OSM Tag Search

Hello OSM community
I’m currently working on a semester project in computer science, that will try to help with an issue of the OSM tag system. While it’s great
to have a free tagging system for the richness and detail of the maps, it might pose problems to new mappers figuring out what tags should
be used in certain situations. Also there are some examples of ambiguousness. For instance highway=cycleway, bicycle=yes,
bicycle=designated, bicycle_road=yes.
My application will try and make use of TagInfo.org and something like the Semantic Web
connecting similartags and then create a website where you can search for tags.

Though I’m fairly new to the whole Open Street Map world and therefor I’d like to get some insight from the users:

  • What do you think of this idea?
  • What experience did you make with the tags and the system?
  • How do you proceed if you don’t know how to tag a certain object?
  • Do other examples of amibiguous tags come to mind or are there tags you wan’t me to have a special look on?

Thanks a lot and Kind Regards

Edit: Current work on: http://tagfinder.herokuapp.com/

Do you know this JOSM plugin: https://lists.openstreetmap.org/pipermail/talk/2014-March/069489.html ?
I think it’s related to what you want to achieve.

good luck with your project

I am unable to find the above plugin in my Josm version using this method…
go to Edit → Preferences->Plugins Search: OSM Semantic. Then activate the plugin in the JOSM interface.

JOSM – Java OpenStreetMap Editor Version 7588
Last change at 2014-09-29 23:52:43 +0200 (Mon, 29 Sep 2014)
Java Version 1.7.0_67

I’m still on 7480, maybe the plugin is no longer available ? Maybe you should contact the authors ? (email address can be found in the post to the mailing list)

I’ve contacted the developers of the plugin. They are currently updating the plugin and it has been taken off JOSM in the meantime.
You can still get the old version from their bitbucket page and install it manually.
After testing it a while I figuered it is a great plugin while editing, as it helps tagging based on the most commonly used combinations and
other statistics and helps prevent potential errors too.

However I found out, that browsing for tags in the OSM wiki and TagInfo can sometimes be a hassle, when you have to jump from link to link
to finally get to the tag you actually want. The feature I’m working on is more like a Tag Search Engine, similar to Google but just for OSM tags.
It should help get more information about a tag and what it is about. So its not generally used while already editing an object.
It’s also less focused on statistics of tag use. I’ll try to include other terms that don’t have an actual tag.

In the presets, the authors can include a link to a wiki page as well. It is possible to have different links for different languages.
So what you are going to to, is something that automates this ?

Looking forward to play around with it. Good luck !

For now it will be a website to search a term in English and German and get list of tags as a result, with additional information and a link to the actual osm-wiki page of the tag.
It also includes a WebService for developers to expand on it.

In the last few months, I’ve been able to create a workable website with a tag search functionality. It’s not quite complete yet, but I’d be glad if you could give it a try (and post your thoughts :D): http://tagfinder.herokuapp.com/
Certain information can be viewed like combined tags and what links there are in the according wikipage for the found tags. The statistics however are not uptodate (about 12 days old).
I’m working on improving the search engine and adding more terms information to the keys/tags.

What is the sort order ? I searched for “traffic”. I would expect the ones with the highest scores at the top. It seems that you put the most mapped on top. So junction=roundabout ends in the second place, while it is IMHO less related than highway=traffic_sign. The latter has a score of 2.7, the ones in place 1 and 2 have a much lower score.
Would it be possible to allow sorting on either score or mapping totals ?

Overall it looks like a nice tool. Thanks !

Interesting - definitely worth mentioning elsewhere (the Q&A forum is relatively low volume compared to e.g. the main mailing lists).

Very nice results, however, I see some problems.

  • You don’t seem to follow redirects. F.e., when I search for “river”, I see water=river as second possibility. On the wiki, it’s redirected to waterway=riverbank, but the descriptions from there don’t appear on the site.
  • You seem to mix elements (http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Elements) with symantic elements (http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/SemanticElements). An area can be mapped as a closed way, or as a (multipolygon) relation. Again when you look at water=river, you see that over 3000 of those are tagged on relations (which isn’t correct according to the icons), but in fact, those are semantic areas.

The easiest would be to just leave out areas (as they’re the only purely semantic element). Other solutions would require you to look at the closedness of ways, or at the correctness of multipolygons (which is probably not for this job).

Next to the above problems, I also see some small areas of improvement:

  • It’s not clear where you arrive when you click on the links (you need to be clever enough to read the link info shown by your browser). For that, I propose to mention “TagInfo” in text, right above those counts (since that link brings you to TagInfo). And have a tooltip for the link to the wiki.
  • It would also be nice to be able to click on both the key and the value of the tag (like it’s done inside the wiki itself when linking tags).

But thank you a lot for this very nice tool.

Thanks for the constructive feedback. I’ll try to address the issues you mention. My priority at the moment is to complete the searchengine however.

You’re correct, for now its sorting the most mapped to the top. I’m troubled with the sorting by “matching score” because it can also drop the more relevant
tags to the bottom. For instance if you search “zoo”, tourism=zoo would drop to the bottom and the less relevant key zoo=* and the sub-tag zoo=petting_zoo would get a higher position.
A “sorting by”-button would be an idea indeed.

I think it will be posted there soon by my supervisor.

Indeed. However it should once I’ve included terms for that tag. Currently about 400 of 2574 are done.

My hope here is, that the data gets corrected in TagInfo. Newer data suggest, not to use water=river at all: TagInfo Wiki WebService for water=river :confused: Current stats on water river: TagInfo Stats WebService for water=river
If I’d remove “areas” completly, I’d also would have to remove the usage information for the others. So it would be just a list of taginfo stats like on the wikipage.

Good ideas, I added some tooltips, and split the link into one for key and one for value.