[Tagging] Coastline for rivers, estuaries and mangroves?

Joseph Eisenberg joseph.eisenberg at gmail.com
Mon Sep 3 14:22:08 UTC 2018

I recently searched for clear guidance about where a river estuary should
be tagged with natural=coastline rather than water=river or riverbank.
While I found Imagico's proposal (
it seems that it was not brought to a vote, and there was some controversy.

Recently another user was concered by the apperance of a waterway=river
within natural=coastline, and asked about this, but we don't have a clear

In my case, I've been debating whether to change the tagging of the
coastline in southwestern New Guinea (Papua, Indonesia) where many large
tropical rivers meet the Arafura sea among mangroves. The heavy rainfall in
this area means that the rivers have a pronounced current. But the water is
brackish and certainly tidally-influenced far inland. Right now, it seems
odd that many patches of mangroves are made into "islands" by the use of
natural=coastline, though locally they would be considered part of the
larger landmass of New Guinea.

See: https://www.openstreetmap.org/#map=11/-4.8806/136.9339 ; the coastline
is quite noticable because it has also been tagged as the administrative

What will be most helpful for data users and map renderers? Should the
coastline extend inland many kilometers, to where the mangroves end? This
will create a large number of apparent islands, and small rivers will be
entirely part of the "ocean" beyond the coastline. Should it be down the
the mouth of the river, to keep the coastline as compact as possible?

What about huge estuaries like the Saint Lawrence and the Rio De La Plata?
Should there be a vote on Imagico's proposal, or a new proposal?
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