[Tagging] How to tag small canals?

Paul Allen pla16021 at gmail.com
Fri Aug 17 11:40:38 UTC 2018

On Fri, Aug 17, 2018 at 12:16 PM, SelfishSeahorse <selfishseahorse at gmail.com
> wrote:

> Actually, it's only drain that doesn't seem to make sense
> semantically, but ditch seems to be fine for smaller canals used for
> drainage and irrigation, at least according to the definitions by
> Wikipedia[^1] and the Cambridge Dictionary[^2].

As used by Ordnance Survey in the UK, "drain" is what most of us (even in
the UK) think of as a ditch.

I'm not sure if a (smaller) mill race can also be called a ditch,

I wouldn't think of a mill race as a ditch.  To my mind a ditch is not
about transporting water from A to B and
especially not for generating mechanical power.  I wouldn't call a mill
race a canal, either, but it seems to be
closer in definition than ditch is.

> but i think it makes sense to have at least two tags for man-made channels
> of different width.

Not if width=* can do the job.  Not if it's possible to draw an outline of
the bank.  Both are possible.  It's just that
current OSM carto doesn't honour them in this situation.

* waterway=creek - small to medium-sized natural stream (1-3 m wide)

That is not UK usage.  See https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/creek

The only word I can find meaning large stream is "beck."  Or you could have
"brook" for small stream.  Giving
either river/beck/stream or river/stream/brook.  Or we just stick with
river/stream.  Especially as we don't have a
meaningful definition of the difference (how far can you jump).

All this is complicated by the fact that what starts out as a brook often
turns into a stream which can turn into a river, and is
named "River X" or "Afon X" (if you're Welsh") all the way from the mouth
to the dripping tap in somebody's back yard (spot
the old TV comedy reference).

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