[Tagging] Feature Proposal - RFC - Tag:natural=mesa and Tag:natural=butte

Joseph Eisenberg joseph.eisenberg at gmail.com
Sat Apr 27 07:22:48 UTC 2019

>> https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Proposed_features/Tag:natural%3Dmesa
> need to make it clear in the description how it differs from plateau/butte
>> https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Proposed_features/Tag:natural%3Dbutte
> need to make it clear in the description how it differs from plateau/mesa

A mesa can be large. The defining characteristic is that the top is
flat, but  it is surrounded by cliffs: it looks like a table-top.

I've tried to make it clear how butte and mesa differ:

A butte is a hill where the peak is surrounded by cliffs, but the
diameter of the circle of cliffs is less than the height of hill. The
top is flatter than the cliffs around it, but not necessarily

In contrast, a mesa is wider or longer than it is high, and the top
must be flat, and surrounded by cliffs.

Perhaps I need to add an image showing a comparison.

>> https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Proposed_features/Tag:natural%3Dplateau
> The smallest horizontal dimension of a plateau could be 1.6 km ( 1 mile).
> This would distinguish it from mesa/butte.

I don't think there is a clear definition for plateau. That's why I
created the proposal for natural=mesa and natural=butte, which have
clear definitions and can be mapped as an area in some cases.

While some dictionaries claim that a plateau should be mostly or
partially surrounded by an escarpment, some features that are named
plateaus do not have this characteristic, and are more like high
plains or valleys.

I don't actually intend to vote on natural=plateau - the only reason I
made a proposal is that this tag is already in use, and I think it is
useful to document how it is used.

Also it is a good idea to clarify that vague features like plateaus
should only be mapped as nodes, rather than as areas.

More information about the Tagging mailing list