[Tagging] What's a power=station?

Alan Mintz Alan_Mintz+OSM at Earthlink.Net
Tue Jan 19 13:02:50 GMT 2010

I think it would be useful to see just how big the confusion is, how many 
mappers are involved, etc. I hope to be able to give a reasonable summary 
of those tomorrow. A cursory inspection of power=station in southern 
California shows it having been applied numerous times to both power plants 
and substations imported from gnis.

At 2010-01-19 04:27, Steve Bennett wrote:
>On Tue, Jan 19, 2010 at 5:51 PM, Ulf Lamping <ulf.lamping at googlemail.com> 
> > I'm not saying this is a good thing, but:
> >
> > a) It doesn't really matter for most mappers.
> >
> > b) It doesn't really matter for almost anyone else ;-)
>Why not? We have a situation where two tags are being used pretty
>indisciminately because people haven't understood their flawed
>definitions. Sure, it's only two tags, but their uses are in the
> >
> > c) The definitions of these tags were done in ~december 2007 probably by
> > germans and the native english speakers didn't even care to correct
> > these definitions till now. Since december 2007 it doesn't seemed to
> > matter for most people how the actual wording is.
>Because no one noticed. Because it's hard to notice. That's exactly
>the kind of thing I'm trying to fix: raising the visibility of tags
>and their usage, so we can spot these problems earlier. And we haven't
>even got to power=cable, which you objected to me making visible on
>the map features page...
> > d) I don't think it's a good idea to change a tag description two years
> > after it was documented, because the wording is "slightly" wrong for
> > some parts of the english speaking world.
>The wording is *completely* wrong for the *entire* english speaking world.
>Definition of power=generator: "power station"
>Definition of power=station: "substation"
>Definition of power=sub_station: "transformer"
>I don't think you can get much wronger than that. And it doesn't
>appear to be a US english vs other english problem. Although "power
>station" (to mean power=generator) is more common outside the US, I
>don't think they use the term there to mean "power=sub_station" (as
>implied). Someone can correct me if I'm wrong.
> > Because doing so is an
> > annoyance for anyone involved and the wording will *always* be slightly
> > wrong for someone.
>I understand what you're saying, and you're right in many instances.
>But there's a big difference between this siutuation, and say,
>"service=alley" (we say "laneway" here, but we can live with "alley"),
>or "rcn" (we don't have a regional cycling network, but we can
>understand what it means and use it appropriately). This situation is
>wrong for everyone (possible exception of Germans - but even then, a
>German term would be vastly preferable to an exactly incorrect English
>term), and not "slightly" wrong at all. It's so bad that when you see
>"power=sub_station" you actually have no idea what the tagger meant.
>Did they mean a "substation" or a "sub_station"? Did the mapper who
>used "power=station" mean a "power station" or a "power=generator"?
> > Not to mention that a lot of people won't
> > notice/ignore any changes here, as these definitions are "old enough" in
> > OSM terms.
>Which people are you talking about? Newcomers? Old timers?
> > My approach: Stick to the wiki definitions even if you don't
> > like it and go on mapping :-)
>That response isn't even logical. It's as though I complained to the
>council that people keep ignoring the parking signs, and your answer
>is "My approach: Keep obeying the parking signs." By all means, don't
>help find a solution (there are plenty of bigger fish to fry, after
>all), but advising other people to ignore the problem is...unhelpful.
> > e) Unless someone develops a nice "open power distribution map", this
> > discussion is pretty much pointless and will continue or "flare up
> > again" endlessly, regardless of what we'll end up with it now. So if you
> > are really interested in fixing this "power wording problem", go and
> > develop such a map. This will motivate the mappers much more to "do it
> > right" than to conform to whatever rules set/changed in the wiki.
>Renderers already render power=* tags. True, they probably don't
>distinguish much between the different kinds yet, but it's very
>Anyway, let's talk solutions. The obvious problem is that although the
>status quo is bad, changing is difficult. If we spontaneously redefine
>"power=station", we will a) change the meaning of existing tags, and
>b) cause confusion amongst people who know the current tags. But at
>least we eventually end up at a situation which makes sense and won't
>cause so much mistagging.
> >This will motivate the mappers much more to "do it
> > right" than to conform to whatever rules set/changed in the wiki.
>So, you essentially say it's easier to keep drilling these bad
>definitions into people's heads, now and forever, than to fix them.
>Are you saying also that we should never change the definitions of any
>Tagging mailing list
>Tagging at openstreetmap.org

Alan Mintz <Alan_Mintz+OSM at Earthlink.net>

More information about the Tagging mailing list