Place name tags

What you describe here is a rendering problem. The data is present in OpenStreetMap, but it is not being shown/rendered on your device.

I understand your need and I still believe that this is about the Garmin rendering (or rather map creation process).

I have recently contacted Lambertus to have him look at this issue, but I am still awaiting his feedback - I’ll update you guys when I learn more. When the map creation process and the Garmin rendering is fixed you’ll no longer need to tag “Ban ?”

Like Stephan, I will be ignoring these tags until the Garmin maps have been fixed.

It’s a rendering issue of the Garmin units.

Adding a name is simple the relevant style must be modified to contain something like

place=village { add name='unnamed village' }

which will add a name tag unless there is already one.

I have a post-it to remind me trying to create a map on my server. Not sure it has enough ram for this purpose. If so I could use the default mkgmap style (or any other available) to automatically create maps with the modifications we want to have.

Please don’t forget not everybody uses Garmin… :slight_smile: It seems most of you use a Garmin. But I use Mac operating systems and Tomtom (since they seemed to support Mac better than Garmin when I bought it). For common use, I think one cannot exclude the smartphones these days. I don’t know how wide spread they are in Thailand these days - I guess having an iphone is sort of a must for some people, even though I think most have not much of an idea how to use them. The only free app I found that allows downloading of maps (so you don’t need permanent connection) on the iphone was “maps with me”. And the editor on the iphone I found is Go Map!!

Off-topic: an iPhone user recommended this app:

I believe all the users that wants to add “Ban ?” tags have Garmin devices, when they have been satisfied, the need to add “Ban ?” will hopefully go away.

unfortunately not, as EndlessRoundabout stated he uses a TomTom which is not proper rendering villages without a name tag.

I have no clue how to get OSM on a TomTom.

Probably we should remove these temporary Tags immediately and don’t try to work around by adding stuff to Garmin.

Honestly: Who needs unnamed villages in Thailand? Lots of people around, lots of mobile phones available. No problem, even in case of emergency.

Thanks, I did look at it, but one has to pay a fee to download maps (albeit very small), so I haven’t tried that one yet.

Actually, no I don’t use TomTom with OSM, can’t see a way to get it on there. I only made the point that not everybody has Garmin. At present I think one also needs to think in terms of a shift towards smartphones. I don’t see myself ever again buying a GPS, with all the things one can do with smartphones.

As was pointed out, it’s an aid towards making the map of Thailand more complete. Somehow to me, when I look at the map and it has lots of blank (mainly road networks), I think, uhh, that’s useless. If however, you have road network, and rough indications (with “Ban” for example) where places are, you have something to work with and use in the field.

Or people look at the map, see all these “Ban?”, say “What the f*” and stay with Google’s map as it shows either proper (looking) data or none at all.

My current work around for this is to draw a residential area. It shows up on Osmand, and I have a destination. So you need an Android phone and a Garmin. ‘Ban’ would be easier, and not wrong, just incomplete. If you name=Ban, it will only show up on a Garmin. No Thai would ever see it, as if they were looking.

People will more likely be frustrated by lack of data; landmarks like village names and even an occasional 7-11. Google shows every scratch in the ground as being a paved road, that excess of data might frustrate a few. Every road I’ve edited is real and passable.

Sorry, but I don’t agree with Stephan on this, with due respect. The ‘Ban’ is temporary, or we are not doing our jobs. Stephan lives in Germany, while I and others ride down roads here to seek unmapped features. Sometimes they are hard to find, even a km away (when viewed on a 3X5 cm screen).

BTW, a bike is the way to enjoyably map Thailand. Today, as often in the past, I rode 120 km and got 50 bridges, wats, village names etc. The (small) roads here are just beautiful.

Tonight, I was just picking up where I left off adding roads and details to eastern Thailand and the sheer number of villages and bans without name tags is starting to concern me. I realize those of you doing this have your reasons but I think you’re getting carried away. My Overpass query reports over 2,000 of these in the area east of Khon Kaen and Udon Thani. I mean, try to be reasonable. You will probably never get to visit all of these towns, which my intuition tells me will not have name signs anyway, and those empty place nodes will likely stay that way for a very long time. Plus, many of them are tagged as place=village (40% of them) when in reality they may actually be hamlets. We can’t know which is correct from our desktops. However, by tagging them as villages you will perhaps influence future mappers to use the place=village tag wrongly.

I think the idea that you can make a custom map that suits your particular needs using the online OSM map was a bad idea to begin with and IMHO things have gotten out of hand. We have route 212 tagged with a name=212 now, not to mention the trails, roads, wats with name=Wat, and assorted other POIs that many folks, newbies and old hands alike, have simply decided to stick a name onto because they like the way it looks. Where does it end? Those newbies Johnny was complaining about, the ones that add name=Cold water to amenity=drinking_water POIs, might be taking their lead from some of us.

Edited, next day

I apologize for going off like that last night. Maybe the “empty” place nodes are not so bad as the ones with “Ban ?” for the name. I dunno. As I was sitting down to morning tea I realized that we tag things all the time without knowing their names, like streets and restaurants, etc. If we had to wait until we visited the areas we are working on the map of Thailand would be almost empty.

My position about invented names, however, is the same. I think it’s a bad practice that will tempt others to point to us and say, look, they did it, why can’t I? Route 212, for example, should not be tagged with name=212, nor should a wat whose name is unknown be tagged with name=wat.

My 2 cents.

I’ll reply to your edit instead.

