[Tagging] Implementing tagging changes [was: Re: Shop vs amenity]

Daniel Koć daniel at xn--ko-wla.pl
Tue Aug 25 09:44:37 UTC 2015

W dniu 25.08.2015 4:13, Warin napisał(a):

> Everyone does not participate in all the OSM news sources. Thus people
> are surprised when presented with stuff they had no idea of.

Of course, they never will participate in everything. But we as a 
project don't have any defined channels where one could expect to catch 
all the news about the most important changes (as the project see them), 
let alone any broader efforts to reach the OSM data and services users. 
It was just what one man was thinking what would be suitable and enough 
to be widely heard.

>> There are also some examples of well thought and even accepted tagging 
>> schemes which are not in a wider use, like:
>> - highway:area (4 years before it really took off now!)
> I don't use it. And so on . Mappers won't use stuff that they don't
> see a need for.

It's completely irrelevant if just one of us use it or not: in my ~8 
years in the project I have probably never tagged any orchard, vineyard 
or a lake, but it has nothing to do with their technical merits or a 
need for them.

The area:highway (this is the right name BTW =} ) is very interesting in 
this regard and I know it from the close perspective, so let me describe 
this case. It was created 4 years ago by a man, who not only had the 
clear idea, but also made big effort to document it on the Wiki with 
images explaining details ( 
https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Proposed_features/Street_area ). It 
took a lot of time to get real support. 2 weeks ago it was about 10-12k 
uses: not that much, but clearly more than competing proposition 
landuse=highway (2.4k). However nobody would notice it if the creator 
was not still active. He let us know about that and even more: he 
managed to get support from a programmer who made a rendering layer for 
the whole country ( http://osmapa.pl/w/area/ ).

That was the tipping point. The people started mapping it massively, 
another guy made a JOSM template to made it easier and less error prone, 
than the creator contacted also German and Ukrainian mappers, which also 
got their a:h layers on the same server ( http://osmapa.pl/w/areade/ and 
http://osmapa.pl/w/areaua/ respectively). The specification was extended 
and revised in many ways in the process. And now (just a dozen days 
later) area:highway has about 25k uses - more than double than it 
achieved in a few years!

The lessons I've learned from this example are multiple:

1. It's not enough to make good, detailed proposition anymore - you 
never know the people aren't using it because they're just not 
interested or maybe they lack some tools.

2. Wider rendering support is important factor of implementing tagging 
scheme (there was some rendering before, but it was very local).

3. You have to be stubborn, active, focused, patient and has good 
communication skills to be effective in implementing something new these 
days. There are not too much people being all that - and this was just 
introducing new, harmless scheme, not revising established ones, which 
could be much harder, I think.

4. Current practice of crafting tags by just discussing things on the 
list is rather ineffective. Close (agile) cooperation in working group 
with creator/promoter/renderer/editor involved works much better, 
because not only implementing is faster, but also the definition is 
corrected and extended basing on the real tagging and rendering 
experience (so a double win - with quantity and quality).

> So what makes the changes from amenity to shop attractive?
> Mappers -A more logical grouping that is easier to remember.ut
> Editors -A more logical grouping. SO not much here.
> Renders -A more logical grouping that means rendering is easier.? Same
> colours for all shops?

Corrections like this make the whole system more clear and usable. It 
also means crafting new tags is easier, because you just follow the 
logic of the system, not try to guess the rules and spot the 

> Slow changes are much better than sudden ones. Give people time to 
> adapt.

These are not contradictory claims. You can give people time to prepare 
and then one day make the switch, which would be more effective and 
reducing many other problems - or simply allowing the change to be real 
(see for example: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dagen_H#Results ).

"The train is always on time / The trick is to be ready to put your bags 
down" [A. Cohen]

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