[Tagging] Tag for a plateau or tableland?

Andrew Harvey andrew.harvey4 at gmail.com
Thu Apr 18 13:38:23 UTC 2019

It may be worth having different definitions, but I did want to point out
there are many cases in OSM where different things are all tagged the same,
which I generally think is a good thing (easier for mappers to find the
right tag and less disagreement on which tag to use). Just some food for

brook, creek, stream, rivulet -> stream
bay, cove -> bay
peak, knob, hill, mound, mountain, pinnacle, tops -> peak

I checked some local Australian definitions of these terms below. To be
honest, as a non-geologist I find it hard to work out which tag to use,
unless of course you're just basing it what's used in the name. Calling
them all plateau would be easier, but I wouldn't stop people who know more
about geology from mapping down to more detail.

A flat table-like upland, which falls away steeply on all
sides (escarpments). It is larger in area than a ‘butte’ but
smaller than a ‘plateau’.

A small residual of a mesa. The level top being the upper
surface of the hard stratum but little lowered by erosion.
The slopes on all sides are escarpments and its maximum
horizontal dimension in any one direction is about 400

An elevated tract of comparatively flat or level land,
having a large part of its total surface at or near the
summit level. Its local relief may be very great in cases
where it is cut by gorges, or it may have a small local
relief like a plain in cases where erosion has not been
severe. Its minimum horizontal dimension in any
direction generally exceeds 1.6km.

An elevated tract of land with a generally level surface of
considerable extent, generally with a minimum area of
2,500 hectares.

On Thu, 18 Apr 2019 at 17:33, Paul Allen <pla16021 at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Thu, 18 Apr 2019 at 07:09, Andrew Harvey <andrew.harvey4 at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> This does make it harder for mappers to decide which one they should use,
>> but if in doubt they can just pick one they think is best.
> The local convention as to what it is may help them decide.
> An alternative is natural=plateau + plateau=butte|mesa or something like
>> that.
> The problem with that is that plateau, butte and mesa refer to (depending
> upon which Wikipedia
> article you look at) either different absolute sizes or different
> height/area ratios.  And while
> plateau=butte and plateau=mesa may not offend too many sensibilities,
> plateau=plateau looks
> rather silly.  And you can't use plateau=yes because that might be used
> for "it's flat but I can't
> tell if it's a butte or a mesa."
> --
> Paul
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