[Tagging] Request for new tag "natural=upland" (as way) or enabling "way" for "place" tags

Greg Troxel gdt at ir.bbn.com
Fri Jun 10 14:46:52 UTC 2016

Martin Koppenhoefer <dieterdreist at gmail.com> writes:

(This is just a longer note about non-admin-boundary settlements and why
they are particularly tricky in a lot of New England, sort of separate
From the node/line/way discussion.)

>> Il giorno 09 giu 2016, alle ore 18:50, Christoph Hormann <chris_hormann at gmx.de> ha scritto:
>> If you can verifiably map a settlement as a linear way you can also map 
>> it as an area.  Usually neither is the case so most populated places 
>> are mapped as nodes.
> I think that most settlements could be mapped as areas, there's often
> a border where many people would agree that inside is the settlement
> and outside is not

In rural areas, I think that's true.  But around me (mostly built up
because of proximity to Boston), it isn't true and the borders are very
hard to know.  Even the people that live there will find it hard and
disagree and tell you that the question doesn't quite make sense.

As a concrete example, consider the "hamlet" of South Acton:


This is not an administative boundary (which would be "Acton",
admin_level=8), but a name for a populated place.

This place name is longstanding, probably dating to before the American
Revolution.  It appears on USGS topo maps.  It has a railway station of
the same name.  It is known to to the locals.  I believe that the
railway went there (~1846) and has a stop because the village was

To those who think of South Acton as the historical village, it's clear
that the buildings on either side of the railroad bridge are in the
village.  But as you go away from the center, it's very hard to draw a
line.  (There's a further complication that the intersection of 27/111,
traditionally "Kelly's Corner", is often called South Acton, as it is
more significant commerce-wise today.)

There are many other examples, where what used to be a village with very
little on the road to the next village is now a place where there are a
clump of older houses among a sea of houses covering the whole town.

Still, it's entirely reasonable to try to draw a polygon, as long as its
done by the locals over beer.  And also to have a node, which is far
easier to place uncontroversially, as there is usually an obvious
cluster of houses much older than the rest, and useful even if there is
a polygon.
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