Street Addresses in Nanaimo rural area

This info is presently missing from OpenMaps, so searching for an address only locates the street itself.

Address numbers (and building outlines) are available on RDN Maps but I have no idea how to get that info into OSM. If anyone wants to try it, the source is here

I noticed such info has already been ioncluded for the Campbell River area.

I’ve been doing this over time in my area house by house, property by property. I also walked the neighbourhood with my phone and took house numbers from the real world.

Rapid is able to load set of addresses as a import layer. You would need to talk to @bhousel or Ben Clark at Meta about the upload process. Once imported any OSM user will just need to load the matching data set when they are using Rapid in the corresponding area. That is assuming the data set license is compatible,

The agreement required to view the site data above states: “All rights, titles, and interest (including all copyrights, patents, and other intellectual property rights) in RDNMAP and the information displayed therein remain vested in the entity that is the source of the information." Simply put, the data is not compatible with the OSM license and should not be imported (IMHO).

On the below linked page is a source to download data, and it appears to provide a public license to use this open data information

Could you please review that and see if it meets your concerns

I’m not a lawyer but I remember that an “adapted version” of an ODbL compatible license may not be compatible. See this old tread about Nanaimo OGL License.

The linked article refers to the City of Nanaimo

The page I linked above is published by the regional district of nanaimo.

Given that this would provide addrees data for a very large district, they provide an email address for inquiries

I have sent them an inquiry, will advise what they say.

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Here is the response received from RDN - this is too complicated for me to interpret. It seems they would like to make the data available, but not able to say if terms of their license are compatible with OSM. He appears to suggest they might make changes in the longer term to become compatible with OSM…

Good morning [Rob_S], and my apologies for the delayed response.

The RDN Open Data is made available under the Open Government License - Regional District of Nanaimo - if your use is compliant with this licence, we have no concerns.

OSM has evolved considerably since I last connected with the community in a technical role (more than a decade ago), including a change to their license from CC-BY-SA to ODbL, but it appears that there is still a general caution around bulk data import. I would suggest starting with their Import Guide if you have not already: Import/Guidelines - OpenStreetMap Wiki

I am unable to provide advice on whether the OGL – RDN is compatible with OSM’s licence, and am also not authorized to provide the data under a different license. If you run into compatibility issues, please let me know. I cannot commit to being able to make any immediate changes, but it would be very useful for future improvements to understand what kind of barriers may be in place under the current licence terms.



Jason Birch (he/him) Why do I share pronouns?

Chief Technology Officer, Information Services and GIS Department

Regional District of Nanaimo
6300 Hammond Bay Road, Nanaimo, BC V9T 6N2

T: 250-390-6532 | Email:

There is a problem with the use of OGL licenses in Canada to the point that it is even mentioned in this OSMF text on license/license compatibility.

Unless a dataset is available under one of these compatible licenses, it is not worth initiating the import process as described in the import guidelines.

Now to find someone who has the experience to import the datasaet of addresses and buildings as noted above.

It would be a huge improvement to be able to navigate to addresses in our district.


If someone wants to help with the paperwork of a import process, I am happy to do some of the technical lifting. tl;dr: the building data will need some more heavy review, the address data is relatively straightforward.

Looking at the building footprint shapefile in JOSM real quick. I think this data set could be very useful for someone to go through somewhat manually and pull out what’s useful and skip what’s not. The data quality is a bit uneven, here’s one example that we probably would prefer to skip:

And here’s an area that’s much better looking:

The tagging would also need to be reviewed. They have a Structure_ tag that has a value of Single Family Dwelling which you would think mapped nicely to building=house or building=detached but it’s used for both the duplexes above and the detached homes below.

