[Tagging] Catchment Areas

Greg Troxel gdt at ir.bbn.com
Sat Dec 1 14:24:52 GMT 2012

Chris Baines <cbaines8 at gmail.com> writes:

> 1: http://www.rhok.org/problems/granular-health-map
> 2: https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Proposed_features/Catchment

The problem with representing catchment areas in OSM is that it rapidly
gets into the "one database, one man's treasure, another's junk"
problem, because it leads to objects for things that don't really exist,
but are only enshrined in policies of various kinds.

I can see the point that in mapping a developing country for health
care, these boundaries might be very important to map users and editors
relative to other data.  But if I think about the area around me, there
are probably 5 places that will deliver food, and adding 5 polygons to
the map for that already seems unreasonable.  My city friends probably
have hundreds of places that will deliver.

Also, it seems that catchment area is a marketing term, and the concepts

  "to where will we deliver, rather than refusing the order"
  "from what areas (of home address) will we treat patients"
  "from what areas do we consider ourself to be the hospital of record"

are all very different questions.  It may be that what's needed for is a
more traditional GIS analysis showing distance to facilities from

I suspect the real discusion will be about adding polygons to be targets
of this tag, rather than the tag itself.

Some day, OSM may have a concept of different layers, which will allow
editors to have a restricted view of only what they want to see, and
this will become easier.

Of course, you can always model catchment areas in a separate database,
and join for analysis.
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