Naming countries, states with node-based methods became useless

Posted by BelpheniaProject on 17 January 2015 in English (English).

Last night, I looked at the world map, the territory names like UL019, UL020 showed up. Then I looked at the world map, all the territory reference names like TA019, TA018, etc. showed up. What happened was that on the Openstreetmap’s end, they made some changes to the look of the world map, was the reason why OpenGeofiction got the changes. I seen the airport symbols are now marked purple instead of blue, and the world map no longer supports country names being nodes. (I was planning to go to Drevet and start mapping Reback, but I found Drevet’s name was reverted back to TA020.)

Speaking of naming countries and territories, we are used to name them by using nodes to get the territory names to show on the world map. And today, node-based country names are no longer supported by the OSM tech. The new and only method of naming territories and states, is to edit the borders’ relations to get the names to show on the world map. Because of the changes at OSM’s end, this is mandatory.

To do this in JOSM, you must select the outlines of countries and states. Then you click the gear icon that will take you to the Create New Relation settings. In the Tags and Members section, click the plus button and JOSM will create a new tag.

For states or provinces, you will need to type in the keys and values to get the name of the state to show on the world map: admin_level - 4 type - boundary boundary - administrative name - State or Province Name

For countries, you will need to select all the outlines of the territory and type in the keys and values to display the territory’s name on the world map: admin_level - 2 type - boundary boundary - administrative ogf:id - Your territory’s reference name such as UL055 ogf:owner - Your username goes here name - Your territory’s name goes here name:en - Your territory’s native name goes here

In the iD editor, you must add the relations to the territory borders and outlines, but JOSM is better, because using the iD editor to name the territory by editing its relations on the borders takes a lot of time to accomplish.

After you have finished making a new relation for your territory’s borders, you must select the territory’s borders again, then right click on the new relation in the Relations window you created a while ago, and right click on the “Add Selection to 1 relation”. After you are happy about the changes, you can upload the changes to OpenGeofiction. You will find the names of the territories start to display on OpenGeofiction’s world map.

I hope this little tutorial for JOSM will help you mappers out there, and I would like to encourage you all to try this new method out and see it for yourself. Have fun!

Location: 38.788, 122.651

Comment from Luciano on 18 January 2015 at 02:58

Actually, I am glad they made this change. Nevertheless, it does make for a slightly steeper learning curve to get everything to show the way that you want, and for me, personally, it means that I wasted quite a bit of time placing nodes for all my different levels of political divisions, since I had also been creating corresponding relations from the beginning.

Over all it is a good change and logical, but now I will have to go and fix a lot of relation name and ref tags, too, since I was putting information in them that I do not always want showing up on the map (e.g. my country name is currently now showing as “(m AR025) Federación Ardesférica” - I was doing this to make it easier to find land area information from the periodic OGF:Area table. Now I will have to solve this problem in a different way, since both name and ref tags on relations can be “displayable” at various times.

I wonder if Thilo would be open enabling some kind of special OGF:landarea tag we could use. I currently have over 600 2nd, 3rd and 4th level political division relations (i.e. admin_level=4, 6, etc.), and finding them all simply by “display name” in the OGF:Area table is tedious. With the method I have been using up until now, I could sort the name column and have all my territories cluster together, and I could simply cut and paste into a spreadsheet. Another possiblity is to optionally attach OGF:owner tags to each relation, or extend application of the OGF:id to include admin_levels greater than 2 (e.g. some scheme like OGF:id=AR025.DL.BO to represent Comuna Bangoó in Departamento Libertad in the Ardisphere).

It is not clear to me what “best practices” are in OSM - my perception is that there are a lot of nation-specific special tags (e.g. the “tiger:” tags in the US) that people use for this kind of data management (e.g. which enable queries against the database). I am open to suggestions - I am not that experienced and learning as I go.

Comment from BMSOUZA on 18 January 2015 at 06:24

It is a little ironic because when I start creating Cariocas, I did like you say: I was naming all the areas, I did not use nodes. So, when I started the countries in Gran Luslandia, I started to use only nodes. And, coincidence, I was thinking in “the big work” about using areas again, naming the diverses urban areas in Campo Verde. Now, I see I am forced to do this again hehehe

Comment from histor on 18 January 2015 at 10:21

Lettering of areas (countrys, states, counties) is generally poor in OSM - and so in OGF. So I see it, lettering goes more after place for the lettering, as for importance (admin_level).

So now (today) the situation is more worse as before. Too after the software-changing the names of areas in admin_level=6 (county) will not appear in the standard-style. And in the greater zoom-levels names of provinces now are disappeard (question of place?), who was there formerly. O.k. - a lot of inutile work, if you had structured your country.

As I look, in the “histor-style” all the names are there now as formerly.

