[Tagging] Other missing landform tags

Kevin Kenny kevin.b.kenny at gmail.com
Mon Apr 22 14:01:38 UTC 2019

On Sun, Apr 21, 2019 at 10:39 AM Joseph Eisenberg
<joseph.eisenberg at gmail.com> wrote:
> > Col or gap (use saddle? And that is in OSM) = a col is the lowest point on a
> > mountain ridge between two peaks.
> Yes, "col" is the French word for saddle, a low point on a ridge.
> A gap is also usually a saddle (or sometimes a mountainpass=yes on a
> highway, sometimes a valley or gorge)

Around here, the locals use 'pass', 'gap' and 'notch' pretty much
interchangeably and the mountaineers use 'col' as a generic word. (The
locals who aren't into mountaineering might not even know the word.)
"Jimmy Dolan Notch is the col between Twin Mountain and Indian Head."

The mountains around here (which are actually arĂȘtes but only a
geologist cares) have all sorts of nouns in their proper names.
'...berg' ('Wittenberg' never has 'Mountain' postpended by the locals,
no matter what the USGS maps say), '... Mountain', 'Mount ...', '...
Cap', '... Dome', '... Head', '... Knob,' '... Peak', '... Point,'
'... Top' are all common but don't really say anything about the
characteristics, except that the 'Points' tend to lie on the
Escarpment. (Visitors getting their first sight of Blackhead, Black
Dome, and Thomas Cole Mountain frequently remark on how similar they
look, standing side by side.) There are two that are simply named
'High Peak'; the mountaineers find it necessary to distinguish them
and attach the names of nearby features: 'Kaaterskill HIgh Peak',
'Windham High Peak'.  Farther north, there are a few that simply have
unique names: the 'Sawteeth' and the 'Gothics' come to mind, and I
never seem to hear anyone append 'Mountain' to those names. The name
'Tahawus' is beginning to displace 'Mount Marcy.'

> Natural=gully sounds fine. I know mountain climbers talk about these
> often, but there isn't a clear distinction from a gully or small
> valley.

As with 'col' and some others, I trace these terms in English largely
to a mountaineering book that Yvon Chouinard wrote in the late 1970s,
which I would argue is what started the modern popularity of ice
climbing.  I can't remember ever hearing those terms used by climbers
in, say 1975, but by the 1980's all the climbers were slinging them

> > ravine = A deep narrow steep sided valley.
> I would think these could be either natural=gully or natural=valley or
> natural=gorge depending on size?

That's what I do.  I tend to do it only if the valley has a distinct
name from any stream that runs in it, partly because I don't have a
good rendering yet for these landforms, and depend on the contour
lines and hill shading in the maps I produce.

> > Fen = one of the main types of wetland, fens are a kind of mire. Tag as a
> > wetland?
> wetland=fen is approved, but much less common than wetland=bog - so I
> suspect that many fens are mapped as natural=wetland + wetland=bog -
> https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Tag:wetland%3Dfen

Around here, I've been assured by a geologist friend that some of the
so-called bogs are in fact fens. For various reasons, around me both
bogs and fens tend to be low-pH blackwater mires, with similar
ecosystems. The acid-tolerant bryophytes, leatherleaf, and cranberry
tend to predominate even in systems with enough nutrients to support a
sedge fen or an alder thicket. I couldn't distinguish bog from fen in
these mires without a detailed drainage study.  I suspect that few
mappers would distinguish ombrotrophic from minerotrophic systems, or
a lagg from a fen. So as long as we *have* the tags, knowledgeable
mappers can use them and other mappers can at least identify that the
peatlands are there.

> > tarn = A tarn (or corrie loch) is a mountain lake, pond or pool, formed in a
> > cirque excavated by a glacier. Use OSM lake ???
> +1 natural=water +water=lake - if you want, you could add lake=tarn as well?

Sounds good to me. The glacial water forms near me that I find
problematic for tagging are the paternoster lakes, which sometimes
bear names that are simply 'Essex Chain of Lakes', 'Fulton Chain of
Lakes', etc. and the individual ones have singularly uninformative
names like 'First Lake', 'Second Lake', and on up... there's a
'Thirteenth Lake' in one of the chains.

> > Peaks are not necessarily mountains or hills!!!
> > The highest mountain in Australia, Mt Koscciszko is a bump in a bumpy
> > landscape .. it is not a 'peak'.
> A natural=peak is any summit or peak; that is, any point that is
> higher than the surroundings. Wikipedia: "A summit is a point on a
> surface that is higher in elevation than all points immediately
> adjacent to it. The topographic terms acme, apex, peak (mountain
> peak), and zenith are synonymous."

This. A 'peak' surely doesn't need to be an isolated formation. Nor
does it need to be a true mountain. In fact, none of the 'Catskill
Mountains' is geologically a mountain. They're all arĂȘtes in a heavily
glaciated, dissected plateau. Nor does a 'peak' need to be
particularly sharp; in fact, one of the 'High Peak's in the Catskills
formerly bore the name 'Round Top', now given to a lesser but
similarly-shaped rock to its west.

> If a mountain has a name that refers to the whole range rather than a
> single peak, natural=ridge often works.

Also, where the peaks are named distinctly, referring to the highest
peak by the name of the whole mountain is a common synecdoche. People
tend to speak of 'Katahdin' in Maine, or 'Mount Adams' in New
Hampshire, and use 'Baxter Peak' or 'Mount John Adams' only when
needing to refer to the highest summit in contradistinction to the
subsidiary peaks.

More information about the Tagging mailing list