General Street Naming Schema


I’ve noticed that different local groups of mappers name streets differently.

For example, on the one hand, Russian street naming convention utilizes the full status part and the street name itself.

On the other hand, Lithuanian street naming convention uses abbreviation instead of full status name.

One more example, Poland street naming convention does not use words like “street” at all.

It’s a complete mess:)

And I wonder, is it possible to utilize any common international street naming scheme which everyone could follow? These local differences make harder to understand the map.

I mean, local conventions can be utilized for names with language tag if necessary, but for simple name it would be definitely better to use some common schema. Different schemes also make harder to localize such toponyms.

I don’t know what, if any, mechanisms exist to override local policies, but:

  1. With very few exceptions (St for Saint), the OSM policy is that names should never be abbreviated; any abbreviation should be done by the renderer.

  2. Street, Road, Avenue, Gardens, etc. are not really interpreted as statuses in the UK, although they may have some. possibly historical significance (e.g. Avenues might have been lined with trees, and Gardens might have been lined with luxuriant, private, gardens, rather than the current private car parks. There is probably a distinction between Road and Street, but I don’t know it.

  3. If what you call a status is more than the above, it should have its own meta data tag.

  4. What appears in the name tag should be what appears on street name signs, if they exist, with the exception of the expansion of abbreviations, and, in general should be the full official name.

If you know LIthuanian well enough to write an understandable, and unambiguous, translation, it might be an idea to add a translation of the Names wiki page as none currently exists and it is rather an important page. The Polish translation does seem to exist.

The theoretical difference between road and street is that “street” means highway=residential. Roads connect distant places (towns/cities/villages).

Of course, there are exceptions. Usage changes, but names stay the same. My town has a street which is no longer continuous, having been interrupted by a pedestrian area and barriers to traffic (so now there are two disjoint streets with the same name). It has another street (an important one) that has no street/road/whatever suffix. I expect many roads have turned into streets and streets into roads where towns have been subject to urban renewal. Essentially you have to regard street/road/avenue/gardens/whatever as part of the name rather than as qualifiers.

Your point 4 is right on the money. If I’m looking at a map derived from OSM on my phone and comparing it to what I see on street signage around me, it’s helpful if the two match. If a mapper has decided to rename North Road as North Street because it is now nothing more than highway=residential it doesn’t help when I see a street sign saying “North Road” because it’s perfectly possible for a town to have both a North Road and a North Street.

Do you think this is the reason why Lithuanians started doing naming in wrong way?

Maybe I (or someone more valuable) should try to contact their local community group about their convention. I was sure that DWG keeps an eye on all local agreements.

I think it is more a case that they never read it in any language, but having it in Lithuanian would make it easier to challenge changesets. As I started, I don’t know what the proper procedures are to challenge a local policies wiki page that contradicts with the global policy.

(Incidentally, the first two Roads I lived on were streets by your definition. Close is the only reasonably reliable one in England, although Mews are typically private roads, even if the stables have gone.)

There is an example in Chicago, Illinois, USA: Water Street. All 8 combinations of (Upper or Lower) (North or South) (East or West) exist. The Chicago River, which runs east and west in that area. The river has a Water Street on both banks. The streets are two level with traffic and addresses on both levels. The streets cross State Street which the demarcation between the east and west sides of Chicago.

Sheridan Road, which runs between Chicago, Illinois, USA, and Racine, Wisconsin, USA, has 5 90 degree turns in it. This results in 5 intersections of Sheridan Road and Sheridan Road.

Cedar Rapids, Iowa, USA, is divided into 4 quadrants, NE, SE, SW and NW. Avenues nominally run east-west and streets nominally run north-south. An address can be duplicated in all four of the quadrants. Therefore, the quadrant designation in the street is mandatory.

When people try to “standardize” these names, they often “get it wrong.”