[Tagging] Power Tagging

Michael Patrick geodesy99 at gmail.com
Sun Feb 3 01:31:06 GMT 2013

> ...  somewhat arbitrary and the related tower vs pole problem. These were
all introduced in the > early days of osm without providing some rigid
guidelines on how to distinguish them (the result occasionally being some
strange tagging). ... tags are not "incorrect" in that they refer to
correct English terms. ...

I'm still really new to OSM, so please excuse me if I am treading on some
sort of crowd source heresy. And this question is not specifically directed
at power grid tagging, but more toward resolving creating / assigning
tagging attributes in general in OSM.

For reference, see the International Electrotechnical Commission (
http://www.iec.ch/about/ ) Electropedia ( http://www.electropedia.org/ ) or
from the Glossary search at ( http://std.iec.ch/glossary  ),  to the
Overhead lines / Towers description page (
http://www.electropedia.org/iev/iev.nsf/display?openform&ievref=466-08-08 )
where we see a diagram (
and nomenclature in multiple languages: (English) double warren
support, (French) triangulation en losange, (Arabic)  تركيبة عل شكل المعين
, (German) Ausfachung mit gekreuzten Diagonalen und Sekundärfachwerk,
(Spanish) celosía doble, (Italian) tralicciatura doppia con rompitratta,
(Japanese) ダブルワーレン補助材, (Portuguese) reticulação em losango, (Swedish)
dubbel diagonalvandring med knäckavstyvning.

It is true that these standard vocabularies drill down to excruciating
detail which may not be relevant to OSM ( characteristics which are visible
(or inferred, like voltage from the in out conductor spacing) .

For example see Area: 415: Wind turbine generator systems (
http://www.electropedia.org/iev/iev.nsf/index?openform&part=415 ),  the
plural "wind power station / wind farm" as a "power station comprising a
group or groups of wind turbine generator systems" is distinguished from
the singular "wind turbine generator system" as a "WTGS, system which
converts the kinetic wind energy into electric energy", the wind turbine
itself as  "wind turbine: rotating machinery in which the kinetic wind
energy is transformed into another form of energy", to the
more detailed type "horizontal axis wind turbine" or "vertical axis wind

Some of these characteristics would be visible to the person, while the
other attributes at that level like 'shutdown', 'blocking', 'control
system' are not. The other vocabulary category entries for 'Wind Turbines'
such as 'Design and safety parameters', 'Wind characteristics', 'Power
performance measurement techniques', 'Acoustic measurement techniques', are
not 'visible' ( although 'Acoustic' could be debated because of cell phone
microphones :-), However, 'Electrical interconnection', attributes might be

While I get that crowd generated attribute tagging has some unique
advantages, huge flexibility, allows whatever level of detail in any
language to be incorporates, at the other end of the pipe are editing
tools, maintenance bots, and rendering engines which do expect some sort of
conventions. There might be some advantages to at least examining these
vocabularies ( like the IEC). For instance, it might be revealed that a
proposed tag might actually be several additional tags ( I usually can't
see every possible variation when looking at a  specific case). As
dedicated user communities seek to add their own tags, there would be a
path to add more level of detail without breaking downstream tools.
Expanding tag sets to other languages is somewhat easier because the basic
objects and concepts are already translated. There also seems to be a
growing space of communities and applications outside of OSM that would
benefit from interoperability ( 'routing' as a quick example ).

There seems to be continuous churn about tag definitions, and I was curious
why there wasn't more use of the international vocabularies to resolve
conflicts and establish attribute spaces. And the power grid probably isn't
the best example (because it appears to be so detailed and technical), but
any man made structure in the environment probably already has a well
established naming convention in place ( for architecture, probably since
the Roman Empire :-). There are several excellent one for LULC (Land Use
and Land Cover) for example.

Random thoughts, not a specific proposal.

Michael Patrick
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