[Tagging] drinkable vs. drinking_water

Philip Barnes phil at trigpoint.me.uk
Fri Jul 13 10:22:48 BST 2012

Apart from a water company person, I have never heard anyone use potable, in English it is jargon used in the industry. My understanding came from recognising a French word.
Workplace taps are labelled as either drinking water, or not drinking water. I have never seen potable used. 


Sent from my Nokia N9

On 13/07/2012 9:02 Ilari Kajaste wrote:

On 13 July 2012 05:35, Andrew Errington <erringtona at gmail.com> wrote:
> Anyway, I don't think we should assume other people are stupid and
> choose 'simple' words just for the sake of it. It seems that we all
> know what potable means, but we are worried that other mappers, whom
> we have never met, won't understand. Let me assure you, they are just
> as smart as you.

No. (And please don't equate knowing words with being smart.
Especially don't do it for the purposes of twisting the opposing
arguent to imply something it doesn't imply. That's just empty

Anecdote: My English is excellent, but English is not my primary
language. My english vocabulary is large. Yet, I didn't know "potable"
before this discussion. I did know "trunk road", "roundabout",
"shelter" and "archeological site" very well.

I would expect "drinkable" to mean "whatever is produced by this
tagged feature is safe to drink", and "drinking_water" to mean
"somewhere in the tagged area there is a feature that provides access
to water that is safe to drink".

I also did understand that "drinkable", strictly speaking, means that
it's _possible_ to drink it, not that it's _safe_. But come on, are we
mapping here, or defining physical properties of substances? This
isn't OpenPhysicsEngine.

Of course, I'm just an anecdote here. But from what I've read of the
discussion, it seems my anecdote might represent a larger set of
mappers as well.

I don't really care which word is used. I generally like specificity,
but this seems like an edge case. Due to way OSM is tagged, it should
default to most natural possible words in tags. And at least
internationally, it seems "drinkable" is considered more natural. And
since it's also a synonym in any normal use (so no specificity is
lost), that's the word that should be used for the tag.


- Ilari Kajaste -

E-Mail: erringtona at gmail.com
WWW: http://iki.fi/ilari.kajaste


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