Townland naming

Riddle me this, OSMers -

I note that most decent maps of Ireland (not least OS maps) have the townlands labelled on them.
But OSM at the moment generally just has boundaries with the labels written along the boundary. (Looks a bit wick, to be honest)
However, I gather there is a recommended way of dealing with such things, namely to add a node with place=locality and locality=townland, which is added to the relation for the townland boundary, with a role of ‘label’.
Now, the node could have the tag name=<townland name>, e.g name=Legananny,
But I was wondering if it would be more pragmatically sensible to have it be name=Legananny Townland. Or ’ name=Legananny TD.

One reason for suggesting this is: most renderers render the names of ‘localities’, ‘hamets’, ‘villages’ and indeed ‘townlands’ all in the same style and weight. And it is therefore confusing.
And yes, I know we don’t tag for the renderer!!!
But this is more ‘tagging for logical semantics’?
Point for the defense: in recent decades, many Northern Irish street name signs in rural areas also include the townland name. Some do it with a different colour and smaller size font. Some explicitly add the letters ‘TD’ the townland name. Some maps use ‘TD’ too. (Similarly to them labelling counties with ‘Co’…

(see also: discussions about whether river names should be ‘River Name’ or just ‘Name’…)

I don’t think adding this data to OSM is needed, because I think it can be done in a map style.

At a minimum, please don’t do this. There’s a long standing OSM convention to not enter abbreviations. I’m personally also against adding “Townland” (for the same reason a not adding the “River”).

There are ~60,000 townlands, and most a “geometrically” quite simple, so I believe map rendering software could add a label in the middle of the shape for the name. This technique is very common and how a lot of map labels on osm-carto (the main map style) work. Manually adding label points isn’t needed in this case.

Yeah I guess I knew the answer to this one before I even asked it, but I did want to raise the issue!
And yes I don’t really even like the abbreviation ‘TD’ on streetname signs in the real world, never mind in OSM :sweat_smile: It doesn’t even seem like an intuitive abbreviation to me.
And literally putting the word ‘townland’ about 60,000 times all over the map seems a bit much too.

I agree that a map rendering style could probably tackle this best.

I would hope it was a better style than on OSNI’s current 1:50,000 and 1:25,000 series maps (where they have this weird thing going on with distinguishing between townland names and village/hamlet names by use of serif versus non-serif fonts of slightly different font sizes… whilst mountain names get serif SMALL CAPS (?!) … frankly it’s a typographic mess and compounded by the fact that it isn’t explained in a map key. But hey, what do I know, they’re the experts :slight_smile:

Re: nodes with a ‘label’ role - I experimented with adding half a dozen of these, and they look OK as far as they go, I guess (the similarity to village & hamlet labels notwithstanding) but I can think of about 100 more worthwhile things to add to the mapping rather than put explicit label nodes all over the place - and as you say, renderers are perfectly capable of doing it for us - its just that none of the common ones seem to currently do it for Ireland’s townlands.
Perhaps that should be viewed as an opportunity rather than a problem, for someone to create and Irish-townland-friendly map style that uses sympathetic typography for townland labels…

now that’s a very interesting idea!

This appears to me to be suggesting “tagging for the renderer”. Most townlands do not have a centre (although some with the role=label are still mapped that way because they first appeared as nodes imported from GNIS), so adding a node is rather artificial and to my mind violates “one feature, one element”. The only time a label role makes sense is when decent automatic label placement by a render proves impossible.

The current maps on the main OSM site naturally do not take account of local niceties in how things are rendered. Which boundary levels people expect to see on a map will vary by territory, so displaying multiple levels on the boundary is a sensible approach.

The appropriate way to address this type of issue is to produce a map style which is directed at the sort of features which make sense to Irish users and reflect Irish topography. Off the top of my head, these might include, as well as townlands, the characteristic historical monuments: round towers, ringforts, holy wells, high crosses, crannogs, etc. One might tweak the symbology too for things like road colours.

In the past OSM-IE offered a rich set of overlays for townlands and other boundary features which had pretty much the style you suggest (which simply requires treating the townland as an area not a boundary line). Unfortunately, I don’t think anyone has had the bandwidth to do this in recent years. @SomeoneElse does provide a map style more focused on features of rural areas in Britain & Ireland, but he has chosen to provide boundaries, solely as an overlay (without names), as here Ballybrack, Inishowen, Co. Donegal.

One of the other issues with a centrally placed name is that it may not appear because of other features or vice versa.

PS. The townland mapping campaign really finished around 2016 after 3-4 years work by quite a pool of contributors. Things like townland names appearing on road signs in NI, refining county boundaries (parts of Cork-Limerick were miles off reality), and their value for genealogists all contributed to a desire to map them. To do so also involved rectifying all the GSGS 3906 maps made available to us.

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The business end of that is here, here, and here. No names on admin boundaries is more of an oversight than a conscious choice. It’d be good to see some sort of display of disputed boundaries too.

If anyone fancies playing around with that map style, be my guest! It’s even somewhat documented!

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The traditional OS map style for townland name labels in Ireland is to use a ‘double struck capitals’ (aka ‘blackboard bold’) font
An example is here Double Struck (Open Face, Blackboard Bold)