Hi, I’m a big fan of osm and have been mapping for many years.
But I still struggle to use the search function on the osm.org website.
If I search for “toilet near Brisbane” I get a list of toilets near Brisbane, Australia (i.e. tag amenity=toilet) and works for any location worldwide.
But for the life of me I can’t figure out how to search for public bbq’s (amenity=bbq).
The following search terms bring nothing “bbq near Brisbane”, “BBQ near Brisbane”, “amenity=bbq near Brisbane”.
If I search for simply “BBQ”, I get a list of amenity=bbq in some random order, the first one being in Singapore, the second one in Siberia followed by Panama and New Zealand. Not really helpful.
It sounds ridiculous, and I’m not computer illiterate, but a guide on how to search using search terms would be helpful.
How can I search for specific tags, near me has still eluded me. And the Nominatim wiki has not really been helpful either.
Ok, so Overpass Turbo does a really good job and did give me the information I was looking for. So thanks.
But I find it a bit of a stopgap, the user friendliness just isn’t there. It’s more coding than searching. Assuming osm would like to compete with the other big map services (not naming any names ), which I totally think it should, it really needs a good all-encompassing front-end.
Or is this purposely left to third parties, as osm is a mapping data service, not a search service?
I know some third parties do fairly good search algorithms. Maps.me for example is quite excellent, but they decided to drop the inclusion of amenity=bbq a few updates ago and they are only iOS and Android based.
The problem I see with third party providers is that they can just choose to use an incomplete data set and not include certain tags for what ever reason.
Hence, does anyone know of a good website based map service using the (complete) osm data set, that is (relatively) user friendly?
And btw, I’ve seen OSM maps incorporated into onboard public train location and speed displays, so it’s really gained some ground as a significant mapping provider. Which is really awesome to see.
I tried this query in google maps, and all I got was a number of bbq restaurants around Brisbane, which isn’t anywhere close to a bbq location. So which big map services did you have in mind for this kind of query?
Part of the problem is that handling worldwide searches with a large variation in admin boundaries, place names, and addresses is a difficult problem. Secondly there are only a few volunteers working on Nominatim in their spare time.
There was some attempt to restrict the results to the current map view, but that might not be active because it confuses others when a small area zoom gives no results.
Completely agree. Google is terrible for non-commercial searches (obviously no money in it), it does a terrible job at public toilets, drinking water and things like that as well.
But that’s where OSM could shine. The sheer amount of data, like; public toilets, children’s playgrounds, boat ramps/slipways, bbq/picnic areas, drinking water/ fountains, bicycle repair stations, that is actually available amongst the OSM data is phenomenal. At the moment it’s just difficult to find and coax out, even if you know it’s there.
I haven’t found many instances where a worldwide search would have been useful to me. However, I guess returning no results is also less than ideal. It could though prompt the option to zoom out a level and search again.
Google map on Android actually does a fairly good job to zoom out a bit to perform a search, but then also when you move the map, a little pop up reminds to “perform search on this area” indicating that the visible area does not necessarily have all possible results shown.
So is Nominatim something that is being continually improved? Where would one get involved?
Please note many mobile OSM-based apps do not use Nominatim, they all developed their own search mechanism.
And as others said, for on-line searches there is always Overpass. This means that all tools exist for those “non-commercial” searches, but http://osm.org is not meant to compete with Google. Therefore they are not integrated into 1 package.