Targeted Editing - Name that Building

Named buildings are easier to find!

Welcome back to our Targeted Editing series where today you can put on a sweater, or make OpenStreetMap data better! (Both take about the same amount of time.)

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

How can building names be used?

  1. Help with search. Addresses are great, but a building name can take you a long way towards finding where you want to go. Apartment complexes usually have names. Office buildings sometimes have names.

  2. Help with routing. Routing and search often work together. If you would like to find a route to a building, but you don’t know the address, the name might help.

  3. Help with labeling. The more you zoom in, the more labels you might see, but not if the features don’t have names.

We are missing some building names here!

There are many different types of buildings, but check out this pie chart for residential & apartment buildings in Hong Kong:

Residential & apartment building names are very common in Hong Kong. Are they common where you live, too?

How you can help improve buildings without names:

Here is a map styled by Peter Richardson & Nathaniel V. Kelso showing many residential & apartment buildings – check out the styling filters we use to highlight residential buildings with and without names. To add a name to a nameless residential building that should have one, hover over those that are bright blue to bring up an info bubble with links to editing tools.

(This map is interactive! Open full screen ➹ )

Not familiar with Hong Kong? 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 and in Mapzen Vector Tiles within an hour, including the map right here on this page!

Note that if residential buildings are only tagged with building=yes, they may not be highlighted on this map even if they have names. If you do want to tag these as building=residential or building=apartment, shift-click on the map to edit in iD. You can learn much more about building tag use at taginfo.

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: