[Tagging] Dutch cafes (was: What's a power=station?)

Steve Bennett stevagewp at gmail.com
Thu Jan 21 13:02:41 GMT 2010

On Wed, Jan 20, 2010 at 1:27 AM, Andre Engels <andreengels at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Tue, Jan 19, 2010 at 2:43 PM, Ben Laenen <benlaenen at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Maybe the English speaking world should start joining the rest of the world
>> which have to learn definitions of each tag anyway. So OSM may have awkward
>> tags for English speaking persons, but if we really have to try to resolve all
>> tags that would look strange in some language (e.g. amenity=cafe is not what
>> we call a "café" in Dutch) then the only option would be to use index numbers
>> (amenity=135...) (*).

IMHO, the fact that the tags are in english is a great help at the
start, but a hindrance for english speakers later on. It's probably
much easier for, say, Hungarian speakers to learn arbitrary
definitions for "power=station" than it is for English speakers,
because we have intuitive expectations for what that means. This
conflict comes up in many technology situations: make something
"English-like" (think BASIC...) and it is intuitive and can be learnt
easily, but will cause confusion and hinder progress when those
intuitive guesses are wrong.

> Well, I would say it is part of what we call a "café". The problem is
> more that Dutch uses the same word for what in OSM are three terms:
> bar, cafe and pub. And moreover, the same place often having the
> function of all three. To me, it's not the usage of the word "cafe" in
> OSM that is strange, but the distinction that is made between the
> various drinking establishments.

Whoever thought it was a sensible idea to try and use the same tags to
mean the same thing across the entire world was being excessively
optimistic. IMHO, though, if there is a concept "cafe" that exists in
every country, and we can tag that as "amenity=cafe", then that's good
enough. It doesn't really matter whether a French café is the same as
an Australian one, or whatever.

(Fwiw, my definition of café in Australia, since everyone else is
giving one: satisfies most of: has tables and chairs, serves espresso
coffee, open for lunch but not dinner, has seating on the footpath
outside, you don't wait to be seated, table service but you can't pay
at your table, not BYO, acceptable not to eat anything, at any time of


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