[Tagging] landuse=residential and named residential areas which belong together (neighbourhoods/subdivisions?)

Simone Saviolo simone.saviolo at gmail.com
Mon Aug 29 14:27:30 BST 2011

2011/8/29 Martin Koppenhoefer <dieterdreist at gmail.com>

> We have been recently discussing on the German ML about
> landuse=residential. In Germany many mappers were mapping subdivisions
> / neighbourhoods [1] with landuse=residential. This led to very rough
> landuse information, because in order to keep the (sometimes quite
> big) area as a whole they are forced to ignore landuses that don't
> fit.
> I think that the information about these areas belongs to a distinct
> entity and would best fit into the "place"-namespace because I see
> them as subdivision of settlements (or more precise subdivisions of
> what we call "suburb" in OSM).
> If we could agree that the information about which areas as a whole
> form a distinct unit (part of a suburb) should go into the place tag,
> we would be more flexible when deciding where to apply landuse to.
> Part of the current discussion results from the mixing of namespaces:
> landuse is used to map settlement subdivisions which are IMHO defined
> by other properties (like morphology, history, culture, typology, ...)
> then just similar landuse. There is also areas which do combine
> different subareas with different landuses (impossible to map this
> with landuse-areas without either ignoring bigger parts of different
> use or loosing the entity as a whole).
> There are several questions in this context which are generally still
> open in OSM:
> 1. does the road belong to the landuse at its sides?
> -- as we don't (yet?) tag highway-areas for streets that are
> represented with a centre line this is an ongoing debate. For railways
> this is easier to decide because there will be landuse=railway along
> the tracks. Some mappers advocate to reuse street nodes others prefer
> to map these areas at the actual border of the parcels (or the
> estimation of the latter). Some pros and cons can be found here:
> http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Talk:Key:landuse#How_to_map
> 2. What is the desired granularity for landuse?
> -- Shall landuse-areas be huge areas comprising several streets and
> blocks, or is it desirable to indicate the use of each lot if it is
> differing from the surrounding? Or could the landuse areas even go
> below single plot size?
> My personal answer on these questions is currently:
> To me a public road is a different landuse. Although it will not harm
> if we initially approximate the landuse with bigger areas comprising
> inner roads the ideal would be to have equal landuse in block-size
> units. This is most easily refinable and would also give the
> information of outer plot limits (adjacent to the road) so that you
> could infer the public land of the road.
> I would not go below the size of single plots (if there is not very
> good reason and a very big plot) and I would also still adhere to the
> rule of "predominant" use: if there is a building with offices in the
> ground floor and 3 storeys of apartments above this would be
> landuse=residential to me. If there was a whole plot with a factory
> inside a residential area I would tag this plot as landuse=industrial.
> Summed up the desired granularity I suggest to agree on is plot size
> for landuse (but we will not necessarily map all plots as distinct
> areas, it can also be bigger polygons).
> Cheers,
> Martin
> http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Tag:landuse%3Dresidential
> http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Land_use_and_areas_of_natural_land
> [1] Due to political, cultural and economic differences I am not sure
> if it makes sense to use the terms subdivisions / neighbourhoods
> because I guess the precise meaning is somehow different.

As you already know, I totally second all of your points. I've used
block-size landuse polygons (or smaller, if a significant portion deserved
distinction) in urban areas and lot-size onefor agricultural fields. I've
been tagging like this for about a year, and the map is coming out pretty


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