[Tagging] [OSM-talk] collection/street relation: which one to use?

Tobias Knerr osm at tobias-knerr.de
Thu Aug 19 18:56:09 BST 2010

On 19.08.2010 18:28, Tom Chance wrote:
> On 19 August 2010 16:54, Tobias Knerr <osm at tobias-knerr.de
> <mailto:osm at tobias-knerr.de>> wrote:
>     Basic address editing, however, requires more knowledge if implemented
>     using relations - which is bad, because editing addresses is one of the
>     most basic tasks and would otherwise be well suited for new mappers.
> The solution is in making the editor UIs more usable, not refusing to
> use the elegance offered by relations.
> A more usable editor for addressing might, for example, offer a
> drop-down list of ways to associate a new object with rather than making
> them manually type in addr:street=whatever. The software could then
> automatically check for a relation and create one if it doesn't exist.

A specialized editing tool that is hand-written for a single task will,
in theory, always offer the best UI for that task. And, of course, the
underlying representation doesn't matter anymore if you use such a tool:
Neither relations nor plain tags have an advantage if you hide them
behind software abstractions.

Unfortunately, writing specialized editing tools for each task scales
badly with the number of features that can be mapped. This means that we
have to deal with the fact that these tools will likely not be available
for most relation types in most editors* for quite a while.

Therefore, I still prefer things to remain as easily editable as
possible with general purpose editing tools, instead of relying on
specialized tools that may or may not be widely available in the future.

Tobias Knerr

* By the way, changing the user interface of your editor wouldn't even
be enough. Not only are there other editors, there are also additional
tools such as history viewers - their output is likely confusing if the
editor pretends that I'm editing an object when I'm in fact editing a
completely different object (such as an associatedStreet relation).
Maintaining an user-friendly illusion across different programs is hard.

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