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Discuss India here

The major addressing problem in India

As some of you may have noticed (hopefully), India does not have a street + housenumber addressing system unlike most western countries (Most of europe, Russia, USA etc.). Instead, rural areas generally have housenames and more urban areas have different types of addressing. For example, one type of addressing system (which I have seen in cities such as mumbai and pune) is using "housing societies", plots of lands containing multiple buildings. Buildings within this society has given house numbers (and sometimes building names). This can be mapped in OSM but currently there is no consensus on how it should be done.

A building within a society can be mapped as addr:place=SOCIETYNAME & addr:housenumber=3 However there is no specific tags for such societies. The closest I could find is place=neighbourhood. This creates problems because this a unconventional addressing system that is not supported by most OSM search engines. In real life, a full address is written, e.g. Foobar Building, Survey number 12/2, Foobar Society, Some "nagar" (addr:suburb), some city. This can clearly be represented using "ADDR:FULL" but again there is absolutely no consensus on this so it is not used anywhere.

To add to the confusion, sometimes "Survey Numbers" are introduced. So the "plot number" is the number given to the building within a housing society (plot number + society name) and "survey number" too? Which one should go in the addr:housenumber tag? (As a side note, what are survey numbers? I couldn't find anything on the internet except the "survey of india" which explained nothing.)

Why does it create a problem?

Because all the current OSM geocoders simply do not work with addr:place. If for example, a place is tagged addr:housenumber=3 & addr:place=foobar_place, nominatim shows "3,nagar,city". But if a place is tagged addr:housenumber=3 & addr:street=foobar_street, nominatim shows, "3 foobar street, nagar, city". So you can't search using addr:place, it doesn't work with nominatim and other osm geocoders. Google maps gets around this by only showing the full address, and its geocoder is so powerful that when you do a search it can pick out the fact you are searching for that specific building. However, osm geocoders are nowhere near as powerful, and require a exact match. So if you search "Something Co-operative Housing Society" and the name in osm is "Something CHS", nominatim won't get you the result, while Google Maps would.

Since osm's geocoders are not that powerful, we have to think of a system that is both geocoder friendly, but searchable too.

Here is steps I think the OSM India community needs to take:

1. Figure out all the different addressing systems that are used in India but are not used in Europe/America (I only mentioned a system I found in Mumbai, Pune and Goa. I have no idea how this works in Bangalore for example.) 2. Decide as a community on what tagging schemes fit these Indian addressing systems. This can be done using a vote, like all proposals in osm 3. Propose missing tags (e.g. place=society) 4. Update WikiProject India page on addressing. 5. After doing step 2, the OSM India community can also start raising awareness of lack of support for indian tagging schemes in their github issue pages. (here is nominatim's) 6. I think some steps need to be taken to point people on how to tag addresses in india properly. For example, in the id editor steps are taken to make addressing involving street names easy, but I think steps to make Indian addressing possible should be made. Again this can be voted on later by the community, and then can be proposed on the iD editor's github page.

Of course, all of this will take work and support for the community, but I think if it is pulled of it could be well worth it, delivering decent open-data maps to indian users with a internet connection - a huge benefit.

--ADepic (talk) 19:36, 19 September 2018 (UTC)

P.S If any one of you have additional necessary/useful steps, feel free to edit the list yourself. P.S.S If anything seems unclear to you (i'm not the greatest explainer), just ask and i'll try to clarify and fix the error in my proposal

At least in Delhi (but it seems it's quite common in the rest of SouthEast Asia and India), after discussion on the OSM India channel (add ref), we have come to Key:addr:place (for the so-called "colony") and / or Key:addr:street + Key:addr:block (optionnal, if relevant) + Key:addr:housenumber. StreetComplete's address quest and overlay enables it, and there is an issue for OsmAnd. Babouche Verte (talk) 01:37, 22 August 2023 (UTC)

JOSM translations

JOSM isn't currently translated in any language spoken in India (except English, of course). We'd love to see this situation improve. 2000 core strings must be translated for a new language to be added. Marathi is the language the most advanced with about 500 strings translated. Bengali and other languages have no translation at all. We'd love to see the Indian community complete these translations so we could add new languages to JOSM. See JOSM wiki for details and Launchpad to translate more strings. --Don-vip (talk) 02:06, 12 May 2018 (UTC)

How to tag small general store?

