[Tagging] Gorges, Canyons, Ravines: natural=valley or new tag?

Joseph Eisenberg joseph.eisenberg at gmail.com
Wed Aug 14 03:48:07 UTC 2019

Apparently in the UK and Canada both Gorge and Ravine are used for narrow
valleys with steep sides, according to Wikipedia.

So will we have natural=canyon/gorge/ravine/defile as synonyms, or can we
pick the best “British English” term and use it for all 3.

See natural=cape, used for points/headlands/etc, and natural=bay, used for

(There is also natural=gully, but these are small features, much narrower
and shallower than a valley, and usual formed by different processes: local
surface erosion of soft materials like soil, so they are more similar to
stream banks than to a valley or gorge)


On Wed, Aug 14, 2019 at 12:28 PM Andrew Harvey <andrew.harvey4 at gmail.com>

> To me a canyon is narrow with steep cliffs on either side (a place where
> you'd go canyoning https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canyoning) and a gorge
> is much wider and may have less steep sides.... but then you have the Grand
> Canyon in the US which is wide and less steep sides.
> I'd vote for separate tags natural=canyon, etc. Because a valley is very
> different to a canyon so you'd want to be explicit about this.
> As an aside, I think route=canyon is good for documenting recreational
> canyoning routes.
> On Wed, 14 Aug 2019 at 12:25, Joseph Eisenberg <joseph.eisenberg at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> A few months ago we discussed how to tag gorges, canyons and ravines.
>> These are steep-sided valleys, sometimes with cliffs.
>> Myself and at least one other person were in favor of using
>> natural=valley, + valley=ravine / valley=gorge / valley=canyon.
>> However, there is already a non-English wiki page for natural=canyon, and
>> a new English page for natural=gorge - the author of the gorge page thought
>> that he would like a single tag, rather than a secondary tag with
>> natural=valley.
>> This would be a little more work for database users, and also you would
>> have to pick natural=valley vs =gorge/canyon/etc.
>> Also, Wikipedia basically says ravine, gorge and canyon are synonyms,
>> though as an American from the West, I tend to think of canyons as having
>> vertical, rock cliffs, vs ravines and gorges as less steep, but this may be
>> a dialectal difference.
>> Thoughts on this?
>> -Joseph
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