[Tagging] geology taggin?

M∡rtin Koppenhoefer dieterdreist at gmail.com
Thu Nov 18 11:16:28 GMT 2010

2010/11/17 Ulf Lamping <ulf.lamping at googlemail.com>:
> Am 17.11.2010 21:43, schrieb M∡rtin Koppenhoefer:
>>> It is accepting that semantically different things can reside under the
>>> same
>>> key and that this doesn't cause any problems - except for people like you
>>> that seem to think that a systematic approach is a value in itself.
>> it depends what you implicate with "creating problems". If you invent
>> a new value, it is not clear where to put it, because there is no
>> logic.
> Of course there is a logic, it's just a logic that you don't like and
> therefore deny to recognize ;-)

it is a logic that creates problems: IMHO we should classify objects
of the same type into one key, because we cannot well have several
values for the same key. The current organization of natural doesn't
permit to tag a volcano or a beach where natural wood grows (to give
an example). Why should bay and water be in the same key and hierarchy
level? Why is fell natural and not landuse? I would be glad if you
could explain this logics to me, I don't get it.

> Some may think about a specific feature being more of a geographic feature,
> some a physical landcover and some may not even get the distinction between
> the two.

This will get clearer and clearer by the time and not more and more
confusing like it seems now.

> You are implying there's an "obviously correct way" to make these
> distinctions, which is not the case. If you take a look at:

no, I don't think that the way I suggest is the one and only obvious
one, but it certainly is promising coherence which the current way
doesn't IMHO.

> http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Datei:Blaubeerwald.jpg
> the "physical landcover" would be bushes for me and certainly not trees. You
> may disagree.

Yes, I partly disagree, the physical landcover is blueberry bushes AND
trees, and tagging simply the bushes would be wrong IMHO (even if the
blueberry bushes generally grow below trees). IMHO that's the reason
why this is called "Blaubeerwald" and not "Blaubeergestrüpp". The
language is very precise here, because it is logical. Why shouldn't we
attempt to obtain the same precision? We might fail at some point, but
not even trying to seems stupid to me.

> While I was working to improve the JOSM presets, the more detailed the
> (sub-)menus became, the harder it was to place specific items into the right
> menu - let alone to find the right group boundaries (aka menus) at all to
> remain understandable.

Yes, because you need to define criteria when doing this. If
everything is messed up, it gets harder and harder to find a good
order. If you start to separate physical characteristics and abstract
usage, you have a distinct criteria that is easy to apply. If you mix
those, you will have intersections and
juxtapositions that create ambiguity and that make it impossible to
decide how to classify a feature.

> The more groups (aka keys) you have, the harder it gets to understand and
> remember each boundary (aka the rules behind it).

I disagree. The logics behind this approach would be to have ideally
one group and therefore not k/v but only simple tags, or not?

> The more detailed each
> specific group is defined, the harder it get's to place a new item into the
> existing groups, e.g. it may fit into two definitions or none at all.

No, this is the art IMHO: find characteristics and create coherent
tags that are distinct from one another and as generic as possible but
as specific as necessary. Then you can further distinct those tags
with subtags. Of course, if your criteria is too generic (like an
abstract "natural" or "man_made"), it will not help. IMHO tags like
"shop" or "highway" or "waterway" or "railway" work well. "amenity"
doesn't (because it's too generic and not well defined), and this
becomes more and more obvious, the more detailed our tagging gets.
Please note: I don't say that man_made doesn't work at all, but that
is because we don't actually group all "man made" stuff in man_made.
Man_made is a tag for (technical) infrastructure/facilities and built
stuff (actually building would very well fit in). Natural doesn't have
this logic, it is a crude collection of everything that didn't fit in
some other category and that wasn't constructed by humans. It is about
geographical features (bay, cliff, spring (why isn't this in
waterway?), beach, coastline, volcano, peak) and physical descriptions
like (mud, stone, water), etc.


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