Beginner street address/name question

I’ve looked around, but this is a hard subject to search for, since ‘street address’ and ‘name’ pull up about a billion results.

Anyway, I’m brand new to this, and I have a question.

How do you label roads with both a name and address?

I live on “Saquamish Street”, but the address is also 4490 West (technically South 4490 West, but that’s not on the sign).

Both the name and address are on the street sign, but the name is big and bold, and the address is smaller.

I’m using Potlatch2, so entering the name is easy, but how do I tag the road with the address as well? I’ve looked at other roads around that are full of tags, but they use a bunch of ‘tiger:’ tags, and I don’t know how they were derived.

Also, I searched the mailing list and found a thread about a proposed standard for tagging an address like S 4490 W, but I never saw that an agreement or standard was reached. Is there a standard for that?


Maybe the OSM wiki can help you:


What a lovely new neighborhood! It will be a nice project for you to map all the new streets there in OSM.

Apparently in this area it is customary to have two names for many roads: a conventional “word” and a numerical grid reference. I think there are a few possible methods of doing this:

  1. Two values for the name tag, separated by a semicolon:

name=Saquamish Street;4490 West

  1. A name and an alternative name:

name=Saquamish Street

alt_name=4490 West

(or vice versa)

  1. A name and a reference:

name=Saquamish Street

ref=4490 West

  1. Multiple indexed name tags (this is the method used by Tiger import of Census maps but it’s not documented); an example from nearby:

name=Swensen Farm Drive

name_1=Swensen Park Drive

name_2=12170 South

The documentation on this topic is somewhat lacking. I would probably use option 3, but I’m a relaticely new user myself. Option 4 is probably not very good. One user has presented a script for converting Tiger-generated names to a better format, but it addresses only the numerical names, not names like “Saquamish”.

Perfect, thanks very much for your replies!

I think I’ll go with option #3…it just seems like a good solution.

By the way, what does “Saquamish” stand for?

Your street is the only thing that comes up in search engines. However, there exists a large river called “Squamish”:

I jsut saw Squamish River is referenced by today’s Wikipedia featured article about Mount Cayley volcanic field. Initially I thought “Saquamish” could be a local native American term, but now I suspect it might also be a misspelling.

Misspelled street names are not that uncommon. In Roseville California we have “Deshutes Drive” (obviously it should be “Deschutes”) and a brand new “Wheelright Way” (should be “wheelwright”).

I have successfully had USGS correct errors in their maps, but local city engineers can be much more stubborn.

I think T99’s suggestions are spot-on, and option #3 certainly appeals to me personally the most.

It’s worth thinking about how the two forms are used. Do you say ‘I live on Saquamish Street’ or ‘I live on 4490 West’? How do you give directions to your home? What kind of directions do you expect from a satnav? What address is used by the US Post Office? Ideally, OSM data would be able to meet all these use cases. I don’t hether OSM-based apps can do all of this at the moment, but its an interesting problem. Thanks for raising it.

I would use alt_name. For example, the streets in Abu Dhabi often have three names: the official name (e.g. Al Khaleej al Arabi Street), a second official name (30th Street) and a local name (New Airport Road). I use name, alt_name and loc_name to describe these. ref is best used for alphanumerical codes that are used to denote major highways (e.g. M27, E11, I4).

I’m not quite sure. :wink: Most of the names in this area seem to be of native american origin (Anasazi, Mayan, Black Foot, etc). But it could be a misspelling. The next street over is Sacajewa, which is obviously a mangled version of Sacajawea.

Good questions. I do say “I live on Saquamish Street”, and then immediately explain that it’s about 4500 West and about a block from 12300 South. But, ‘Saquamish Street’ is what I would want to show up in from a satnav, because that’s the name that everybody uses. That’s also how the Post Office references us.

That’s interesting…and raises another question. If I’m using a satnav (I’m eventually going to load this map on my Garmin Nuvi, for example), obviously it would use ‘name’ to display a name on the screen, but how does it know how to use the other tags? Or does it? It seems like having a bunch of different tags would be useful for storing information for posterity, but less useful for applicable use. Does the application look for alternate info in name_1? alt_name?

It sounds like there’s no hard-and-fast rule about naming. Now I’m kind of torn. :wink: There’s a highway pretty close here that everybody knows as “Bangerter Highway”, but the map shows SR-154. Technically correct, but if you said “State Road 154”, nobody would have any idea what you were talking about.

I like the idea of name:Bangerter Highway, alt_name:3800 West, and saving ref for something like SR-154 if applicable. Or…name:Saquamish Street, alt_name:4490 West

Thanks for your input!

It depends on how you generate your maps for your Satnav. I use mkgmap, and have a set of custom line rules that look like this:

highway=trunk {name '${ref|highway-symbol:hbox} (${name}/${alt_name})' | '${ref|highway-symbol:hbox} (${name})'| '${ref|highway-symbol:hbox}' | '${name} (${alt_name})' |'${name}' }

In English, this says, match any OSM object with the tag highway=trunk, then set its name as follows:
if it has a ref, then put the ref into a box shield, and set the name of the road to ‘(name, alt_name)’. If it doesn’t have an alt_name, put the ref in a box shield and set the name to ‘(name)’. If it doesn’t have a name, just put the ref in a box shield. If it doesn’t have a ref, set the name to ‘name (alt_name)’ and if it doesn’t have an alt_name or a ref, just set the name to ‘name’.

If you look at you can see lots of roads have a name (alt_name) label, for example Baynunah Street (34th Street) which is a result of the penultimate “clause” in my style rule above.

You can see an example of a box shield in this cap: (the green E33 trunk road) . E33 is the ref for this way.