including city returns no hit, excluding city returns partial hit

Newbie here, with a question about a U.S. road. Please redirect me if I’m in the wrong place.

I got no hits from a search for “dowman dr, atlanta, ga”, which is a road on the Emory University campus. I did get a hit when I removed the city part from that search (“dowman dr, ga”), but it covers only part of the road. Even more confusing, by searching on only “dowman, ga”, I get a different part of the road, but still not the whole thing. Weird.

I suspect that adding an addr:city tag of “Atlanta, GA” would address the search problem, but 1) none of the other campus roads have that, and 2) I found a completely separate counter example where the city is automatically populated without a tag, presumably from the zipcode: “romanus dr, oh” correctly identifies the city of Vandalia, Ohio. So I’m thinking addr:city might not be the right approach. Note that zipcode 30322 is a little wonky: it’s dedicated to the Emory campus, but is in Atlanta.

Any thoughts on what changes are needed 1) to get a search including the city to work, and 2) to get the whole road returned as a hit?

Well actually it is a question about nominatim, but they do seem to get answered here, although I would guess there is a more specific forum.

Firstly, you are pushing the limits of the system by using abbreviations, particularly “dr”, even though it worked. “ga” is used explicitly in various pieces of map data. (If abbreviating to “dr” didn’t work, it would be wrong to try and add that as an alternative name. Names should not be abbreviated for this purpose.

Your first query fails because the road is is in Druid Hills not in Atlanta. It is not even in the same county (although there do seem to be some bits of Atlanta mapped as being in DeKalb). If it has a postal address of Atlanta, even though it is not legally in Atlanta (something that happens in London, England) you need to tag the postal address on the road using addr:*. If the legal boundary of Atlanta is incorrect, you should raise it in the US mapping community as it is not something that a newbie should try to fix.

Unfortunately I can’t work out why old one section is being found, but I would note that the best you could hope for is to find all the ways that make up the road. not to have the whole road highlighted in one go.

Hello Laubster,

when a longer road consists of many segments with the same name, so far there is no OSM based search angibe that can output the whole street … correct me any body if I am wrong.

Then: you can also try more services with your test cases, see

and: do NOT add any addr: tags to any streets, nor to any boundaries, nor to any elements with place=*

Maybe after some feedback by you we can find more solutions for you …

Although I’ve never personally tagged a street with addr:*, not doing so does seem to result in a significant hole in the data model, e.g several square kilometres of the London Borough of Brent have addresses in Harrow, but very few of the roads involved have individual houses mapped, so the there is nothing that really shows that Harrow address should really select a Brent road.

Also I thought people were being encouraged not to include redundant information in addr:* tags. In the case mentioned that would mean you had tags for housenumber and cirty, but not for street, but if you could tag the street, you would just need the housenumber, and, possibly, an associated_street.

Thanks for the responses. I was indeed searching on a mailing address that reflects Atlanta, while maps say it’s Druid Hills. Wikipedia says “Druid Hills is a community which includes both a census-designated place (CDP) in unincorporated DeKalb County, Georgia, United States, as well as a neighborhood of the city of Atlanta.” Ugg - it’s enough to make one’s head spin.

I’ve got to think mismatches are on the slim side of the 80/20 rule. Maybe it’s a big can of worms to open, but I guess I’d suggest to the OSM team to come up with some facility to handle mailing/physical mismatches, so folks can get a hit from either. Being a DBA myself, I’m not inclined to pollute a database just for convenience - such as adding addr:city to roads if that is counter to the intended use. Better to enhance the model, or explicitly endorse the use.

Bummer about not being able to search for a whole road; it would be cool to search for “US-40” & see all of its 3600 kilometers in the U.S. Or see all of the lengthy “Peatchree Road” in Atlanta.

To wrap up, I had a good idea of where the location was, & got around the idiosyncrasies. Maybe this could be thrown on some pile of outlier cases for future enhancement testing. And/or maybe if only “no results found”, then perhaps throw up a link that reminds users there’s a difference between physical & mailing addresses, with suggestions on resolving mismatches.


The controversial issue is factoring the common sub-expression. You can put the full set of address information on individual buildings. I can’t give a guarantee that nominatim will use the city from the address, but a test I did at least didn’t contradict that.

You might also want to research whether the administrative boundaries are correct, but, as I said, repairing them is not something a newbie should do.