[OSM-dev] proposal to kill areas

Andy Robinson Andy_J_Robinson at blueyonder.co.uk
Sat Jul 22 17:59:09 BST 2006

I've been really rather taken aback by the variety of argument on this
matter yet nobody has really come back with a straight forward response to a
valid question.

For me the feature that I think of as an area I also think of as volume, in
other words a container. The container has sides (edges in 2D) and is the
receptacle into which I pour all the information both related to the
container and information residing within in. I think of this like a
library. The library itself is a structure which has information about
itself (what time it opens etc). Within it there are shelves containing
books. While the books themselves may not be properly described by the
library (I can read them independently outside the library doors) the
library does know that a particular book exists on its shelves.

A map is no different in this respect. It contains location information
within fixed or loose boundaries (areas).

So my belief is that OSM only needs to find a simple way of defining the
container, and this might be done by tagging the items belonging to it
rather than defining a fixed boundary and then all the data being either in
or out (ie no flexibility). A good mapping example is when a new housing
estate goes up on Greenfield, it's a lot easier to redefine the limits of
the urban conurbation by its elements than to have to redefine the limits of
the boundary as a separate entity.

Being able to group and container data should open up a lot more
possibilities for information stored and used from OSM. It includes time
dependent data as well. Its one of the aspects of OSM that got me interested
in the start. The ability to tag any bit of map data with much more than you
can on a traditional map.

So to answer Steve's question, I personally don't think we need <areas>. And
since we can effectively create containers with the tagging of data
(although that may not necessarily be the most efficient way to do it in a
db sense) then we probably don't need anything in its place either.



Andy Robinson
Andy_J_Robinson at blueyonder.co.uk 

>-----Original Message-----
>From: dev-bounces at openstreetmap.org [mailto:dev-bounces at openstreetmap.org]
>On Behalf Of SteveC
>Sent: 20 July 2006 15:20
>To: dev at openstreetmap.org
>Subject: [OSM-dev] proposal to kill areas
>There are only 4 areas in OSM and osmarender treats certain tagged ways
>as an area. I figure it'd make the server simpler and make client area
>support simpler if 'area=true' on a way made it in to an area.
>Functionally, if they were working, an area is identical to a way
>have fun,
>SteveC steve at asklater.com http://www.asklater.com/steve/
>dev mailing list
>dev at openstreetmap.org

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