[Tagging] drinkable vs. drinking_water

Philip Barnes phil at trigpoint.me.uk
Sun Jul 22 14:32:53 BST 2012

On Sat, 2012-07-21 at 11:43 -0400, David ``Smith'' wrote:
> Just contributing another data point on vocabulary…
> I am a native English speaker from Ohio, USA.  I have been aware of
> the term "potable" for many years, probably since asking what it meant
> after seeing a water source labeled "non-potable".  I have seen that
> warning on taps in public parks, and on many trucks and railcars.  
I am a native English speaker from the UK, I have never seen the term
potable used in the UK. Labels on taps use the term 'drinking water', or
'not drinking water'. Any council using the word 'potable' is likely to
be slammed by the Campaign For Plain English.
I only understand potable because I have studied French, and have a good
memory. We really should stick to 'Drinking Water', as does real world

> On the other hand, I'd never heard of a "trunk road" before joining
> OSM.  I still don't know any objective way to tell the difference
> between trunk, primary, secondary, tertiary, and unclassified roads,
> and I'm amazed there aren't rampant edit wars over those distinctions.
> I think it's silly that "unclassified road" is in fact a specific road
> classification.  I'd never heard of a "weir" before joining OSM,
> desptie the existence of several in my home area.  
The classifications, certainly Trunk, came from the UK. I do not know of
any easy way of identifying a Trunk road. Other than googling my way
through various local authority/highways agency websites (which then
cannot be used on OSM). Trunk roads are 'Primary A roads, funded by
central government. Other primary A roads are funded by local
authorities, both have green signs and in the UK are mapped as Trunk
roads, as there is rarely anything on the ground to differentiate them.

Trunk road is a largely outdated term, in the same way as wireless is
when referring to a radio receiver. 

We map secondary A roads (white signs) as Primary, and B roads as

I don't know where the term tertiary came from, its a word outside of
OSM I have only heard in The Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy, The
Tertiary Phase. But really have no idea what the word means of why it
was chosen. You will not find any highway authority referring to roads
as Tertiary. My view is that tertiary roads are C roads, but the numbers
rarely appear on road signs. I have seen maps showing these, but again
they are copyright and unusable on OSM. But there are a lot more than
many think, they IMO are the non-M/A/B roads that are gritted in the
winter and hence every village will have at least one. But in reality
mapping them is a matter of if it feels right. 


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