[Tagging] State parks and state forests: specific tagging question, general mapping philosophy

Kevin Kenny kevin.b.kenny+osm at gmail.com
Wed Jul 27 02:59:38 UTC 2016

On Tue, Jul 26, 2016 at 7:40 PM, Warin <61sundowner at gmail.com> wrote:

> On 7/27/2016 5:11 AM, Kevin Kenny wrote:
>> But all right. I'll settle for either "landuse=forest" or
>> "leisure=nature_reserve" as something that at least does not misrender
>> horribly, and note that such tagging is retained for the benefit of legacy
>> renderers.+
> Yuck.
>  Your 'state parks' are administrative boundaries. Don't tag for the
> render.

How many more years must I wait, then, before they will become visible on
any of the tile layers on openstreetmap.org? If it hadn't been a couple or
three years already, I'd be more patient. A New Yorker would find it
astonishing not to see the Adirondack Park, which occupies about a sixth of
the land area of the state, but if it were not mistagged 'national park'
there would be nothing to trigger its rendering. The smaller state parks,
state forests, and similar reserves likewise would likewise have no
attributes visible to the renderer.

I know what protected areas I've added - about 1500 multipolygons of them.
I've got a file with relation and way ID's. (Plus, they were added under
distinct user IDs, so I can recover them by examining the edits made by
those users.) How about we make a deal that when the "correct" tagging
actually becomes visible on at least one layer of the main site, I go back
and remove the "legacy" tagging, which can be done with a mechanical edit?

SO THE IMMEDIATE QUESTION ABOVE: "How would other people divide and tag a
>> state park whose property line extends offshore?" (The particular case I
>> have in mind is fairly complex; there are places where the park's boundary
>> is coterminuous with the high tide line, other places where it's set back
>> some distance from the water, and yet other places where it extends far
>> down the foreshore or out into permanent open water.)
> Tag the state park boundary as an administrative boundary, don't include
> any landcover tags on it.. the landcover should be a separate area/entity.

Right. landuse=forest isn't land cover, it's land use. natural=wood is land
cover. There's "forest" land that at the moment is "natural=scrub" because
it's managed as producing forest and recently harvested. And there's
"forest" land that's natural=wetland because the beavers have decided that
they're using it. (There's also "forest" land that is under the legal
fiction that it's being managed for timber production, but is so
resource-poor that it's unlikely to produce anything in the foreseeable
future. All I have to go on, for the most part, is the legal designation.)

>> It gets tremendously more complicated if detailed land use and land cover
>> are needed. Then there will be complex webs of multipolygons, sharing some
>> but not all of the ways. As a matter of fact, I have a strong preference
>> for NOT sharing ways among, say, preserve boundaries and things such as
>> "natural=wood" because they make editing really complicated and seldom
>> describe the situation in the field. Trees grow where they will unless
>> humans remove them. They are no respecters of property lines.
>> Is that what everyone else does? Do even the roughest sketches (drawing
>> the boundaries of parks, for instance) with webs of multipolygons sharing
>> many of the ways, so that one set of multipolygons can be tagged for the
>> protected area, another for the land use, and still another the land cover?
>> If so, it seems to make for an editing nightmare.
> Yep.. I'm on the side of separating the landcover and landuse ways .. they
> only follow one another for things like 'state forests' that are used for
> lumber production (primary use, secondaries of recreation and conservation)

That's what State Forest means in New York, and I've tagged State Forests
with landuse=forest. (Also boundary=protected_area protect_class=6, which
is obviously The Right Thing.) Alas, they tend to be large parcels, and the
'landuse=forest' tag, to a lot of people here, means that every square
metre should be covered with trees. Unfortunately for that assumption,
there are lots of waterways, marshes, rock outcrops, talus slopes, and
what-not within the State Forests.  Since it's all at least hypothetically
managed for production of forest products, it's all tagged with
'landuse=forest', resulting in trees being painted atop waterways and such
like. That's the result of not making a distinction between land use and
land cover. That's fine, I can live with rendering bugs if the objects are
at least present.

Lands that the state labels Wild Forest are something else entirely. Wild
Forest totally forbids sale, harvest, or destruction of timber. It's about
half a grade below Wilderness. The chief difference is the level to which
motorized access is permitted, which amounts to "Wild Forest - in certain
rare circumstances; Wilderness - never" and the fact that Wild Forest is
much more likely to be second-growth (although typically in New York
nowadays, Wild Forest is likely to be century-and-a-half old second
growth). I've tagged that boundary=protected_area protect_class=1b, and
then added 'leisure=nature_reserve" not because it really conforms with the
definition but because it's the least-worst thing I can do without having
the area vanish altogether.

Incidentally, most Wilderness areas here don't require permission to visit,
much less something like an approved research program, so I don't tag
anything with protect_class=1a. The Department of Environmental
Conservation finds that the usage in practice is low enough not to stress
the areas badly; they're mostly protected by inaccessibility. I've gone in
there, but I'm a little strange. I've done a 220-km solo trek across
several of them (with two visits to settlements to reprovision), and saw a
total of seven other parties, all of whom were within a few km of the
start, the end, or the settlements where I resupplied. I saw absolutely
nobody on the two 60+-km roadless sections. The only Wilderness Area in New
York that requires a permit is High Peaks - and the permit is simply a
carbon-paper form that's available at any of the trailheads or ranger
stations. You fill it out, drop the top copy in the letter box at the
kiosk, and take the bottom copy with you. (It might seem silly, but I have
had a ranger demand to see mine. It would have been a $300 fine if I didn't
have one. They want to know who's in there for reasons of safety.)

There are those who will only accept precise data and prefer a blank map if
> precise data is not available. The 'there be dragons' approach to mapping.
> I take the view that indicative data is better than no data! So I would map
> what I suspect to the best of my knowledge is the situation on the ground.
> Then when I go there I would add data - increase the precision of the
> existing data (mine or others). The important thing about this 'indicative
> data' is to include a good source statement ... so people can see how vague
> or accurate it is.

Data are never perfect. There is only "more wrong" and "less wrong".  There
are some administrative boundaries in the parks, even county lines, that
are marked as "indefinite" on the Geologic Survey maps because nobody has
ever surveyed them, or the survey traverses had unacceptable errors of
closure. Nobody much cares where the line between Essex and Franklin
counties is when it's in wilderness. But Essex and Franklin counties do
exist, and it would be peculiar not to show them on a map just because
nobody's ever managed to walk part of their border accurately.
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