Irrelevant locality names

Hi all,
I am trying to improve the map for the area where I live.
OSM has many “localities” marked on the map, however, most of them are not really localities of any sort (they might have been, decades ago, but are no longer there).
For example, in this map:

You can see more than a dozen such localities, but only two of them are actual villages with buildings, people living in them, addresses etc.
I’m guessing the rest are some sort of past localities, but they aren’t there any more.
What should I do with them? They clutter the map and make it almost incomprehensible.
I would like to leave them on the map, but not as actual localities. What can I change them to?


There seems to be a bit of a misunderstanding. Those names are not village names but names of unpopulated/uninhabited localities (so it is ‘rather’ unlikely that you are going to find any buildings there).

As at least a couple of them were added reasonably recently and I would suggest contacting the mapper in question with respect to the source. The “standard” style on tends to display place=locality a bit too prominent for my taste too, but that is not a reason to delete the data if it can be reasonably verified.

See Tag:place=locality - OpenStreetMap Wiki


Adding to what @SimonPoole said:

It’s not a requirement for a place=locality in the OSM sense to be populated. Quite the contrary, if it’s populated, it’s probably not a “locality” in the OSM sense but place=hamlet or village.

The Wiki describes the tag as follows

The place=locality tag is used to name an unpopulated location for which there is no extant feature to which the tag could be associated.

For example, place=locality is used in Germany to record “Flurnamen”, these are traditional place names in the countryside. They would have originally referred to something specific like a field, a group of trees or the side of a hill. The feature they originally referred to may have been forgotten or no longer exists but the name is still in use. Many of these names are only known to locals, sometimes it’s only older people who still use them.

Maybe the tag was used in the same sense here.


Hi @teknoboy , I’m the editor who added this data.
As has already been said here by several users, the data entered is real, current and follows what is indicated in the Wiki “Local or remote site with a name, but without population”.

In terms of visibility, it doesn’t overload reading at all, there are several zoom levels…
I used the name as indicated in the Wiki - they are not inhabited towns!
However, they are very relevant features, used locally for hundreds of years but perfectly up to date now.
One of the reasons I went to the trouble of adding them is because this information (local toponymy and micro toponymy) is being lost, because these areas are becoming increasingly abandoned…

And it takes a LOT of work to obtain, validate and georeference this information, but it is currently used, necessary and an added value for OSM.
If there is an understanding that this information should be deleted, I will consider whether I should continue to contribute, because it is indeed very relevant information.

It should be noted that these interior areas are practically unmapped (this case in particular, not so much anymore…) and it is important that there is interest in these areas, for more users like Teknoboy.

Any questions, let me know (but I’ll get in touch with @teknoboy, it’s always good to have more people helping!)

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You live there, so I’d suggest that you have a reasonably good idea whether these things are valid localities or not.

Your options include a lifecycle tag (disused:place=locality has 168 uses) or just deleting it. All the localities near you seem to have been added by one person though, so I’d definitely discuss it with them - click through to the changeset where they added the locality, and comment there.

I definitely want to keep the names on the map, assuming they are of historical value.
I will also try to contact the editor who added them to verify this.
Will changing “place=locality” to “abandoned:place=locality” be a good solution? The wording seems to imply it would.
Thanks again!

Agree with what others have said that locality rarely implies a habitation. It might refer to areas of farmland, parts of hillside or a host of both topographic and human geographical features. It is certainly worth finding out from the original mapper the source of the information, and possibly what kind of feature they refer to.

In a number of places in Spain this type of place element has been imported, for instance the here is the farmland of the village where my uncle’s family hails from. I don’t know how many names are in current use: once entered on an official map they may persist long after falling out of use locally. OTOH such toponyms may have remained in local usage with pronunciation from hundreds of years ago (because they are mainly passed by word of mouth).

Within the editor you can probably avoid showing all place=* elements if that helps your mapping.

Replying to " how do I find the said changeset/mapper?"

I don’t know if you’ve worked this out yet, but if not:

Click on the node for that particular spot e.g. Node: ‪Murteiras‬ (‪10729796616‬) | OpenStreetMap, which shows that it was “Edited 7 months ago by meioserrano” by “Changeset #133584884

There are two options here. The best is to:

Click on the Changeset number, which will take you to Changeset: 133584884 | OpenStreetMap

Write your question in the Discussion box, then hit Comment, which will post your question for everybody to see, and also send an e-mail to the user who created that Changeset to let them know that you’ve made a comment. Hopefully, they will then respond and you can keep talking there.

If they haven’t responded after a “few” days, go back to the Changeset, but his time click on their name, which will take you to meioserrano | OpenStreetMap. Then click on Send Message, which will open the page to send them a Private Message. When they respond, you will then get an e-mail to tell you.

Hopefully that all makes sense!


thank you all very much.
this has been a very illuminating experience :slight_smile:
I understand all these tags are correct. I just find it a bit odd/confusing that there is no visual difference in the map between long-forgoten place names and actual villages where people live.