Layer Cities/Towns/State

Hi ,

we are building a application with streets/roads (OSM data) as one of the layers on the map.

When the map is shown at a state level zoom we just need to just display towns and cities in the state.

we downloaded the shapefiles from both geofabrik and cloudmade for australia and have to say they have excellent street level coverage for the whole country.

however we are** unable to locate** the layer (OSM data) that contains information regarding Cities/Towns of a given Country.

Obviously we are missing something basic here as on the website( which we believe runs of the same data can display just the towns and cities at a higher zoom level. Possibly from a table that contains the cities/towns names and their importance as attributes.

Any hints would be immensely appreciated.

below are the available shape file layers available from the downloaded site.


Reason is that those shapefiles just do not contain places. Shapefiles are excerpts from OSM database and while it might be reasonable to have one more ready made shapefile for place names and other named point features it would still be just a collection of excerpts. More general way would be to start from the original OSM data but it is a bit more tricky than starting from shapefiles.
There are many ways to get the place names on your map, for example:

  1. Download just the features with city/town tags from XAPI and learn to show them on your map.
  2. Download country data in .osm format from Geofabrik and import it to PostGIS database with osm2pgsql and learn to make a map from the data. Making a map once the data is in database is simple, you can for example connect the database with some GIS client like QGis, uDig or OpenJUMP and start styling the data. It takes some fifteen minutes to style a basic map with OpenJUMP, an example can be seen at But if you aim to quality you can see on Mapnik layer then have a look at the file that holds the rendering rules and think about how many hours it has taken to make it

If you want to to go the most heavy way and make your own slippy map in the OSM way then start by reading this:
There will soon be an alternative to use MapServer for creating good looking OSM maps, see: