Buggy Search

Search on https://www.openstreetmap.org/ seems buggy:

  1. I am zoomed in to Chicago: https://www.openstreetmap.org/#map=9/41.8450/-88.2559
    I search for: windmill
    First search results are in England and Ireland.
    The results seem to be sorted by key instead of proximity.
    Would it be possible to change search to prefer current view, and allow to request extended search?

  2. I added this place recently:
    “Neil’s Gallery Fine Art & Jewelery”

Search for: “Neil’s Gallery” jumps to UK.
Full name search jumps to correct result.
Would it be possible to support partial name search?

Help link on main page kind of jumps into deep end of OSM. Could we have a link to a section on searching, including what’s supported, what not, what are OpenStreetMap Nominatim and GeoNames, and when they should be used.


While Nominatim (the search engine behind osm.org) has a possibility to search locally, I don’t know whether this is enabled from the osm.org site. I have read different opinions about that.

In case the request from osm.org to Nominatim is not made with with flag, Nominatim takes other properties into account to come to a solution. Field such as Wikidata, Wikimedia or website URLs help to increase the weight of a result

Another problem is of course that you added the name of the gallery in the operator field. This might have caused the “buggy” search.

When I search for “windmill in aartselaar” I get a result. “windmill in Chicago” does not return a result at all.

Perhaps there are no windmills mapped in Chicago, perhaps they are not mapped properly. Do you have an example of a windmill you want to see in the result ?

Nominatim is a separate service that is integrated in the osm.org website. You can access it directly at http://nominatim.openstreetmap.org/ There you find (rather technical) documentation as well.

When i look at your node, there is no name . Maybe that is the reason ?

  1. I messed up with the example, unfortunately the issue is still valid.

Escada, is there a keyword to trigger search that would pass the “prefer local results” flag?

My sample windmill: http://www.openstreetmap.org/node/5006420387
I just updated it, so it has all fields to increase result weight.

Note the windmill is not within Chicago boundaries, only nearby.
I tried “windmill near Chicago”, that didn’t work.

@g246020 what does this have to do with editors? And, very simple solution, what about reading the documentation? → http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Nominatim

@SimonPoole, sorry I miscategorized the question.

To rephase what I said earlier, openstreetmap.org should pass “viewbox=,,,” parameter to Nominatim.

please read this thread from 2015: https://lists.openstreetmap.org/pipermail/talk/2015-December/075195.html
I don’t remember the outcome back then. Especially pay attention to whatever Sarah Hoffmann (Nominatim developer) and Tom Hughes (OSM sysop) write.

@Escada, thank you very much for digging it out. It took me an hour and couple coffee refills to get through that internet democracy in action… :slight_smile:

My summary of that thread:
Developers are working on other priorities and also have other considerations how search results should be prioritized (extra weight for wikipedia, wikidata links).
Search can used for both for geographic places and POI and some of the requirements conflict comes from that.

the search on osm.org is fucked up.

The App Galileo has a good search, you can limit it to the viewbox on screen, but its just an app.

I dont know whats in the mind of the developers, the viewbox as a “filter” or “boundary” for a search is the most useful and logical thing to do.

Sorry to bring this up again, it came up after a google search!

If you feel so strongly about this issue, you’re encouraged to contribute your time to work on the issue. Remember, this is a volunteer project.

alester, could you provide link to join?

  1. I cloud but, its not my “field”, i map and i like maping and using OSM stuff.
  2. I dont want to learn yet another language, and read thru a bunch of code there are people out there who can do this better and faster than me.

Apparently the searchengine should already use the viewbox as an filter, but somehow, it does not work… according to the dev it works…