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

Peter Elderson pelderson at gmail.com
Thu Jun 7 20:58:05 UTC 2018

For me it was the first confrontation too. I got "don't tag for the
renderer", apparently that was a mortal sin, and in the same message "just
tag landuse=forest even if it isn't landuse and it is not forest, it's just
to show the trees". Then when the trees are neatly organized in a grid just
like in an orchard, (except they just don't produce edible crop), which
shows up on the map exactly like it appears on the ground, it's the deadly
sin again...
This puts good people off, I can tell you.

I think "tagging for the renderer" should not be used in this way. The
renderer is very important, without rendering there is nothing. You always
tag for the renderer, for some kind of rendering.

On the other hand, consistent tagging what's on the ground is important,
without considering the exact rendering. It should alway be renderable,
though, which is helped by consistency, and changes should not be radical.
Always consider the problems involved in rendering a database that's alway
a mix of old and new insights. Installed base is a big consideration.

I think in this case installed base and the rendering of it remain
completely intact. The usage of the more consistent and logical tagging is
just blocked by it not being rendered. I would like to appeal to whoever it
concerns, to support facilitating the rendering of landcover for grass and
trees, while continuing support for landuse=grass and landuse=forest. Then
see if it will gain momentum for new tagging and with new taggers. I for
one have no doubt that it will, but if it doesn't, just discourage it in
the wiki and let it die.

I have not heard any technical objections, so I take it that is not really
the problem? If I were a programmer I would  probably just translate
landcover to landuse and map trees to the same outcome as forest. (You can
probably tell I'm not cut out to be a renderer...) Other landcovers, not
rendered until the experiment is evaluated, say in a year.

2018-06-07 21:13 GMT+02:00 Tod Fitch <tod at fitchdesign.com>:

> > 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:
> natural=wood
> landcover=trees
> 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.
> Cheers!
> _______________________________________________
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> Tagging at openstreetmap.org
> https://lists.openstreetmap.org/listinfo/tagging

Vr gr Peter Elderson
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