Those small stores, selling everything ranging from food such as fruits and vegetables to crisps to kitchenware etc (those were the things that came off the top of my head.)

Are they shop=general or shop=convenience? --ADepic (talk) 14:48, 30 July 2018 (UTC)

Finished/Arbitrary/Rewritten/unnecessary tasks

Bangalore tracklogs

Whoever is mapping bangalore, please try to increasing the logging frequency, If you are riding a bike or driving a car, 1 sec between points is really good. -- - 20:24, 1 October 2006

Agreeing on tagging standards for India

here has been quite a bit of mapping progress in various indian cities by a small bunch of dedicated mappers and its about time we all came together and set common mapping guidelines for future development -- PlaneMad|YakYak 08:07, 13 October 2008 (UTC)




Suggest and discuss features that is unique to india

en:name is incorrect

Using "en:name" for the English name of an entity as described in the Naming section is incorrect. It should be "name:en" instead. See --Sunil Mohan 19:13, 4 March 2009 (UTC)

Use English for the "name" tag

I've edited the Naming section to indicate that the "name" tag should be in English, with "name:lang" for local languages. The section previously suggested the reverse, which is bad practice for the following reasons:

1. displays only the "name" tag. If all of India is tagged in the local script, most Indians will be unable to read the map. This does not help anyone.

2. English is the most widely accepted language in India, while Hindi has the most speakers, but not all over India. Therefore, English is the best candidate for tagging.

3. From personal experience, most computer users are not comfortable with keyboard entry in the local language script, even if they prefer speaking the local language. A quick overview of OSM's India coverage suggests this applies to OSM editors too, as nearly everything is tagged with the Roman alphabet. We might as well recognise this fact.

4. Mapnik has traditionally had difficulty with rendering Indic scripts. This ruins the map. While this is an area requiring and receiving some attention, it's not ready to go on the live OSM site. (Someone please correct this if things have improved.)

Finally, local language data is important, so by all means please add "name:lang" tags where you can. We should however reserve that data for special bi/multi-lingual renderings.

-- Kiran Jonnalagadda 20:46, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

Im using the local language of the state and mentioning the english name in brackets. Hope that is fine till we have language tiles. Also setting name:lang anyway. -- thevikas 02:25, 7 December 2009 (UTC)
Okay thanks for that. I thought mapping in the language that I saw written when surveying was best, but now I will tag in English. --ADepic (talk) 14:51, 30 July 2018 (UTC)
I am using English in "name" tags for urban places, along with local script in "name:lang" and also the English name repeated under "name:en".
But for rural places (where English is not prevelant), I am writing the "name" tag in local script with English in brackets, e.g. "रामपूर (Rampur)", while at the same time keeping the English name in "name:en" and local script name in "name:lang". Reason being, in rural areas not everyone may understand English and a map which does not display a language that the locals understand will be useless for them. Conversely, keeping the English name in brackets will make the name readable in maps which do not yet render Indic scripts. Hope this is fine. -- Indojin (talk) 05:18, 1 February 2021 (UTC)

Misaligned Landsat and Yahoo tiles

Has anyone else noticed these? Particularly in southwest Karnataka and northern Kerala. Some tiles are a few hundred metres off to the south. Indigomc 09:33, 8 March 2010 (UTC)


Karnataka, Srirangapattna. SH17 bridge over Kaveri. Google sat reports the centre of the bridge at 12.424342,76.693838. Yahoo sat, out by about 50-100m on the north bank. Actual location of the road is confirmed by gpx tracks.

Railway bridge over Kaveri near this location. Google sat centre of the bridge at 12.422194,76.675041. Yahoo sat; out by about 100m.

Karnataka, Kaveri river by Kushalnagar. Centre of bridge on SH88. Google maps show this spot as 12.448291,75.970303 Yahoo sat; the above spot is shown as a location about 175-200 metres to the northwest. Landsat; the river may be shown closer to the actual spot. Around 50m to the northwest, though I'm not certain of this. Lots of gpx tracks here to confirm this, the location of the bridge can be seen, it is clearly to the northwest of the location seen on the Yahoo sat.