For the OGF:area table to all my areas I set a ref-tag in the area-relation down to admin_level = 8, so I can sort “my” areas in an easy way (like Luciano).

Comment from thilo on 18 January 2015 at 11:56

The new behavior is caused by a change in the standard OSM style:

Only the style has changed, not the software, so the “histor” and “Topomap” styles should be completely unaffected. The downside is that for the foreseeable future, both methods are needed to display area names in all the styles. I wasn’t even aware of this change when I applied the new style, nevertheless you can generally expect that OGF will always follow the OSM standard style.

The suggestion to have a special tag is a good one. The tag name will be “ogf:area” and I’ll include it in the next OGF:Area_table. If present. it will override the value in the “ref” column.

Comment from Luciano on 18 January 2015 at 12:25

Wow Thilo - that’s great to know you will adopt that. I will put my special area drill-down info (e.g. FA.DF.VC.15.xx, etc) in that field. Thank You!

Comment from joschi81 on 18 January 2015 at 19:49

I’m glad they don’t use the relations now to render province/state names. However, I wonder why in my contry of Kalm some of the province names are not showing up. I checked some relations and couldn’t find any errors…

Comment from joschi81 on 18 January 2015 at 19:50

wrong link in the comment above, see this one: Kalm

Comment from thilo on 18 January 2015 at 22:32

Some of the relations might be broken, like e.g. this one:

The name is only displayed if the multipolygons are properly closed:

Comment from histor on 19 January 2015 at 00:59

From Thilos link = * Country and state labels are now rendered from the admin borders in the polygons table rather than from the place nodes in the points table. * The maximum zoom level requirement for country/state labels is replaced by a maximum area size requirement. * A minimum area size requirement for country/state labels is added. ————————-

Yeah - that’s cartography! Importance must be the first criterium, but not the place. But o.k. - it is as it is. At this occasion everybody can repair the relations of his areas - and then as positive side-effect in Thilos list of the OGF:Areas then the km² later are shown correct ;-)

But there is too an other effect: Proof too your tags in the relation for letter-mistakes. Formerly “Sierra Levante” with rype = boundary was taken as o.k. and the label shown, no not more. After correction to type = boundary the label appears. So the new software seems to be more bureocratic. ;-)

Comment from histor on 20 January 2015 at 10:37

And if you think, the tags of your relation are o.k. and the boundary is a closed area - and the name did not appear = then proof all pieces of the boundary, May be an “outer” is missing or a part of the boundary has mistakly twice a junction to the relation (which in the formerly version was no problem of renderiung - but now it is.)

Comment from NE2 on 21 January 2015 at 06:44

Here’s my question.

Why does this appear correctly (admin_level=2 place=country):

and so does this (admin_level=4 place=county):

but not this (admin_level=3 place=state):

All are properly closed.

Comment from bhj867 on 21 January 2015 at 07:31

I have no idea what to do. I haven’t mapped in about a month, came back today and my country is screwed up. I give up.

Comment from Luciano on 21 January 2015 at 10:13


I’m having trouble with (admin_level=3) in Mahhal, too, where I’m using (place=country) for each of the 7 constituent kingdoms.

I think that’s because (admin_level=3) “non-standard” - the “official hierarchy” seems to be for even-numbers only, IIRC (see

  • place=country,admin_level=2;
  • place=state,admin_level=4;
  • place=county,admin_level=6,
  • place=village/town/city, admin_level=8.

I’m not sure what solution to use. I’m mostly just trying to get things right moving forward, and will “clean up” my mess of old relations and nodes gradually. And stick to histor’s style when looking at my work, because it still is using the nodes.

Comment from histor on 21 January 2015 at 10:31

@ NE2 = In relation 404 and 7800 you had in the middle an eye. May be this eye is the mistake? I would delete the frontiere arond the eye and then see, if its work (or not).

Should be this “eye” is an independent country? If not, it must not be junctioned with relations 404 or 7800, but be an new relation (admin_level = 4 or 6). If this eye is an independent country, you have an OGF-problem, I think. Then you must work with the polygone-tag,

Comment from NE2 on 21 January 2015 at 12:09

That “eye” is a node tagged with role admin_centre.

Comment from NE2 on 21 January 2015 at 12:11

PS: New Woolly is not included in relation 7808 (West Woolonia) because it’s an independent city like Washington, D.C. or Mexico, D.F. The relation is properly closed around the northwest side of the city.

Comment from isleño on 21 January 2015 at 16:28

I like these latest updates, except what happened to tourism:attraction. Formerly it was a great way to make sure that all kinds of exciting locations would be visible from far away, helping to draw the viewer in to a city’s most interesting features. Now, not so much. :-(

Comment from histor on 21 January 2015 at 23:18

And as I see - wetland now appears earlyer. Very good

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