[Tagging] drinkable vs. drinking_water

Steve Bennett stevagewp at gmail.com
Fri Jul 13 02:19:11 BST 2012

On Fri, Jul 13, 2012 at 10:12 AM, Andrew Errington <erringtona at gmail.com> wrote:
> The language of OSM should be precise.  If it's not then people start
> inventing tags that have similar, but imprecise meanings, which is
> exactly what has happened here.

There's nothing more "precise" about 'potable' vs 'drinkable'.

The suggestion of "migrating" drinkable=* to potable=* is just silly.
In practice, it's very hard to 'migrate' any tag at all - even when
there is a good reason, like the power=station mess. So let's just
drop that idea.

The only question remaining is whether to deprecate drinking_water=yes
in favour of drinkable=yes (or vice versa). From my reading, they have
slightly different meanings:

drinkable=yes: when combined with another water source tag (like
amenity=fountain), indicates that the water source is, indeed
drinking_water=yes: whether or not it's combined with any other tag
(like tourism=alpine_hut), indicates that there is also drinking water

You see the difference in the negative:
drinkable=no: there is water but it's not drinkable
drinking_water=no: maybe there is no water at all

It's a slight difference in meaning, due to use in two different
contexts. Of the two, I think "drinking_water=yes" is actually clearer
and more useful. But because of the difficulties in "migrating" tags
(changing tools, renderers, documentation, actual tags in the
database, user behaviour...) I'm not sure it's even worth trying to


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