Now the address data looks more tractable. The address points in the shapefile generally line up with building footprints on imagery (sometimes address data is at parcel centroids). The fields they have should be relatively easy to process as:

  • ADDRESSaddr:housenumber
  • ROADaddr:street
  • UNIT_NOaddr:unit
  • CIVIC → dropped as this is a concatenation of the other fields

Making sure to deduplicate with the existing OSM data is pretty straightforward. Fortunately, the validator in JOSM is good at this.

i did the addresses/houses for gabriola, mudge and de courcy islands today. these shapefiles are the interesting ones - 24476 points - 28457 polygons

also this one, but more for reference - 26398 polygons

first we need to convert these to geojson to work with them from the command line, note that the coordinates use a weird projection, check with ogrinfo -so -al AddressPoints.shp

ogr2ogr -f GeoJSON -s_srs EPSG:26910 -t_srs EPSG:4326 address.geojson AddressPoints.shp
ogr2ogr -f GeoJSON -s_srs EPSG:26910 -t_srs EPSG:4326 building.geojson BuildingFootprints.shp
ogr2ogr -f GeoJSON -s_srs EPSG:26910 -t_srs EPSG:4326 parcel.geojson Parcels.shp

next calculate the bounding box of the data and use overpass-turbo to get all street names and island names that already exist in osm in the area

[out:csv("name"; false)];
out body;
//out skel qt;

and save it as streets.txt .

we need to convert street names in the addresses from NORTH RD (GabIsl) to North Road, which I did with this python code:

import json
from collections import Counter
import difflib
import sys

with open('streets.txt', 'r') as f:
    known_streets = set(
    if len(known_streets) < 100:
        sys.exit('Error: streets.txt is too short')

abbreviations = {
    'LK': 'Lake',
    'CAPT': 'Captain',
    'HARELQUIN': 'HARLEQUIN', # typo
    'ABBEY': 'Abbey',
    'ACRES': 'Acres',
    'ALLEY': 'Alley',
    'AVE': 'Avenue',
    'BAY': 'Bay',
    'BEACH': 'Beach',
    'BEND': 'Bend',
    'BLVD': 'Boulevard',
    'BYPASS': 'By-pass',
    'BYWAY': 'Byway',
    'CAMPUS': 'Campus',
    'CAPE': 'Cape',
    'CTR': 'Centre',
    'CHASE': 'Chase',
    'CIR': 'Circle',
    'CIRCT': 'Circuit',
    'CLOSE': 'Close',
    'COMMON': 'Common',
    'CONC': 'Concession',
    'CRNRS': 'Corners',
    'CRT': 'Court',
    'COVE': 'Cove',
    'CRES': 'Crescent',
    # 'CROSS': 'Crossing',
    'CDS': 'Cul-de-sac',
    'DALE': 'Dale',
    'DELL': 'Dell',
    'DIVERS': 'Diversion',
    'DOWNS': 'Downs',
    'DR': 'Drive',
    'END': 'End',
    'ESPL': 'Esplanade',
    'ESTATE': 'Estates',
    'EXPY': 'Expressway',
    'EXTEN': 'Extension',
    'FARM': 'Farm',
    'FIELD': 'Field',
    'FOREST': 'Forest',
    'FWY': 'Freeway',
    'FRONT': 'Front',
    'GDNS': 'Gardens',
    'GATE': 'Gate',
    'GLADE': 'Glade',
    'GLEN&': 'Glen',
    'GREEN': 'Green',
    'GRNDS': 'Grounds',
    'GROVE': 'Grove',
    'HARBR': 'Harbour',
    'HEATH': 'Heath',
    'HTS': 'Heights',
    'HGHLDS': 'Highlands',
    'HWY': 'Highway',
    'HILL': 'Hill',
    'HOLLOW': 'Hollow',
    'INLET': 'Inlet',
    'ISLAND': 'Island',
    'KEY': 'Key',
    'KNOLL': 'Knoll',
    'LANDNG': 'Landing',
    'LANE': 'Lane',
    'LMTS': 'Limits',
    'LINE': 'Line',
    'LINK': 'Link',
    'LKOUT': 'Lookout',
    'LOOP': 'Loop',
    'MALL': 'Mall',
    'MANOR': 'Manor',
    'MAZE': 'Maze',
    'MEADOW': 'Meadow',
    'MEWS': 'Mews',
    'MOOR': 'Moor',
    'MOUNT': 'Mount',
    'MTN': 'Mountain',
    'ORCH': 'Orchard',
    'PARADE': 'Parade',
    'PK': 'Park',
    'PKY': 'Parkway',
    'PASS': 'Passage',
    'PATH': 'Path',
    'PTWAY': 'Pathway',
    'PINES': 'Pines',
    'PL': 'Place',
    'PLAT': 'Plateau',
    'PLAZA': 'Plaza',
    'PT': 'Point',
    'PORT': 'Port',
    'PVT': 'Private',
    'PROM': 'Promenade',
    'QUAY': 'Quay',
    'RAMP': 'Ramp',
    'RG': 'Range',
    'RIDGE': 'Ridge',
    'RISE': 'Rise',
    'RD': 'Road',
    'RTE': 'Route',
    'ROW': 'Row',
    'RUN': 'Run',
    'SQ': 'Square',
    'ST': 'Street',
    'SUBDIV': 'Subdivision',
    'TERR': 'Terrace',
    'THICK': 'Thicket',
    'TOWERS': 'Towers',
    'TLINE': 'Townline',
    'TRAIL': 'Trail',
    'TRNABT': 'Turnabout',
    'VALE': 'Vale',
    'VIA': 'Via',
    'VIEW': 'View',
    'VILLGE': 'Village',
    'VILLAS': 'Villas',
    'VISTA': 'Vista',
    'WALK': 'Walk',
    'WAY': 'Way',
    'WHARF': 'Wharf',
    'WOOD': 'Wood',
    'WYND': 'Wynd',
    'E': 'East',
    'N': 'North',
    'NE': 'Northeast',
    'NW': 'Northwest',
    'S': 'South',
    'SE': 'Southeast',
    'SW': 'Southwest',
    'W': 'West',

