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

Blake Girardot bgirardot at gmail.com
Wed Nov 23 00:32:12 UTC 2016

On Tue, Nov 22, 2016 at 9:30 AM, Greg Troxel <gdt at lexort.com> wrote:
>>> On Nov 22, 2016 8:41 PM, "Blake Girardot" <bgirardot at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>     I have worked with folks doing ground surveys of helicopter landing
>>>     zones during emergency response.
>>>     These are ground truthed locations, observed by active search and
>>>     rescue helicopter pilots collecting the basic minimum critical ground
>>>     survey items for an HLZ for their aircraft type.
>>>     They collect the data and provide it in the public domain and I would
>>>     like to map it.
>>>     I think the vast majority of the items collected are already well
>>>     supported in OSM, trees, light poles, ground type, area, grade,
>>>     landuse.
>>>     What would be the best way to map this data? Does it need its own
>>>     namespace? Just map  regular OSM tagging and render the data myself
>>>     custom?
> For things that exist and are describable independent of caring about
> helicopters, definitely you should use regular tags.  If there is some
> feature of interest that doesn't have established tagging, you'll have
> to invent it.  But choose tags so that anyone who cares about the thing
> in question can be happy with, rather than only people looking at the
> thing from the helicopter viewpoint.  (Easier said than done, I know.)

This is very insightful, and excellent rule of thumb to keep in mind
about keeping the right perspective, the osm mappers perspective.

>>>     I think issues of does the data belong in OSM are separate issues, I
>>>     am just interested in how to map it and tag it well. I would be
>>>     mapping nothing but ground truthed data that we already map every day,
>>>     trees and light poles and ground type, landuse. It is publicly
>>>     available data (CC0).
> Sure, that's fine, but beware that you are perhaps verging on an import.

For sure not an import in my mind (6 points at the moment,hand mapped
from a ground survey form which includes a picture of the HLZ from
directly overhead), but happy to take the consensus here if I should
treat it as an import and hopefully with the tagging figured out, any
"near import" would be generally accepted through that full process.

Thank you very much for helping get this sorted out.

>>>     Other data could and should be added specific to HLZ's so we will need
>>>     to discuss any non traditional tags that I would like to see be used
>>>     for the HLZs mapped.
> Yes.  Here, I think it's mostly "this is a landing zone".
> Tom Pfeifer <t.pfeifer at computer.org> writes:
>> aeroway=helipad should be used only for built-up infrastructure, not
>> for emergency places that have a different use normally.
> It sounds like in the Korean mountain case that in my cases there are
> on-ground markings at these sites.  That might be an intermediate case,
> not a formal helipad but a pre-prepared and marked LZ.  I have also seen
> these in the US, but not that often.  One case was in a big paved area
> at the end of a road used to access a frequently-used steep trail.  It
> was pretty obvious they were expecting trouble.
>> An emergency landing place is nothing but a predefined clear space, it
>> could be a soccer pitch or a big lawn in a park in normal situations.
> Yes.  My town probably has a half dozen of these.  They are used for
> medical evacuation helicopters (for people extricated from bad car
> crashes who are iffy on making it, basically).
>> There is already "emergency=landing_site" defined and used 1800 times
>> that seems to fit the purpose of Blake exactly?
>> https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Tag:emergency%3Dlanding_site
> That seems to fit, although the image has an H on the ground.
> So perhaps we need
>   emergency=landing_site means not a formal helipad that may or may not
>   have some markings
>   landing_site=unmarked means there is no on-ground markings for the
>   pilot. (In these cases fire/police vehicles often make a circle to show
>   the safe area and light it, because it's often dark and the
>   trees/power lines cannot be seen.)
>   landing_site=marked means there is a stone box or ring or a painted
>   circle with an H, or something that is obviously intended to let the
>   pilot know the surveyed-safe area to land
> Since a helicopter can land anywhere big enough and unobstructed enough,
> more or less, I think there's merit in having a tag (or defining
> emergency=landing_site to be this) to denote places that are on a list
> of preplaned emergency landing sites maintained by the relevant
> authorities.
> The above comment will bring out the verifiabilty extremists.  My point
> is that it would be nice for the local fire departments to be able to
> use OSM, and that means having medflight LZs as well as water sources
> (ponds with standpipes) etc.  It's possible to verify the LZs by talking
> to the fire department people, and the reality that is being mapped is
> not "this space is big enough for a helicopter" but "the fire department
> has this place on their list of LZs".
> So I would therefore add
>   landing_site:source = official
> when the site is known to be on the pre-planned list of some emergency
> service, or something like that.
> _______________________________________________
> Tagging mailing list
> Tagging at openstreetmap.org
> https://lists.openstreetmap.org/listinfo/tagging

More information about the Tagging mailing list