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

Tod Fitch tod at fitchdesign.com
Thu Jun 7 19:13:22 UTC 2018

> On Jun 7, 2018, at 11:13 AM, Michael Andersen <osm at hjart.dk> wrote:
> For many years now I've been pretty happy to use landuse=forest pretty much 
> everywhere I found a group of trees. Yes, in some cases the semantics irked me 
> a bit, but landuse=forest always rendered fine. I used what worked for me.
> On many occasions however I've seen newbies remove or retag landuse=forest 
> areas as the very first thing they do after registering. "It's not a forest" 
> (whatever that means) they argue, even if the area in question is completely 
> covered with trees and sometimes even has "forest" as part of the name. On 
> some occasions it's been a real hassle trying to explain that landuse=forest 
> basically just means that the area is covered by trees, no more, no less, and 
> that we use it because this is what renders, not because the semantics are 
> perfect. 
> So what I'm trying to illustrate is that while I'm happy to use landuse=forest 
> myself, I do see a practical problem with it; Newbies taking it a bit too 
> literally. If landcover=trees would render, I imagine it would make my job a 
> lot easier.

Your use of landuse=forest is exactly opposite of my interpretation of previous discussions on this email list.

I happily started out tagging areas covered with trees as landuse=forest until there was a long thread here about how that was incorrect. There was a very vocal contingent that stressed that landuse=forest was for areas being managed to produce wood products and that one ought to use something like natural=wood if one simply wanted to show there were trees on it.

And then I came across areas that were tree covered but definitely not natural and not something that should be tagged as an orchard, etc. This has led me to prefer landcover=trees and landcover=* in general to describe what I see on the land without worrying if it is natural or not.

Now, for tree covered areas I use:


I feel that the natural=wood is tagging for the renderer but I do it anyway. And I feel that landcover=trees is a more accurate description of what is there and hope that someday it will be rendered on the standard map.


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