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Australian City Names

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The Problem With Some Australian City Names

Some Australian suburb (City) names are not unique inside Australia. For example, there is a Newport in New South Wales, Queensland, and in Victoria. Likewise there is a Newtown in three states as well.

How Waze Currently Deals With Australian Cities

Non-unique City names can create problems with Waze placing suburb name labels in the wrong place, as well as potentially offering a route that goes to another state instead of to the right street in a nearby City. The boundary of a City might stretch over two states. As of this time (10 March 2013), Waze seems to treat each country as a separate State in the Waze World Server, as compared with the USA Waze Server the State is the actual state name in the USA. The effect of this is that there is no separate field for the state in which a City resides so as to differentiate it from the same City in another state in Australia.

If you are editing the map in WME, and have the City layer turned on, you might see a city polygon extending somewhere off the edge of the map instead of being a nice contained region. This can be due to mislabelling of Streets or Landmarks, or it can be due to a non-unique City across Australian states.

Naming Australian Cities

Each City field for streets and landmarks must be named in the following way:

"<City>", where <City> is the name of the city or suburb, and should be in lower case, except for the first letter of each word which should be in upper case. Do not put the suburb name in quotes, just the characters that will be used in the suburb label. The official designation of a suburb should be used, but if a suburb or part of a suburb is known by a different local name, this can be placed as an Alternative Name for that street/place. Note that "St " at the start of a suburb name is part of the legal name. It should not be expanded to "Saint".
Newport Beach

Each non-unique City must be named in the following way:

"<City>, <State>", where <City> is the name of the city or suburb, and <State> is the two or three letter shortened form of the state's name with conventional capitalisation: one of {ACT, NSW, NT, Qld, SA, Tas, Vic, WA}. The name of the city or suburb should be in lower case, except for the first letter of each word which should be in upper case. Again, do not put the suburb name in quotes, just type the characters that will be used in the suburb label.
Appending a comma, a space, then the state to the end of the City name sometimes makes the suburb unique within Australia and removes some of the problems outlined above. (Note that this will become unworkable if Waze provides a State field, as we've been led to expect.)
Newport, NSW
Newport, Qld
Newport, Vic
There are over about three hundred names where this is not enough - for example, NSW has two localities named Lilli Pilli and two localities named Broadwater (one near Ballina, one near Merimbula). It even has six localities named Back Creek, each with its own postcode. For these cases, alternate strategies are needed (such as adding the state to one but not the other, or appending a postcode). Refer to the resources below or the forum for further information.

If you want to know whether a suburb name is unique within Australia, you can use the following online resources:

A City must have all Streets and Places labelled consistently, for example either Lilli Pilli or Lilli Pilli, NSW but not a mixture of both for the same City.

The Waze Australia Support Forum is the place to discuss the issue of whether suburbs should have the state always appended, or just for non-unique suburbs. Waze may eventually provide a State field to overcome this problem.

"The highlighted road is too far from the city it was added to." message when saving in WME

The current version of WME prevents the naming of a Street or Place that is considered 'too far' away from an established City (it's not clear how far 'too far' is). This is a good thing, as it prevents trans-state suburbs and thus prevents 'Smudged Cities'. The problem with this is that WME might not allow you to name widely separated parts of a new suburb. The solution to this is to name and save major roads or highways first, and then name and save the roads that join to these streets so that the suburb is extended gradually instead of trying to label the edges of a suburb first.

A good indication that you may be 'too far' away from the existing suburb is that the suburb name doesn't automatically appear in WME when naming a street as a pop-up option when you type the first couple of letters of the name of the suburb in the City field.

"Smudged" Australian Cities

Occasionally you might see a label of an Australian city in an inappropriate place, far from the place where it is meant to be. This can occur both in the Client (Android, iOS) and in the browser while editing.

These incorrect labels may be the result of an incorrect filled-in City field that has extended that City well beyond of where it should be (a "Smudged" city), or it might be a Zombie City. Zombie cities are shown on the map, but you can't locate a Street or a Landmark that has this City and sufficient time has elapsed for the old City name to have been flushed in a tile update. Make sure that you check Railroad street segments as well, as they don't seem to be picked out in WME Color Highlights as belonging to a particular City.

The main Wiki has a page specifically written to identify city names in inappropriate places - Smudged city.

Occasionally, even if you have fixed up all the City fields, there may remain a city label that remains for no good reason. If you do find such a label, then consult Australian City Merge / Name Change in the Waze forum for instructions on how to request the unneeded label to be removed (or merged into the correct label).