[Tagging] landcover=trees definition

John Willis johnw at mac.com
Sun Aug 16 22:29:09 UTC 2015

> On Aug 16, 2015, at 7:00 PM, Friedrich Volkmann <bsd at volki.at> wrote:
> Not everything is "use". E.h. hazard=* is rather the opposite of use. Most
> natural=* features denote what's there, not how it is used. Well, you *can*
> use a swamp, but if you don't use it, it is a swamp anyway, so this is
> really independent of use.

This is the crux of the landcover argument. 

Because landuse=* implies what the land is used for - therefore man-altered and decided usefulness.  natural=* was then interpreted by taggers to be the opposite - the "natural" state of the land which was heavily influenced by the landuse=forest /natural=wood debacle. 

Landcover=* just says "this is here" , without adding implications as to its use or origin. People have commented about natural not implying the pristine natural state (i have used natural=sand to map the sand pits for long-jumpers at a sports stadium), but many definitions have had this implication added into them with bad tagging. 

This also would allow for some man-made landcovers; as several times i am dealing with a place where concrete or asphalt is covering the ground, but not as road or path or building. This is a weaker use case, but it would be nice to say "here is 2000sqm of concrete. It is the remnant of an old airport. The airport is gone, it is not a road, a building or a structure. It is now a (currently) purposeless expanse of concrete. Currently I have to map it as the negative space surrounded by other things (meadow) to leave the impression something is there (NAS Alameda in San Francisco is a perfect example: https://www.google.com/maps/@37.7813303,-122.3170894,16z/data=!3m1!1e3 part of it is now roads, tracks, or other facilities, but it is an abandoned airport where most of the feature has no use nor is natural). Grass along the sides of manicured roads (like on a cutting or separation for safety or noise control), which are part of the roadway's land, but not part of the road - nearby residential houses, but not part of a residence nor used as a park - its there just to be grass. 

Landcover=iceplant would be brilliant for southern California freeway mapping. 

Its not used for anything other than being "iceplant"- occasionally a car will go in it, but it's job os just to be "there" so the ground isn't dirt or dead meadow grass. Sounds like a landcover to me. 

Again, i understand that was the intent of natural=*, but because of a bad choice of key name ("natural" has huge connotations ), mappers followed the connotation of the name and muddied it. 

If I had landcover=trees with a boundary  line like nature reserve, I wouldn't have to decide between wood and forest, when it is a bit of both. 

I can say this mountain is covered with trees. Then with a boundary or other area: this is a preserve, this is a military trainging ground, this is a logging area, this is the fenced off area around a quarry, a ski resort, housing, and this is a national park for hiking. 

That's just for Mt Fuji!

Wanting landcover over natrual or landuse is not because the mapper is lazy nor is blind mapping from aerial images - it is easy to make assumptions for aerial imagery, especially when you are cleaning up a 5 year old import of badly aligned mis-tagged road ways. Mapping gridded residential is straightforward. Landuse=residential. It becomes hard when you really know an area and are micro-mapping it - and you know that the connotation of the tag doesn't fit the mapped area well, and it makes you feel uneasy using it - so there is a strong desire for a connotation-free tag. 


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