[Tagging] [Talk-us] First bona fide mini-roundabout spotted

Steve Bennett stevagewp at gmail.com
Wed May 9 03:10:45 BST 2012

The problems with this tag are the same with most tags. The history
goes something like:

1) The original creator has a very specific real-world object in mind:
painted roundabout patterns on intersections in their local area
2) Other people in the local area recognise this real-world concept
and also apply the tag.
3) Soon it makes its way into editors, renderers etc.
4) People in other parts of the world see this tag and think they should use it.
5) They deduce what they think are the salient features: it's small,
it's painted, you can drive over it physically, you can drive over it
6) Different kinds of real world objects get mapped with the tag, that
include some, but not all of the above salient features (eg,
roundabouts you can drive over, but are physically raised; or
roundabouts that are just painted but legally you must not drive over
7) People notice the contradiction between the (poor) documentation
and current practice, and try to change it
8) People who used the tag in step 6 object, because now it doesn't
match the way *they* use the tag.

I'm not sure what the moral of the story here is, except that whoever
creates the tag originally has the easiest job, because the tags match
up beautifully with their local environment. (See highway=footway,
highway=cycleway, highway=bridleway, which actually appear as words on
signs in the UK - but compare the difficulty of applying them to
somewhere like Australia)

I kind of think the only real solution is to have a fairly loose
coupling between regions about the definition of tags, and tight
cohesion within regions. So highway=mini_roundabout should universally
mean something like "small roundabout you could probably drive over",
but within a single region (either a country, or perhaps smaller), it
should have a much stricter definition, depending on local road laws,
building practices etc.

(We do this already with tags like highway=motorway and
highway=cycleway, but we could be much more systematic.)


On Wed, May 9, 2012 at 2:18 AM, Erik Johansson <erjohan at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Mon, May 7, 2012 at 11:54 PM, Philip Barnes <phil at trigpoint.me.uk> wrote:
>> On Mon, 2012-05-07 at 13:30 -0700, Paul Johnson wrote:
>>> On Mon, May 7, 2012 at 1:28 PM, Nathan Mills <nathan at nwacg.net> wrote:
>>> > So this is not/should not be a mini_roundabout? It seems a little silly to
>>> > call it anything else, since the city just dug a hole in the center of the
>>> > existing intersection, built a circular curb, and planted a tree:
>>> >
>>> > http://g.co/maps/e2gsv
>>> >
>>> > What about this one? Also a full on roundabout?
>>> >
>>> > http://g.co/maps/d6n74
>>> >
>>> > This looks more like a roundabout to me:
>>> >
>>> > http://g.co/maps/hnbp9
>>> All three are roundabouts, yes.
>> All 3 are roundabouts, none of them a mini-roundabouts.
>> The point of a mini-roundabout is that they can be driven over, hence
>> whilst cars are supposed to go around them and many are 'speed-hump
>> raised' to encourage this behaviour. Trucks can pass over them as many
>> are in places where a truck cannot get around otherwise.
>> The first 2 should be mini-roundabouts, as a truck is likely to have
>> serious issues with them. I cannot imagine that tree will last too long.
>> This is a mini-roundabout, which you can see is raised slightly
>> http://g.co/maps/hm49m
>> Actually its part of the magic roundabout, which is a roundabout you can
>> go around in either direction, and at each intersection there is a
>> mini-roundabout. On osm its here, http://osm.org/go/eumbs5ZIw--
>> Phil
> But Nathan does have a point, mini-roundabouts are not a specifically
> good name, and the current docs will only make more people tag small
> roundabouts as highway=mini_roundabouts..
> --
> /emj
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