def fix(name):
    return {
        'COHO': 'COHO BLVD',
        'DEEP BAY RD': 'DEEP BAY DR',
        'ALLVIEW RD': 'ALLVIEW DR',  # this might be changing
        'WILKS WAY': '', # new development
        'McLEAN LANE': '', # need to draw it, but can't see it

        'PRIVATE RD': 'WALLACE WAY',  # at least that's what it's called on OSM
        'PRIVATE RD': '',

        'GOLD RD': '', # a large compound
        'KORDONAN RD': '',  # need to draw it, not sure I can see it
        'ALPINE VIEW PL': '', # new development
        'WILD RD': '', # new development
        'KIRK RD': '', # this is weird, maybe Burbank Road was renamed
        'CORAL PL': '', # a business
        'ANGEL RD': '', # new hard to see road
        'REMPEL RD': '', # new hard to see road next to it
        'WILLIAM ST': '', # new development
        'DESPARD AVE EAST': 'DESPARD AVE',  # east would make sense but a neighbor is still called Despard Ave
        'TOAD RD': '',  # tiny road maybe

        'PITT RD': '', # no idea
        'LOON LAKE MAIN RD': '', # middle of nowhere
        'AVA PL': '', # new development
        'SERENITY PL': '', # need to draw

        'DAVENHAM RD': 'DAVENHAM DR', # surely the drive doesn't become a road?

        'BEECH AVE': '', # new development
        'BANYON DR': '', # same

        'YELLOWPOINT RD': 'YELLOW POINT RD',  # typo
        'MAPLE RD': '', # new road in forest
        'HARTMAN AVE': '', # should be Thompson Avenue
        'KING AVE': '', # should be KIPP RD
        'SANFORD WAY': '', # should be ELM RD
        'SECOND AVE (Extension)': '', # no idea

        'CLARK RD': '', # should be CLARK DR but might not even exist
        'CLARK RD WEST': '', # should be CLARK DR WEST? but might not even exist

        'SHALE RD': '', # new development

        'COPELY RIDGE DR': '', # new development

        'BROAD RIDGE PL': '', # new development, could be added already


        'MANHATTEN WAY': 'MANHATTAN WAY',  # typo

        'OCEAN BLUE PL': '', # new development

        'VALMAR RD': '', # house at the end of a road called Northwind Drive

        'BATH ISLAND': 'SEAR ISLAND', # wrong island for some reason
    }.get(name, name)

def de_specify(name):
    return name.split(' (')[0]

def title(word):
    if word.startswith('Mc'):
        return 'Mc' + word[2].upper() + word[3:].lower()
    if word == 'MCQUARRIE':  # typo
        return 'McQuarrie'
    if word == 'MACKENZIE':
        return 'MacKenzie'
    if word == 'MACMILLAN':
        return 'MacMillan'
    if word == 'MACISAAC':
        return 'MacIsaac'
    if '-' in word:
        return '-'.join([title(w) for w in word.split('-')])
    if not word:
        return word
    return word[0].upper() + word[1:].lower()