I did not mean to complain about the newbies - newbies are hugely important to the success of any project. I just wanted to make sure that someone educated them a little so they can become beneficial faster.

I don’t see the villages/hamlets with no names as an issue, they do provide some real information which could potentially be useful.

I am not gonna comment much on the abuse of the name tag, since this has been discussed enough already. I agree with you and Stephan, and I understand the reason why Tom and Russ do it. Hopefully I’ll manage to work out something with Lambertus, so there will be no need for it in the future.

At first I contacted Lambertus directly regarding the Garmin maps and never heard anything, and to be honest I can’t blame him. I am sure lots of people write to him regarding the maps.

So I found a post on this forum which is related to issues/missing items in the Garmin maps, and I raised my issue there instead. But now they are asking questions that I don’t know the answer to because I don’t have a Garmin myself.

He says that unnamed villages are supposed to be shown on the map, but might not show in in searches, can someone please check and respond - also please let them know exactly how you want the Garmin to handle unnamed villages.

My suggestion would be:
place=town, name=Town
place=village, name=Village
place=hamlet, name=Hamlet


A place is not visible on (my) Garmin until it has a name. It is not visible on the OSM main page if tagged ‘name:en=Ban’, (only if ‘name=Ban’). But then it is clearly visible on Garmin and I can find it!

My mistake in the past, sorry.

BTW, you can’t draw an area and tag it a place with name=บ้าน. I tried many times. Works with schools and wats. Wiki says it will.

Johnny, you are welcome to borrow my 60csx (not the latest) to experiment.

The days when I can be out on a bike all day are numbered. I need to know exactly where to go or it’s just not worth the trip.


Can you give that reply in the other thread?, this way you’ll also be informed when they have more questions.

Also, please provide the Garmin model you have, maybe the different models have different behaviours.

Russ and Dave, does your Garmin models behave the same as Tom’s?

I already replied in your other thread but will reiterate here. I have a Garmin Montana and use Basecamp to load and manipulate the Lambertus maps.
A very small blue circle or sphere is what Garmin devices use to represent a hamlet. There are similar larger spheres that are used for larger populated places. The problem is, these are nearly impossible to see without some text attached to the node. The “icon” that corresponds to that smallest blue sphere appears as a tiny black dot in Basecamp. It could easily be mistaken for a dust speck on your monitor.

The style rules to make these changes are not difficult but they aren’t as simple as your example either for the reason that people have made their own versions of these tags. That means the style rules have to take all those existing variations into account in order to be successful.

For example, some folks have tagged nodes with name=Ban ?, name=Village, or no name at all, just place=village, or place=hamlet, or perhaps even place=town. One must also be careful to check to see if a Thai name exists, or if the user has tagged the name with the name:en variation before applying the rule. I came across a few nodes that were tagged place=hamlet along with the tag name=Village. WTF?

It is for exactly this reason that free form tagging is discouraged. At some point the rules needed to set things right after the fact get cumbersome and difficult to interpret not to mention soaking up processing time when building a large map.

I’m moving to a new apartment his weekend so I won’t have a chance to develop a full scale fix for this right away. But in the meantime, please don’t tag any more hamlets or towns this way. Also, at some point, we will have to face the issue of how to make any of these fixes available to the rest of the Thai mapping community. One possibility, at least for the present issue, is to add the rules to the ones Lambertus uses in his country-specific style file.

Something along these lines:

(place=village | place=hamlet | place=town) & mkgmap:country=THA { add name=‘unnamed place’ }

There will be some extra testing in the finished rule set (as mentioned above) but this method would be the easiest way to deal with the issue.

@Endless: The reason Garmin units have the focus on OSM is the same reason that Macs don’t have as many problems with viruses. There are just not enough Tom-Tom users out there to make the considerable effort write a program to emulate their proprietary map format a worthwhile endeavor. Being a Tom-Tom user means you have to settle for whatever Tom deems important to render. Same with the other mapping apps for smartphones. Each one presents one person’s or one company’s answer to what a map should look like.

I developed these additions to the style rules. These effectively add a name of “Unnamed Place” to all nodes that have a place tag of either village or hamlet but no name tag at all, or ones that have name=Village or that have name=Ban ? Whether having a uniform non-name like “Unnamed Place” is any better than what we have now is open to opinion.

(place=village | place=hamlet) & name~'.*[?].*' {delete name}
(place=village | place=hamlet)  & (name:en!=* & name!=* & int_name!=*)  [0x0800 resolution 22 default_name "Unnamed Place"]
(place=village | place=hamlet) & name=Village { set name='Unnamed Village'} [0x0800 resolution 22]

I’ve tested these and they work.

A couple of clarifications: The first rule checks for any name that contains a ? and includes a {delete name} directive. Note that we’re not deleting any OSM data or tags here, only modifying the data before it is compiled into a map. The second rule applies a default_name to any nodes that have no name:en or normal name tag. I check for the presence of the int_name tag as well because I discovered a place or two that had empty standard name tags but did have an int_name. The third rule checks for places that have the name=Village and changes that name to “Unnamed Village”

Whether Lambertus will want to include these style changes in his style sheets is unknown.


If you are going to submit this to Lambertus you should probably remove the check on “Ban ?” and “Village” - we shouldn’t encourage incorrect tagging. If he accepts the changes, then we’ll just clean up our tags.

If people with no Garmins needs to find these villages as well, then maybe we can convince Stephan to also add Unnamed Place’s on his map too.

Best Regards,