Kerala, Iritty. South bank of the river under the bridge for the road leading north from Iritty. Google maps 11.99137,75.679833 Landsat and Yahoo; this spot is shown as being about 300 metres away, on the north bank of the river. No gps tracks here.

Note that google sat pics also show what seem to be misaligned tiles to the east of Iritty.

Indigomc 10:22, 8 March 2010 (UTC)

Karnataka, river crossing just east of Bantwal Cross Road. Centre of bridge on NH48 across the Netravati. Google maps report that coords are 12.880009,75.041488, seems to be confirmed by gps tracks. This location on Landsat is shown on the east side of the river; offset by 50-100m in an eastward direction. The river seems to be correctly drawn on OSM.

Kerala, river to the south of Cherkala, e.g. the bridge at 12.493819,75.05657 (Google and OSM). This is off by at least 250m on Landsat. Indigomc 16:32, 8 March 2010 (UTC)

Adding shop icons

(This section moved from the project page, pending a new location; Indigomc 21:02, 11 May 2011 (BST))

To add new icons for shops. First open inkscape, make the page size 16px x 16px and draw your icon. Save it as png with a reasonable name. Then open it in Gimp, select the blank areas with shift clicking the magic wand. Click on edit-clear and save as png. This will make the background transparent. then put the png file in the symbols/ directory of osmindia and do

  1. hg add symbols/yournewfile.png

You need to modify the osm-template.xml file in three places in order for your new shop and text to appear. Here are excerpts from that file: 1.

     <Filter>[shop]= 'computer'
               or [shop]='bakery'
               or [shop]='electronics'
               or [shop]='convenience'
               or [shop]='tea'
               or [shop]='alcohol'
               or [shop]='electricals'
               or [shop]='furniture'
               or [shop]='department_store'
               or [shop]='confectioner'
     <TextSymbolizer name="name" face_name="unifont Medium" size="8" fill="#0092da" dy="10" halo_radius="1" wrap_width="5"/>

in this you add 'or [shop]='whatever'


<Style name="computer">
     <PointSymbolizer file= "%SYMBOLS_DIR%/computer.png" type="png" width="16" height="16" allow_overlap="yes"/>

substitute the appropriate names


<Layer name="shops" status="on" srs="+proj=merc +a=6378137 +b=6378137 +lat_ts=0.0 +lon_0=0.0 +x_0=0.0 +y_0=0 +k=1.0 +units=m +nadgrids=@nul+no_defs    +over">

add the new StyleName here

hg commit and hg push will send it to the repository, then wait for it to render.

requesting help for the tagging of Ghats

I recently posted a question to and I thought that people here might take an interest: how to tag Ghats? Please give your input if you have some. Thanks!

Removing "WikiProject" prefix

Hi, I am Daniel, from Spain. I would like to change the name of the wiki pages related to the India mapping project to remove the "Wikiproject" prefix following the pages name conventions.

The name of the pages related to the India mapping project would be "India" (name of place) instead of "Wikiproject India", as recommended by the wiki conventions. It is a change that I have already made in United States, Canada, Spain, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Denmark, Norway, United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, and all Spanish-speaking countries on this Wiki (and more).

Do you like the idea? I will post this message also on your local mailing list. Thank you! --Dcapillae (talk) 13:34, 22 August 2019 (UTC)

Hello Dcapillae, following pages have to be changed

-- Naveenpf (talk) 17:34, 22 August 2019 (UTC)

I support the renaming in favour of being consistent with the conventions followed in the wiki --Planemad/Talk 10:38, 23 August 2019 (UTC)
Hi, the prefix "WikiProject" has already been removed from the pages of the India mapping project. Thank you for your collaboration. --Dcapillae (talk) 08:50, 24 August 2019 (UTC)

Mapping of forests / woods / scrub

I. data sources

1) sat images

2) state forest report:

Important for us are the following classifications:

a) very dense forest (VDF) >70% with trees

b) moderately dense forest (MDF) 40-70% with trees

c) Open forest (OF) 10-40% with trees

d) scrub <10% with trees

And there is a distinction of :

a) forest cover = all areas with trees

b) recorded forest areas= reserved forests(RF) and protected forests(PF) declared by government

These forests may include blank areas with no trees!

