[Tagging] Tourism=attraction: feature or secondary tag?

Christoph Hormann osm at imagico.de
Wed Dec 5 10:40:34 UTC 2018

On Wednesday 05 December 2018, Joseph Eisenberg wrote:
> [...]
> This is reasonable; many features can be of interest to tourists, and
> tourism=attraction doesn't provide much information. Is it an area of
> shops? A beach? A theme park? A historic monument?
> However, there is a preset in the JOSM editor that allows
> tourism=attraction to be used as the top-level tag.
> Is it necessary to use tourism=attraction as the only tag for certain
> features?

Well - the main problem with tourism=attraction is that it has no 
consistent application hence no real meaning as a tag so you can't 
really say if it is a standalone tag or not.

What you can say is that:

* it is widely used as the only characterizing tag of a feature (usually 
just tourism=attraction + name).
* it is not a verifiable tag in either variant, the closest you could 
interpret it to mean is indicating some kind of wikipedia-like 
* it is often used as a 'lazy tag' - i.e. used by mappers who did not 
want to look for or to invent a more meaningful characterization.

> (Currently, tourism=attraction alone is rendered only as a name label
> on the Openstreetmap-carto style, without an border, area colour or
> icon. Either we need to add an icon or outline, or we can remove this
> from the list of rendered features. If the wiki is correct then it
> can be removed, because properly-tagged features should have another,
> more specific tag that can be rendered)

It would certainly be good to stop rendering it to incentivize mappers 
to choose more meaningful tags instead but it also should be said that 
this is essentially a case of 'damage done' - the tag is already 
meaningless, stopping to render it would help better tagging in the 
future, it would not in any way add meaning to the tag as it is already 

We have however many other tags where OSM-Carto recently added or 
changed rendering in ways that provide mapping incentives agaist the 
established meaning of the tags.  This and the resulting dilution of 
existing value and precision in OSM data is going to be a much bigger 

Christoph Hormann

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