Targeted Editing – Does Your Hospital Have a Polygon?

For hospitals, polygons are twice as nice!

Welcome to our Targeted Editing series where today you can eat a peppermint, or make OpenStreetMap data excellent! (Both take about the same amount of time.)

Read on for some basic uses for hospital polygons, and where you can check to see if you can use your local knowlege to add some polygons where they are needed.

How can hospital polygons be used?

  1. Help with map rendering. No, this doesn’t mean cook the fat out of it, this means help with how things are cartographically displayed on the map. A map label for a point is great to have, but a polygon for display is even better.

  2. Help with display order. In many cases, the size of a hospital indicates significance. When hospitals have polygons, the size of the hospital can be used to determine how much you should zoom in to the map before it appears. Bigger hospitals can be shown sooner than smaller hospitals.

  3. Help with search rank. When searching, a search engine can use a number of things to prioritize what features are returned. Some examples might be associated attributes like population, or even the physical size of a feature. Since points have no area, adding a polygon could be an excellent enhancement.

We are missing some hospital polygons here!

Check out this pie chart for hospitals in Los Angeles:

We have some work to do!

How you can help improve hospitals without polygons:

Here is a map styled by Peter Richardson & Nathaniel V. Kelso showing hospitals that don’t have polygons. To add a polygon, hover over one of the bright blue highlighted hospitals to bring up an info bubble with links to editing tools that can be used to add the missing polygons.

(This map is interactive! Open full screen ➹ )

See the wiki pages for amenity=hospital for lots of details and a great example. A polygon tagged amenity=hospital should cover the grounds of the hospital, not just the building footprint.

(If you find a hospital that appears to have a polygon, but it’s still highlighted, you may have found a duplicate or a building that was tagged amenity=hospital instead of the hospital grounds. Improving those is a topic for another post…)

Not familiar with Los Angeles? Search or pan over to your home town to contribute your local knowledge to the map. You will see your changes right away in OpenStreetMap. You will also be able to see them in all versions of the Mapzen Vector Tiles within an hour, including the map right here on this page!

Need instructions on how to edit with iD? Here are some links to outstanding tutorials from LearnOSM, the OpenStreetMap wiki, and the United States Department of State’s Humanitarian Information Unit:

Are you a mapping wiz and interested in a more advanced editor? Try out JOSM with excellent documentation from Mapbox.

Thanks, and please check back soon for the next post in our series!

All the posts in the Targeted Editing series: