[HOT] [HOT Training] Mapping settlements best practices

Ralph Aytoun ralph.a.aytoun at gmail.com
Sat Apr 29 07:35:11 UTC 2017

I have also had some reservations regarding the use of *landuse=residentia*l
to indicate the presence of settlements and communities.  In the case of
formal towns this is still a useful tool but when it comes to loose rural
communities in areas like Africa this leads to areas the size of large
towns with a few scattered groups of houses.... this encompasses far more*
landuse=farmland* than it does residential land.

Because of the difficulty for new and inexperienced mappers trying to
decide what is a farmyard and what is not a farmyard the tendency has been
to ignore this tag in favour of* landuse=residential* ... A tendency to
which I agree is the better of two evils.

If we look at the short description of landuse=residential "*Predominantly
houses or apartment buildings*" (Map Features
<http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Map_Features#Landuse>) it starts to
make sense to just encompass the individual small parcels of land that the
buildings occupy rather than trying to indicate a large swathe of land that
we "presume" to be belonging to a single community group.The longer
description "*An area of land dedicated to, or having predominantly
residential buildings such as houses or apartment buildings*" and "*The
extent of the area should mark the boundary of known residential use, not
the extent of the whole town
<http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Tag:place%3Dtown> or village
<http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Tag:place%3Dvillage>*."  (Wiki

The practice of trying to indicate a town, village or community using the
*landuse=rural* area has led to the erroneous addition of *name=** being
tagged to it 290 250 times (source: Tag Info) rather than on a node inside
the landuse=residential area.

There is another tag that combines with* landuse=residential* which is
*residential=rural* (Wiki
<http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Tag:residential%3Drural>) which has
been used 174 188 times (Tag Info)
and described as "*used to specify residential areas with low-rise
residential buildings (buildings with tag building=house). It is usual*
*for each house has its own fenced allotment with yard and/or garden".* This
would help to support the practice of mapping the individual
clusters of buildings as opposed to a large swathe of unpopulated land.

This then also helps with the later improvement of the map when*
landuse=farmland* is added and does not overlap or clash with the

On Fri, Apr 28, 2017 at 6:29 PM, john whelan <jwhelan0112 at gmail.com> wrote:

> In Africa where we see small groups of huts clustered with other groups
> typically 100 meters apart some mappers will map each small cluster some
> draw a much larger landuse=residential covering perhaps a dozen small
> groupings.
> When validating I accept either but I suspect the multiple small
> landuse=residential is much more useful than the more sparsely populated
> larger method but it is only a suspicion.
> If it is, is there somewhere where we show the "best practice" method for
> mapping these settlements?
> http://tasks.hotosm.org/project/1396#task/2151 is an example of one.
> Thanks John
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