Correct way to tag villages in Africa

Dear all,

I have been improving the OSM DB for my area of responsibility where I am currently working in DRC, but I am confused about the way to properly tag the features.

I have seen this wiki page:,_one_OSM_element and I understood from it that is I create a polygon for a village, tagged as village with a name, I should not have at the same time a waypoint with the same name and “village” tag.

However, I realized now that other villages around do have a polygon for the urban area, tagged only as “residential” (not village, or hamlet) and a waypoint somewhere in the polygon tagged as “village” and named.

Is this the right way to proceed? Should I tag all my “village” polygon as “residential” and create a waypoint for the “village” tag and the name?

Thanks for your advice!

There is no one single right way of mapping villages. In general do either / or:

  1. Map the residential area and tag this also with place=village and name=*

OR 2. Map the residential area and ADD a separate node with the place & name tags

These do the same thing, but the latter is more flexible if you start mapping the landuse in a village in more detail: once that happens then trying to keep the name & the residential landuse on the same element can make life difficult. For instance in villages in Europe we may map in a single village the cemetery, football pitch, community gardens (allotments), farmsteads and shops all with different landuse. As some will be in the village centre a name placed on the residential area will be offset from the position people will naturally expect.

Additionally you may have a village with the residential areas are separated by agricultural land, so allowing more than one residential area for a village might be necessary. This also shows that the village & the residential area can be regarded as separate elements for OSM mapping purposes.

I would also strive to follow the most widely used local convention. It helps both you, and other mappers, if things are mapped in a similar style.

  1. Map the boundaries of the village with a relation. (name=… + boundary=administrative + admin_level=(depends on territory, probably 8), without the tag “place” in the relation)
  2. Map the place as a node (place=village, name=… )
  3. Add the node to the relation with role “label”

Don’t forget type=boundary