[Tagging] What's a power=station?

Matthias Julius lists at julius-net.net
Tue Jan 19 21:11:28 GMT 2010

Steve Bennett <stevagewp at gmail.com> writes:

> 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.

I would not put too much meaning into tag values.  There will always
be potential for misunderstanding.  We are from too many backgrounds.
It is more important that those tags are clearly defined.  And since
the editors support presets the actual tag values are becoming less

Sometimes I am thinking that those values should just be numbers like
object=16524 for a power plant.  Then, all the semantics would be
defined in the wiki and every local team can define their own
specialities.  There would be no more disputes over tag values.


> 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.

Please, don't change the meaning of existing tags unless it is really,
really necessary.  Introduce new tags if you must.  At least this will
make it possible to change both new and old in parallel.  Then, after
a (long) while you can deprecate the old ones.

> 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
> tags?

Don't put too much meaning in tags and values and provide a very good
definition for them.  Otherwise this debate never ends.  Words mean
different things to different people - especially when people are so
diverse as the OSM community.


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