[Tagging] Waterway river vs stream

Tyrfing OSM tyrfingosm at gmail.com
Mon Oct 21 08:21:40 UTC 2013

2013/10/19 Christoph Hormann <chris_hormann at gmx.de>

> Which leads me to the rule itself which - as noted previously - does not
> make much sense as a mandatory top level distinction for waterways.
> But it has been around for a long time and a lot of data has been
> tagged based on it.  This in my opinion means changing the meaning of
> the existing river/stream distinction - even if there was a practically
> verifiable alternative rule - would serve no purpose except devaluing
> existing data as well as newly entered information.

Yes, changing the definition of a tag is a problem.

Like Kytömaa points out it seems like the jumping distinction has become
stricter during the years: "Maybe you can just jump over it" (2007), "An
active person should be able to jump over it" (2009), "an active,
able-bodied person is able to jump over it" (2013).

Also it seems like different people has interpreted the distinction between
river and stream differently. At least according to posts in this thread.

So I'm not too sure that the data already in the database is coded
consistently according to your interpretion.

> The only sensible
> way to change things would be to move the distinction into a secondary
> tag (something like crossable=* for example, that would also allow
> tagging the possibility to wade through) and to re-tag all waterways
> with a uniform primary tag (natural=waterway would be an obvious choice
> although it could be useful to make the distinction natural/artificial
> waterway indeed mandatory).

Something like crossable=* might be a good idea. Also some sort of tag for
amount of water flow might be an idea (like waterflow=high/low/42 m^3 /s).
Using a new uniform primary tag still leave open the distinction between
the (then new) secondary tag waterway=river/stream. But then of course, we
might not even have to bother about it.
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