[Tagging] Topographic place names

Steve Bennett stevagewp at gmail.com
Thu Dec 12 02:52:39 UTC 2013

On Tue, Dec 10, 2013 at 10:50 PM, Martin Koppenhoefer <
dieterdreist at gmail.com> wrote:

> the question should be: how to map a mountain range, as it seems we can't
> represent these kind of features (very big, blurry borders, not mappable in
> high zoom levels) well in our data model. That's the main reason why we
> don't have these. There are also other features similar to a mountain range
> (a "forest" as name for a region, including non-forest areas, lowlands /
> plains, desert, ...). Actually we don't have tags or a way to map to most
> of these geographic
features and regions besides the atomic components (like peaks).

Thanks, I was having trouble articulating what the issue is. Tags like
landuse=* or natural=* often work well for mapping a physical property with
a sharp border - but not so well when we're describing a human abstraction
(a "mountain range" is really an abstraction over a number of individual
mountains, and it's up to some sort of geologists' consensus where it
begins and ends).

> IMHO it would be nice to have an alternative dataset in lower zoomlevels
> for geographic regions and extended/blurry features, something like a set
> of shapefiles with translations into all languages we can provide,
> something similar to what natural earth data provides, but distributed and
> modified/translated by us, not just English and for higher zoom levels
> (i.e. more detailed) than what NE has. Still we could start with their
> geographic regions dataset and refine it, as "All versions of *Natural
> Earth* raster + vector map data found on this website are in the public
> domain."
Are you saying that this kind of data is a poor fit for OSM itself?

> if you don't know what it is (i.e. "generic feature") place=locality seems
> perfectly fitting, otherwise be more precise and tag or subtag it as what
> it is (e.g. a cluster of rocks).
My issue with place=locality is that the place=* are basically for human
habitation, whereas these can occur in completely uninhabited places. As a
cartographer, I'd want to label these using topographic styling (ie,
similar to how I'd show natural=peak, natural=saddle), and not at all
similar to place=hamlet

Hence my desire for something like natural=feature - a catch-all, label any
"natural" feature.

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