[Tagging] Tag for a plateau or tableland?

Joseph Eisenberg joseph.eisenberg at gmail.com
Thu Apr 18 05:54:41 UTC 2019

I originally thought that just using the existing tag natural=plateau
was easiest, but a couple people have been in favor of using 2 new

1) natural=butte for hills with small flat tops surrounded by cliffs,
where the width of the flat area is less than the height of the hill.
Wikipedia: " an isolated hill with steep, often vertical sides and a
small, relatively flat top" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butte)
These buttes in Monument Valley are a very famous example:
Courthouse butte in Sedona:

2) natural=mesa for mountains and hills with flat tops surrounded by
cliffs, where the width of the flat tableland is greater than the
See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mesa "an elevated area of land with
a flat top and sides that are usually steep cliffs"
Eg these mesas in Canyonlands National Park, Utah:
Lower Table Rock:

These definitions are found in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butte -
"geographers use the rule of thumb that a mesa has a top that is wider
than its height, while a butte has a top that is narrower than its
height" (citing
as a source)

This would leave natural=plateau for any other "area of a highland,
usually consisting of relatively flat terrain, that is raised
significantly above the surrounding area, often with one or more sides
with steep slopes", including large highlands that are less well
defined, and small plateaus that lack the cliffs or steep slopes on
all sides that define a mesa or butte.

Thus mesas and buttes could be mapped as nodes or areas, but plateaus
could only be mapped as nodes.


On 4/18/19, Paul Allen <pla16021 at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Wed, 17 Apr 2019 at 19:11, Mark Wagner <mark+osm at carnildo.com> wrote:
>> I don't think there's an English English term for them -- England
>> barely has any topographical relief at all.  They even had to import
>> "mountain" from the French.
> The UK does have some topographical relief but not any plateaus that I can
> think of.  However,
> we Brits are familiar with the word - we stole various parts of the world
> from indigenous
> inhabitants which had that sort of topography.
> Unless there's something I'm missing, we're going to need to pick an
>> English import
>> from one of the countries that does have plateaus, mesas, or buttes.
> We may have to use all of those words.  From looking at the three relevant
> articles on
> Wikipedia, it appears that mesas are larger than buttes and plateaus are
> larger than mesas.
> Tableland is a synonym of plateau.  I'd say natural=plateau/mesa/butte.
> But I expect there will
> be many people who disagree with that - there are as many opinions on this
> list as there
> are subscribers.
> --
> Paul

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