Corner Addresses in South Africa

I am writing to discuss an aspect of the OpenStreetMap data and its conventions, specifically the usage and acceptability of the term “corner of” in address information. In some local contexts, people often refer to a location as being at the “corner of” two streets. This method of describing locations is relatively common in verbal communication; however, it has sparked a question about its usage within OpenStreetMap data.

I am eager to understand how the OpenStreetMap community represents such addresses. Is the practice of using “corner of” accepted within the community, or is there a recommended alternative for these particular cases? I seek clarity on whether there’s an established guideline or attribute that should be used to denote these “corner locations”.

Moreover, is there a specific practice followed under the standards set by OpenStreetMap to ensure uniformity for such locations across all map data? It would be immensely helpful to have your input, as it would help in ensuring the accuracy and consistency of the OpenStreetMap data that we use and contribute to.
Looking forward to hearing from you and gaining more insight into this matter. Thank you for your time and assistance.

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Welcome to the OSM community! :blush:

While I don’t consider myself an authority (or this a complete answer), since no one else has responded, I’ll happily give it a first shot. And if I’m wrong I’m sure there’s someone willing to correct me. :wink:

Your question also might gain more traction in OSM Africa or Tagging help & support. Unless you feel this is specifically related to South Africa and not the broader region or OSM in general, but then it would help if you could explain why this is so, to get a more accurate answer.

Having disclaimered said all that… :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

If people are literally searching for a crossing of two roads, it’s actually up to the app/implementation to support this (and I know some actually do - you can search for a place “where this road crosses that road” just as you can search for an address, city or POI). What you’re describing feels more like a reference then an address to me (unless… but I’ll get to that).

Firstly: OSM applies an “on the ground”-principle. That kinda does require things to be “officially” named/appointed/registered as such. E.g. in case of a name: “having a sign” of sorts. From the Good Practices-section on the wiki page on Names:

OSM follows the on the ground principle, which means that street names and other proper names are generally entered as they appear on signs, even if those names deviate from the general spelling rules. Possible exceptions are described in some of the following sections.

Which refers to an explanation on this principle, which also talks a bit about names:

Sometimes there’s conflicting information about, say, the name of a place. An old map might call it one thing, current maps another, and the place name sign something else. People using our maps (for navigation) won’t care about the spelling in other maps, they need to find the names on local signs on the map and vice versa.

There is some room for local (descriptive) references. E.g. if a building is always called/referred to in a certain way by the local community, that does get put in as a local- or alternative name (loc_name= and alt_name= respectively) and there’s even a tag for a nickname (nickname=).

What your describing sounds like what could be such a local name, rather than an address (and I’ve included some details on how to use the local name tag below, if that seems the way to go). But that is assuming that it’s actually how a place is known to people. Because there’s a distinction between the way to verbally redirect people somewhere and a place actually being called something.

I could see this especially being acceptable if there’s no other more accurate/practical reference available (e.g. if no house numbers are in use - in which case it’s useful to know about the existence of nohousenumber=yes) and people would also actually search for a place in this way online as well. Because those criteria should probably be a deciding factor on whether or not it belongs in the OSM-database.

Both the wiki page on Names and the Key:name-page contain a boat-load of information on both which versions of the name-tag are available and good practices for naming things in OSM, that you might find helpful on the subject.

Hope this helps, or at least is thought-provoking enough for some further discussion. :blush:

Open for information on loc_name tagging

Local names can be tagged with loc_name=. Or, if multiple languages are in use: loc_name:en= where you can replace ‘en’ with any language code and add the version for each language. See localisation for which language codes to use.

Adding such a language suffix is only needed for the additional languages, it’s not needed for what’s considered the primary local language (more info below the link). The loc_name-tag doesn’t have it’s own wiki page, but it does have its own section on the names page here.

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Thank you for reading through my post on the forum and responding with a great an interesting reply.