Changing a place while keeping the history?

Someone showed me how to do this at CCC last month, but now I can’t remember how to do it: I want to add a cafe I went to this morning, but it’s currently listed as a restaurant that no longer exists (because it’s a cafe now). How do I update the entry without obliterating the old restaurant from the history of what businesses have been located in the same unit?


Obviously it depends on which editor you’re using, but “keeping the history” is usually the default.

If you’re using “iD” (which if you’re editing via the web site you probably are) just click on the thibg you want to change and click on the current feature info at the top left, and search for the new feature. Once you’ve done that correct e.g. the name in “All Fields” below.

If you want the old restaurant to be visible to other editors (in addition to in the history) you can do the following:

  • change amenity=restaurant to disused:amenity=restaurant or old_amenity=restaurant (there are a number of alternatives in use. You need to use the raw_tag editor in iD (called tags and below the standard entry form).
  • change name=X to old_name=X (this seems the most popular)

It gets a tad more complicated if you want to retain two or more old names for a business. The main reasons for doing this are: old names stay in usage for quite a long time (up to 50 years or more for popular or prominent businesses); people who know an area well but haven’t visited recently get a visual prompt that a place has changed; correlating open data (for instance food safety ratings) which may have out-of-date business names, but other useful information; and, lastly, because it’s interesting.

Thanks folks! Glad to see that the history remaining in the database is the default. This all kind of jogged my memory, and I’m remembering now that the original issue came about because I was wanting to delete a business that was placed in the center of a street (and was not physically located on that street, anyway), and they were pointing out that usually it’s best to not delete but to just change names so as to retain the history of places – although in case case deletion was appropriate. My brain likes to overcomplicate things so for some reason I was assuming there was some extra step, but nope, it was just changing the name rather than deleting. :slight_smile: