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

Michael Patrick geodesy99 at gmail.com
Sun Jun 10 06:10:26 UTC 2018

 >>> I wouldn't mind if all the existing tags were replaced tomorrow with a
>>> brand new set of "intelligently-designed" keys.
>> Designed by... a visionary leader? A board of experts? A random draw?

Yes, boards of experts. Subject matter experts.

Almost every significant theme that could possibly go into OSM has already
has some sort of classification / attribute ( 'tagging' ) schemes suitable
for 'whatever' scale, from the simple to the complex, some of them dating
back over a hundred years.

   - Some, like the *APA Land-Based Classification Standards
   <https://www.planning.org/lbcs/standards/> (LBCS)* have been in
   development since before 1965. The LBCS can be used recursively through
   smaller levels of detail, so if you want, it's possible to describe a
   janitorial closet in an federal office rented from a commercial landlord in
   a historical building on land held in trust by a private foundation as part
   of a state university.
   - The* I**nternational Electrotechnical Commission* glossary (
   Electropedia ) has illustrated descriptions of anything attached to a power
   network, some already translated in multiple languages, for example overhead
   line tower structures
   - There are *NAICIS* ( SIC ) codes with their European and international
   equivalents, with codings for establishment sizes, and supply chain roles (
   wholesale, retail, etc. ) like our local coffee shop
   - Outdoor display advertising ('signs') has an association with a
   typology of products from sidewalk switchboards to giant building sized LED
   billboards. Every scientific domain also has their hierarchical naming
   schemes for natural features, along wit efforts to reconcile the various
   domains like the *European Union's Inspire
   <https://inspire.ec.europa.eu/inspire-principles/9> *effort. ( short
   intro <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xew6qI-6wNk> ).
   - Over the past thirty years or so, a lot of people have been making
   serious efforts to *converge* on common terminology and meanings in
   their fields, and also between their fields, and tools such as crosswalks
   to highlight *similarities* and preserve *differences* where it matters.
   - One of the tools I use is *Suggested Upper Merged Ontology* (*SUMO*) -
   if I search on the word 'bus'
   it not only gives me the expected meaning, but a lot of other possible
   meanings ( which can cause side effects ).

This is only to answer the 'Designed by ... ?' comment. The complete list
of standard objections about complexity, interfaces, use by ordinary folks
has a considerable volume of academic work available on Google Scholar, if
anyone wanted to apply it to OSM.

A huge thanks for everyone who contributed to this discussion, I learned a
lot about OSM.

Michael Patrick
Data Ferret
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