The following observations are from clicking between Chrome tabs.

Managua, Nicaragua: At zoom 12 with Google Maps, I get about 40 place names. At 12 zoom on OSM, I get about 17, and only two of them - Las Colinas and the airport - are the same as Google's. At similar zoom, Bing has 11 names, and only two - the airport and Carretera a Masaya - are the same as Google's. (Yahoo's names are the same as Bing's)

So the maps are giving importance to different places. Does anyone know the logic?

What names should be on the map of a city at zoom 12?


In response to the below, I'm doing maps of cities for an on-paper publication.

I always assumed that place names on maps were the major "places" in a given area, with some kind of hierarchy - like Country, state, city and City, district, suburb.

Google, OSM and Bing come up with very different place names for cities I'm interested in (leaving aside names of highways/streets).

So, I don't know how to represent these cities. Maybe I should just take a reputable atlas and eliminate the names in small fonts. But I'd still wonder how the mapmakers decided what should be small and what should be bigger, or there or not there.

closed as too broad by BradHards, PolyGeo, MappaGnosis, Ian Turton Feb 24 '14 at 8:23

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    It's pretty much arbitrary, so I'm not sure what you are expecting as an answer. – blah238 Feb 23 '14 at 21:57
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    You seem to be asking two questions, and to get an Answer to either, I would advise editing your Question to focus it on one of them, with more details of exactly what you are asking. – PolyGeo Feb 24 '14 at 7:31

The features shown on a map presumably depend on its purpose, and the decisions of the designers, so you should expect differences. For example, a map that shows general features should have few or no labels. One that focuses on street navigation should presumably have many labels (one for each "major" street, noting that different maps may define a "major" street differently).

Further, maps that support zoom may choose different layout depending on "theme", especially common in the various renderings of openstreetmap data.


Each webmapping provider has a different cartographic logic. It depends : Quality of data (location of poi) Quantity of data Cartographic rules(typography zoom color) And technology resources

See the comparison http://blog.soton.ac.uk/comp6051-pioneers/2013/03/14/comparison-of-the-current-web-maps/

  • This comparison is one of the worst ones I've ever seen. – scai Feb 24 '14 at 17:27

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