RFs and PFs are displayed in the SOI maps. It seems their boundaries are disputable: no boundary signs on the ground. In the North-East (AR to MZ) there are no PFs and RFs.

3) Survey of India map (SOI)

as a layer in JOSM: tms:{z}/{x}/{y}.webp

II. OSM mapping of woods/forests/scrub Thers is a big dispute worldwide how to use natural=wood and landuse=forest. See here : And there is a new approved proposal:

My conclusion : the meaning of wood/forests is now completely unclear. The local community has to decide how to use these tags. The wiki of India says: „Tag wooded areas with natural=wood, natural=scrub or the appropriate natural=* tag. If you are sure that the area belongs to a reserved/protected forest or community/village forest, then include an additional landuse=forest tag.“

It seems to me that the Indian wiki prefers a combination of both tags. This will not be a success, when thinking of Newbie mappers.

After reading the recent discussion in the Telegram group I propose the following mapping in India: a) we do not use the proposed boundary=forest mapping b) we map all areas full of trees with landuse=forest; these areas can be seen as PF and RF in the SOI maps

exceptions: North-East(AR to MZ) maybe there we can use natural=wood; but areas with natural=wood and landuse=forest may not overlap.

c) natural=scrub means „forests“ with less than 10 to 20% coverage with trees (and maybe additional bushes)

III. Actual mapping of woods/forests in km²

Rajasthan woods= 5664 forest=3745

Kerala wood = 5110 forest=160

Karnataka wood = 10634 forest=1709

West Bengal wood=3714 forest=3654

This means, a lot of remapping is necessary. The original distinction wood= unmanaged areas; forest=managed areas does not make sense in India. So we have to decide which tag to be the standard natural=wood or landuse=forest. If we check only what map render software do, then the difference between forest/wood and scrub is important. Woods and forest are rendered with the same colour.

Heinz / 5.3.2023

New South/Southeast Asia Specific Tags

I think it's about time we should take a break from following European/American specifications and tagging schemas and create our own. Why, you may ask? Here's some of my own reasons:

Preservation of Culture:

  • Even OSM/OSMF cites it themselves. We NEED to push forward taggigng schemas from our ends, which are obviously different from the default British/European ones by definitions and use cases and are quite hyperlocal to our regions, which in turn can also help us preserve cultures to a point.

Relevance (to End-Users in our Regions)

  • Let's be honest, most people within our regions are not used to technology. The Open-Source Community is often made fun for having things "too complicated" and with the limitations of OSM Carto, it can really hinder the adaptation of OSM by end-users in our regions.

Improving Accuracy in Map Data

  • Although this one's probably more technical and also involves things like conducting Cadastral Surveys, updating features based on latest aerial imagery et cetera, but having such region-specific tags can also help new mappers, as well as existing mappers like us to check on features and make the map more complete.

What are other's thoughts on this? Any and every suggestion (including tag proposals, of course) would be highly appreciated.

--NLBRT (talk)

Without seeing any specific examples, I'm afraid I don't see the point. I can't think of anything I haven't been able to map with existing tags. Extending the schema requires numerous renderers and routers to accommodate it, and cannot be done lightly if you want them to continue working.
What I do see the need for is localization in the major OSM clients and editors. From personal experience, OsmAnd, Organic Maps, Vespucci, and StreetComplete are missing complete and idiomatic translations for Indian languages, as well localized presets (e.g. we're not likely to search for "fuel", but rather for "petrol pump" or similar). The Name Suggestion Index (used by iD and Vespucci) is a good step in this direction, and needs more local contributions.
It's likely that your requirements can be met with localized presets and clients/editors rather than new tags, but I can't say for sure unless I see specific examples.
--Contrapunctus (talk) 03:19, 22 August 2023 (UTC)

Welcome link in box Template:Place

@Arjunaraoc: Parameter welcome= was added to Template:Place so you can add the link to the welcome page to page India by putting following row into

|welcome=[[India/Welcome message|Welcome workflow Info]]

regards, --Chris2map (talk) 18:36, 26 November 2023 (UTC)

@Chris2map, Thanks for your help. I have added the link to India. --Arjunaraoc (talk) 04:04, 27 November 2023 (UTC)