[Tagging] Tools and mass-retagging

Leo Gaspard osm-ml at leo.gaspard.io
Fri Jun 8 13:51:11 UTC 2018

On 06/08/2018 02:37 PM, Jeroen Hoek wrote:
> On 08-06-18 13:37, Leo Gaspard wrote:
>>   * for all objects with natural=wood, add landcover=trees
>>   * for all objects with landuse=forest, add landcover=trees
> Why not consider documenting that natural=wood and landuse=forest imply
> landcover=trees instead? It seems like a sensible default (similar to
> how access=yes is the default for access to generic highways such as
> highway=unclassified). Any exceptions can be explicitly mapped.
> This is similar to how landuse=grass (when used to indicate an area that
> is used to grow grass) would imply landcover=grass.

That's a possibility indeed, but then all tools that make use of the OSM
database must add this implication.

With ~70500 keys currently on taginfo, I don't think it's reasonable to
say all tools should support all implications, and keeping implications
to a minimum sounds like a worthy goal. Having implications for eg.
access=* makes sense, because there is no other usable logical use of them.

On the other hand, once a mass-retag would have been made that adds
landcover=trees to landuse=forest, the landuse=forest use could be
deprecated and would naturally slowly phase-out, thus simplifying the

Basically, having an open tagging scheme makes sense for quick
development or tagging new things. I'm not saying it should be removed.
But once something becomes a “recognized” use case (as “this place is
covered with trees” is, currently handled by natural=wood or
landuse=forest), I think it would make sense to at least attempt to
“normalize” them. Potentially including mass-retags to map
previously-used tags to the standardized version.

Then again, I'm so new to OSM that you can consider this an outsider's
opinion who just thinks that the database is way more scattered than it
needs to be, and this makes tool development harder to make complete,
thus weakening the ecosystem when each tool supports a slightly
different set of tags.

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