[Tagging] informal helipads for emergency use

Greg Troxel gdt at ir.bbn.com
Sat Mar 30 13:17:28 UTC 2013

Martin Koppenhoefer <dieterdreist at gmail.com> writes:

> 2013/3/30 Pieren <pieren3 at gmail.com>
>> Something unverifiable on the ground. What you describe is just a contract
>> between an organization and a landowner.
> well, a contract is in many circumstances verifiable. You could also see an
> actual helicopter land there in case of an emergency ;-)
> On the other hand, most of the boundaries we have in OSM are not more
> verifiable than this data. IMHO "verifiable on the ground" should be
> interpreted as "verifiable", e.g. if a road has a certain name, but the
> signs on the spot have a spelling error: in this case the name of the osm
> element should be the actual name as verifiable in the city archives, and
> not the misspelled name on the sign (or put both variants in OSM, and a
> note, but do put the actual correctly spelled name as well, even if it
> doesn't result from on the ground survey).

I agree with Martin here.  I think that the broad notion of
verifiability makes sense, but we've evolved that into a crisp line and
treated the edge of that line as very meaningful.  The LZ situation is
not so different from streets that have names but for which the signs
are missing.

In my town many people (the subset that pay attention to
police/fire/emergency_management) know where the LZs are, at least the
more-used subset.

The countryside car parking analogy here is that the Incident Commander
might decide to use anyplace feasible for a medevac landing.  So I agree
that tagging "might be used" would be goofy.  I have tagged some areas
as parking when they are near trailheads and commonly used for parking -
because I see it happening.  But that's a long way from "anyplace it's
legal to leave a car".

There's a larger issue, which isn't really about tagging, which is that
this is an opportunity to grow the community.  In my town, the public
safety officials know the ham radio volunteers and the medical reserve
corp volunteers.  It's not a stretch to think of mappers as part of that
community, ensuring that maps will be already up to date when something
happens.  This is in fact what Richard is doing.  That can be existing
mappers joining that local emergency planning community, or existing
emergency management people getting into mapping, or both.  That kind of
community building is overwhelmingly more important than quibbling over
the appropriateness of what will turn out in my town (of ~40 km^2) to be
a half dozen nodes with tags that don't hit the normal render, in the
middle of open spaces (that might have enclosing polygons of at least
0.5 ha, but not a lot of detail inside, because there isn't actually
detail on the ground for the non-LZ use).  If there are local stewards,
we should let them do things that aren't clearly unreasonable locally.
(I agree that it's reasonable to hold people making global- or
regional-scale changes to a higher standard.)
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