[Tagging] The endless debate about "landcover" as a top-level tag

Christoph Hormann osm at imagico.de
Thu Jun 7 08:46:32 UTC 2018

On Thursday 07 June 2018, Jeroen Hoek wrote:
> >
> > The meanings of the key and value should make logical sense ..
> > other wise it is a convoluted thing that is being thrust on all
> > mappers and data consumers.
> > The meaning should not migrate over time by the misuse of the tag
> > by a number of mappers.
> Not only that, but it hampers mappers in learning how to correctly
> use them. If landuse consistently means "the primary use of the
> land", and you learn about landuse=residential and landuse=railway
> through the wiki, then a pattern emerges and you know what is going
> on when you encounter landuse=commercial and landuse=retail.

I hope you (referring to Martin, Warin and Jeroen here) realize that you 
are just perfectly proving Andy's point when he says:

> The tagging list does occasionally fall into the wiki-hole of trying
> to tell people how to map rather than communally deciding the best
> way to map something (including by looking at how people already
> do).  In any situation where you're trying to suggest that "everybody
> else is wrong" you need to get over it, and OSM in particular has
> thrived where other similar projects failed simply because people can
> always find a way of expressing a particular concept - they can
> create a way of representing it themselves without a "domain expert"
> creating it for them first. There may well be a concept out there
> waiting to be mapped that needs a "landcover" tag (and it might be
> "municipal greenery"), but it's not grass or trees.

There are tons of established tags in OSM where the key makes no sense 
at all.  Don't get me started on 'waterway' for example.  But that is 
how OSM works.  Get over it, accept that people have made bad choices 
of keys when choosing tags and concentrate on encouraging and helping 
people to choose suitable keys when newly creating tags (in a 
productive way of course, not just by rejecting any idea as bad).

As a side note:  The human brain in highly capable in dealing with 
inconsistent rules in the environment.  Most languages for example have 
grammatic and pronounciation rules with tons of exceptions (which is 
not unlike tags in OSM by the way) but people manage to deal with that.

Christoph Hormann

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