[Tagging] Multiple tags for one purpose

Richard Fairhurst richard at systemed.net
Mon Aug 26 13:41:58 UTC 2019

Valor Naram wrote:
> some long time ago I wondered why we have two tags for one 
> purpose sometimes? For example: A mapper can use either the 
> tag `contact:phone`or `phone` to add a phone number to the 
> database. I think this makes the database dirty and for 
> developers - like me - it's annoying to support two or more tags 
> for one purpose.

As an annoyance in consuming OSM data, I find this ranks about #936 on the
list tbh.

If you really want to spend your life going through the bulk edit process
500 times then knock yourself out, but the effect it'll have is minimal.
Developers have to cope with synonyms anyway, because mappers express nuance
with new values, but most data consumers aren't interested in the nuance.
(For example, in cycle.travel, I treat access values of =yes, =designated,
=official, =permissive the same.)

If you want to make it easier for developers to consume OSM tags, the best
way would be to write and curate documentation covering the 90% cases,
ideally using a github-like PR model that's resistant to getting sidetracked
by the 10% (the OSM wiki problem). The second best way would be to code
libraries in common scripting languages (maybe drawing on common data
tables) that make parsing OSM tags easier.


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