 Dec '11, 21:49) wolftracker

Part 1: I think that the practice of assigning addresses to buildings instead of parcels is just because it's easier to map buildings than parcels. Don't be afraid to eschew the practice where it makes sense. I would lean towards drawing an area and marking it with the address (and landuse=residential too). I would generally avoid tagging multiple buildings with the same address, but would not consider it "bad practice" if you choose to do so. As far as using a relation, the "type=site" relation is designed for exactly this sort of thing, but is still just a proposal -- I would not let that deter you from using it though, if you don't mind the extra complexity of creating relations. If you'd prefer using "accepted" relations, use a single type=multipolygon relation to draw all of the buildings in the complex. Tag the relation with complex name and address, and tag the building ways with the building-specific information.

Part 2: If a building has a name and a number, tag it with both. If a building has more than one housename, the typical solution would be to tag it as "addr:housename=name1;name2" -- that's the convention anytime a single key has more than one value.

Part 3: I'm not sure I understand the situation. The flat numbers are referring to something besides which floor the unit is on?

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answered 07 Dec '11, 07:24

DanHomerick's gravatar image

accept rate: 33%


@Part 3: I think it is like in many cities of the former Soviet Union: One big apartment building with one number, but several entrances. The entrances may or may not have a number by itself. But from entrance 1, you reach apartments 1-32, from entrance 2 apartments 33-64 and so on... In that case, using addr:flats makes sense.

(08 Dec '11, 05:53) moszkva ter

@moszkva ter - yes, very much the same here. Ranges of apartment numbers (also known as Flat numbers, or Unit numbers) which are in separate sections - sometimes in separate buildings, but all sharing a common street number.

(10 Dec '11, 05:01) wolftracker

@DanHomerick - thanks for your ideas. Very much appreciated. Did some reading about site relations - sounds like exactly the right solution. These places sometimes also have a swimming pool, driveways, etc.. so a site relation is probably the way to combine. Re the flat numbers see the 2 comments above.

(10 Dec '11, 05:06) wolftracker

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question asked: 05 Dec '11, 20:20

question was seen: 14,140 times

last updated: 10 Dec '11, 05:06

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