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

osm.tagging at thorsten.engler.id.au osm.tagging at thorsten.engler.id.au
Wed Jun 13 09:31:08 UTC 2018

For me, the situation (as it should be, not as it is) is pretty clear.




Landuse describes how the land is used. 


residential, industrial, commercial, retail, military, farmland, forestry, ...


None of these have a fixed implication of what's on the land.




Landcover describes what's on the land.


grass, scrub, trees, concrete, ...


None of these have a fixed implication if the landcover is natural or man made or managed.



Any point on the map has one actual landuse and one actual landcover.



You can have an area tagged as landuse=forestry and inside that area (or partially overlapping it) you have a mix of areas with landcover trees, grass, scrub, rock, whatever.



If you have some trees in a backyard, that's landcover=trees in landuse=residential.



If you have a forest that's just been completely logged and is just starting to regrow, that's landuse=forestry, landcover=scrub (probably, I'm sure someone can come up with a proper sequence of landcovers for an area that goes from trees to stumps and back to trees).



That landuse=forestry is what landuse=forest should be, but it has been completely burned by misuse to paint the map green and there is no way to recover from that really.


And landuse=grass doesn't make any sense at all. I'm not aware of any place where "grass" would be an appropiate land*use*. 


If you are growing grass for animals, that's farmland or meadow. If you are growing it because you want to sell it as rollout grassm that's farmland. 


If it's beside a road, that's either landuse=highway (if it's still part of the public right of way) or part of whatever landuse (residential, commercial, ...) describes the area outside the road.


If it's "municipal greenery" it's probably either landuse=highway (if it's still part of the public right of way) or landuse=recreation_ground.


No matter what, *grass* is not a land*use*. It's what happens to *cover* the land to fullfil some other *use*.



From: Martin Koppenhoefer <dieterdreist at gmail.com> 
Sent: Wednesday, 13 June 2018 19:24
To: Tag discussion, strategy and related tools <tagging at openstreetmap.org>
Subject: Re: [Tagging] The endless debate about "landcover" as a top-level tag


btw., we have only been discussing the term forest for landcover=trees, but there are other places where trees grow, e.g. orchards, groves, copses, bosks, thickets. We do have orchard as a tag, but we do not have anything specific for copses and groves (some might be mapped as orchards?). Thickets are generally mapped as natural=scrub? Bosk is a synonymon for grove?


What about the distinction "forest" and "wood"? Is a wood smaller and a forest denser?





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