seen_words = Counter()
def de_abbreviate(name):
    if name == 'JUAN DE FUCA BLVD':
        return 'Juan de Fuca Boulevard'
    words = name.split(' ')
    if words[0] == 'ST':
        # short for "Saint", not "Street", uncapitalizing disables de-abbreviation
        words[0] = 'St'  
    words = [title(abbreviations.get(w, w)) for w in words]
    return ' '.join(words)

def extract_street_names(geojson_file, output_txt, edited_txt):
    with open(geojson_file, 'r') as file:
        data = json.load(file)

    street_names = set()
    for feature in data['features']:
        if 'ROAD' in feature['properties']:

    with open(output_txt, 'w') as raw_file, open(edited_txt, 'w') as edited_file:
        for name in sorted(street_names):
            raw_file.write(name + '\n')
            new_name = de_abbreviate(de_specify(fix(name)))
            # if name != new_name:
            if name != new_name and new_name not in known_streets:
                print(name, '->', new_name, file=sys.stderr)
                matches = difflib.get_close_matches(new_name, known_streets, n=3, cutoff=0.6)
                for m in matches:
                    print('  ', m, file=sys.stderr)
            edited_file.write(new_name  + '\n')

            # if :
            #     print(new_name, file=sys.stderr)
        abbr_counts = {w: c for w, c in seen_words.items() if w in abbreviations}
        # print(json.dumps(abbr_counts, indent=2), file=sys.stderr)

extract_street_names('address.geojson', 'streets_original.txt', 'streets_edited.txt')

which you can save as and run like this

python3 > unknown_streets.txt 2> why_unknown.txt

creating two files of missing street names, one of just the original street name, the other mapping the original name to the guessed missing name as well as 3 suggested similar looking osm names that might be a match.

all 1470 street names should be checked by hand. Of the 130 streets that are not in osm, reasons for a street name not being in osm:

  • apostrophes - Dragons Lane in osm vs. Dragon's Lane in the data and spaces like in osm Crows Nest Road instead of CROWSNEST ROAD in the data, i updated street names on osm to match rdn
  • unrepeated letters like Pickerel Place instead of PICKERELL PL or GARRY OAK
  • mistakes like NANAIMO RIVER ROD and mistakes like DEEP BAY RD instead of DEEP BAY DR in the data
  • discrepancies between CIVIC and ROAD, for example 210 COHO BLVD has just COHO as its ROAD
  • TIMOTHY DR is Timothy Road on osm.
  • DAVENHAM RD comes from DAVENHAM DR but in osm it’s just Davenham Drive throughout, there are other cases where addresses on the same road are DR and others are still RD
  • missing road names in osm
  • new roads and new development that has addresses but no houses yet, like BROAD RIDGE PL
  • roads have EAST or WEST in the name like PARKER RD EAST, usually in the data and not in osm, i added it to them on osm as well

from unknown_streets.txt we can then generate a geojson file of only the address points that have a road name that is missing from osm to manually review with this python

import json

def filter_streets(input_geojson, street_list, output_geojson):
    with open(input_geojson, 'r') as file:
        data = json.load(file)

    street_set = set(street_list)

    filtered_features = [
        feature for feature in data['features']
        if feature['properties'].get('ROAD') in street_set

    data['features'] = filtered_features

    with open(output_geojson, 'w') as file:
        json.dump(data, file, indent=4)

with open('unknown_streets.txt') as f:
    street_list =

filter_streets('address.geojson', street_list, 'missing_street_address.geojson')

i modified the python and osm until there’s no more missing streets. there may be an edge case of a short road name incorrectly converting to something it shouldn’t. validating that all addresses are next to roads in their address would be good.

now we can use streets_edited.txt to convert rdn data to osm’s addr format:

import sys
import json

with open('streets_original.txt') as orig, open('streets_edited.txt') as new:
    orig_streets =
    new_streets =
    rename_street = {orig: new for orig, new in zip(orig_streets, new_streets)}

def convert_to_osm_address_nodes(geojson_file, output_file):
    with open(geojson_file, 'r') as file:
        data = json.load(file)

    osm_nodes = []

    for feature in data['features']:
        properties = feature['properties']
        if not properties['ADDRESS']:
            print('Address missing: ' + str(properties))
        street = rename_street.get(properties['ROAD'], properties['ROAD'])
        if not street:

        new_properties = {
            'addr:housenumber': properties['ADDRESS'],
            'addr:street': street,
        if properties['UNIT_NO']:
            new_properties['addr:unit'] = properties['UNIT_NO']

        feature['properties'] = new_properties

    data['features'] = osm_nodes

    with open(output_file, 'w') as file:
        json.dump(data, file, indent=4)

convert_to_osm_address_nodes('address.geojson', 'osm_address_nodes.geojson')

So now we have a nice osm_address_nodes.geojson file of addresses ready to be uploaded to osm. we now want to join these addresses to the building polygons.

