[Tagging] How might we best map emergency helicopter landing zones?

Tom Pfeifer t.pfeifer at computer.org
Tue Nov 22 23:48:51 UTC 2016

On 22.11.2016 15:52, Alberto Nogaro wrote:

> I had always thought that "a large H painted on it visible from the air" was enough to mark the spot as aeroway=helipad, even if the place is mainly conceived for emergency purposes.

As we just learned from the Korean mountains example, some light 
markings of a pre-planned emergency site does not constitute a helipad.

Also, if I paint a "H" on my roof, it means nothing initially and does 
not automatically constitute a helipad.

> And that emergency=landing_site had to be used for places without any marking, just flat and suitable for landing (either by airplanes and helicopters).

No, please, if being flat were the only criterion, I would need to tag 
each and every soccer pitch and public lawn. Thus it need some 
preselection. When working for a volunteer mountain rescue team, we had 
a list of potential places where we could expect a chopper to land; 
those were carefully pre-checked on the ground for potential hazards.

> Now it looks like a large visible and permanent H, as a "predefined" but not a "purpose-built infrastructure", should rather be marked as emergency=landing_site?

Maybe the "purpose-built" goes a bit to far and causes misunderstanding, 
but I would consider a helipad to have some regular use, e.g. to receive 
hospital patients, to serve a country's president or the CEO of a large 
company, etc.

> And what about places which have nothing more than a visible and permanent H, but can also be used for purposes different from an emergency (for example, supply materials not transportable by other means)?

The H means helipad, not emergency. Thus of course a helipad can serve 
different purposes, ranging from emergencies over material transport, 
CEO traffic to touristic flights...

> Furthermore, how do we specify if an emergency=landing_site is conceived for helicopters or airplanes as well?

You could describe that in sub-tags.

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