[Tagging] What's a power=station?

Stephen Hope slhope at gmail.com
Tue Jan 19 04:54:27 GMT 2010

Taking this question in two parts

2010/1/19 Alan Mintz <Alan_Mintz+OSM at earthlink.net>:
> Are we being
> US-centric here (is the term really globally wrong)?

It's not just the US, but it may be just English speaking countries.
I've lived in a number of english speaking and commonwealth countries,
and in all of them a power station generates power, a sub-station is a
switching/voltage-change area (not a box on a pole).

> 1. Should we actually attempt to correct what appears to be only a
> difference in the actual word (station) used for a value? Are not the user
> agents (Potlatch, JOSM, etc.) supposed to ultimately isolate the user from
> the underlying tags (certainly for non-English-speakers)?

If the tag was just obscure, and there was a better known alternative,
I'd just say tag it as documented, the description can be changed as
required.  But when the tag for one item is the description for
another, this is just asking for trouble.  Sure the data input stage
can be fixed, to a degree, there's not that many editing tools. But
anybody who tries to use the data directly without realising there is
a conversion needing to be done is going to get it wrong.

I wouldn't be so worried about it except for the fact that we use
English tags exactly so that you can make a good guess as to what the
data means without having to go to a lookup table.  When almost all of
the tags are readable, then an incorrect tag like this will just cause
problems.  In fact , it already has - I did a quick survey of it's use
in some areas where I know what's actually there.  Some sub-stations
are marked with power=station (correct according to the wiki) some
with power=substation.

I think sub-station and station are both tainted now, unfortunately.


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