For buildings we have this:

$ jq -r .features[].properties.Structure_ building.geojson | sort | uniq -c | sort -h -r
  20827 Single Family Dwelling
   4920 Detached Garage
   1123 Mobile Home
    584 Barn
    473 Commercial
    179 Industrial
    130 Community Facility
     53 Multi-Family Dwelling
     35 Mixed Use
     31 School
     18 Fire Hall
     17 Cabin
     12 Utility Bldg
     12 Shop
      9 Shed
      7 Duplex
      5 Studio
      4 Multi-use
      4 Accessory Building
      3 Water Reservoir
      3 Storage Building
      3 Pumphouse
      2 Church
      1 Workshop
      1 Utility Building
      1 Hatchery

Address points and building polygons often don’t match up, especially on De Courcy Island and Mudge Island.

At this point I reduced the amount of work by only looking at Gabriola, Mudge and De Courcy Islands. After moving address nodes around and performing a spatial join using something like this:

import sys
import geopandas as gpd

addresses = gpd.read_file("address.geojson")
buildings = gpd.read_file("building.geojson").drop(columns=["STArea__", "STLength__"])
mapping = {
    "Single Family Dwelling": "house",
    "Detached Garage": "garage",
    "Barn": "barn",
    "Commercial": "commercial",
    "Community Facility": "public",
    "Mixed Use": "mixed_use",
    "Fire Hall": "fire_station",
    "Mobile Home": "static_caravan",
    "School": "school",
    "Shop": "retail",
buildings["building"] = buildings["Structure_"].map(mapping)
buildings = buildings.drop(columns=["Structure_"])
if buildings["building"].isnull().any():
    print("Error: Unmapped building types found.")

joined = gpd.sjoin(buildings, addresses, how="left", predicate=None)

buildings_with_address = joined[joined["index_right"].notnull()].copy()
buildings_without_address = joined[joined["index_right"].isnull()].copy()

used_indices = set(joined["index_right"].dropna().astype(int))
addresses_without_building = addresses[~addresses.index.isin(used_indices)]

num_addresses = len(buildings_with_address) + len(addresses_without_building)
if num_addresses != len(addresses):
    print(f"lost {len(addresses) - num_addresses} addresses")

num_buildings = len(buildings_with_address) + len(buildings_without_address)
if num_buildings != len(buildings):
    print(f"lost {len(buildings) - num_buildings} buildings")

duplicate_indices = buildings_with_address[
    buildings_with_address.duplicated(subset="index_right", keep=False)
if not duplicate_indices.empty:
    print("same address mapped to different buildings")

    "buildings_without_address.geojson", driver="GeoJSON"
    "buildings_with_address.geojson", driver="GeoJSON"
    "addresses_without_building.geojson", driver="GeoJSON"

print("no match:")
print("at least one:")
# print(
#     buildings_without_address["building"]
#     .value_counts()
#     .add(buildings_with_address["building"].value_counts(), fill_value=0),
# )
extra = (
        .add(buildings_with_address["building"].value_counts(), fill_value=0),
print(extra[extra != 0])

i map each building type to their corresponding types in osm:

  1. Single Family Dwelling: building=house
  2. Detached Garage: building=garage
  3. Barn: building=barn
  4. Commercial: building=commercial
  5. Community Facility: building=public (or more specific tag if applicable)
  6. Mixed Use: building=mixed_use
  7. Fire Hall: building=fire_station
  8. Mobile Home: building=static_caravan
  9. School: building=school
  10. Shop: building=retail (or more specific tag if applicable)

strangely, parks have addresses. i decided to add them to osm as points as well. there’s a noticeable number of buildings that you can see in the imagery that are not in the rdn data.