[Tagging] Structured vs. duck tagging tendency

Martin Koppenhoefer dieterdreist at gmail.com
Tue Jan 5 11:53:55 UTC 2016

2016-01-05 12:32 GMT+01:00 Tom Pfeifer <t.pfeifer at computer.org>:

> My conclusion is that a majority of mappers prefers a better structure and
> move
> away from tag fragmentation when they have a chance. This then helps the
> data
> consumers which do not need to run after each new duck tag to be
> implemented to
> cover a certain class of features.

I believe we will need both, tags at a reasonable level of detail, and
structure to distribute different properties on different tags (reusable on
other kind of objects).

The whole discussion is about what is a reasonable level of detail, and
which are the attributes/properties we want to store, and which are the
words we use to represent them ;-)

Duck tagging has the problem that it only works locally / within the same
cultural and legal background. When everybody tags the cycleways in his
town as highway=cycleway, it forces a global dataconsumer to know all
local/regional/national legislation in order to understand who else besides
cyclists can use this way (e.g. pedestrians) and what other implications
there might be.
Duck tagging tends (I guess) also to people tagging less explicit because
they feel that everything relevant is already implicitly contained in the
one tag they use (and likely these asumed implications will be different in
their details between different mappers).
Applied consistently to all tagging this would inavoidably lead to tag
fragmentation, because for every small property that changes, a whole new
main tag will have to be created.

On the other hand, being too generic with the tags leads to unusable tags
as well (on their own), it makes tags superfluous at the first level,
because everything relevant is only revealed on the second (and further)
level(s). A recent example that was discussed here is the tag
tourism=information. This was first used for tourist information offices,
then extended to information boards and maps, and then included even guide
posts and trail_blazes: http://taginfo.osm.org/keys/information#values
If you want to make sense of these objects, you have to look at the
information key, the content of the tag tourism=information is so generic
that it has become useless.

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