I live in Austin, Texas. If I'm in Google Maps and I type in "2504 E Cesar Chavez", it takes me to an address in Austin and the panel on the left says "2504 E Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX 78702". But if I type the same thing into openstreetmap.org, there are 3 different results, none of which are in Austin (one is in New Mexico, one in South Texas, and one in Ecuador).

What's going on here? I have two big questions:

  1. How does OpenStreetMap figure out what the "real" address is, as compared to Google Maps?
  2. Is there documentation about how to correctly specify street addresses for OpenStreetMap? Or, does anyone here have tips on how to do it?

(A bit of background: I'm working on a project that will involve putting a few thousand photos on a ViewShare map in Omeka, and am hoping to find a way to standardize location metadata en masse that will play nice with ViewShare, which uses OpenStreetMap.)

1 Answer 1

  1. Google maps definitely takes into account your estimated location, therefore it will try to give you meaningful answer dedicated for you (general Google policy - personalization of results). I am not sure if Nominatim (the geolocation service behind OSM) takes this into account
  2. If you search for 2504 East Cesar Chavez Street (the full name, as presented on OSM map and therefore stored in OSM database) it will give you what you are looking for.
  3. Basically with OSM (or rather Nominatim), you need to be prepared for making your own data cleansing. A few tips on the process:

  4. In your particular case you have not provided the 'Street' or at least 'St', compare the following queries and their results with the one given above:

  • Good answer. As for whether Nominatim personalises the results, you should be able to establish this by viewing the the JSON, as suggested in 3 and 4 above Mar 15, 2017 at 9:55
  • Thanks, this is helpful. It sounds like I might need to start by getting the OSM street names in the neighborhood and using that data to standardize/clean the data I currently have.
    – Chandrew
    Mar 15, 2017 at 21:00

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