[Tagging] Drain vs. ditch

EthnicFood IsGreat ethnicfoodisgreat at gmail.com
Wed Jan 16 18:22:37 UTC 2019

> Date: Wed, 16 Jan 2019 15:38:13 +0300
> From: Eugene Podshivalov <yaugenka at gmail.com>
> To: "Tag discussion, strategy and related tools"
> 	<tagging at openstreetmap.org>
> Subject: Re: [Tagging] Drain vs ditch
>> Can you jump over a drain or ditch? I find the jump over information well
>> chosen for streams and most important property when actually walking in an
>> area and trying to find a way through.
> In the place where I live drainage ditches are 1-5 meters wide and you can
> hardly jump over them. Even if they are 1m wide you would not risk jumping
> over them because they are located in wetland and have swampy banks. They
> usually have a lot of culverts to cross them over.
> Somehow it is not satisfactory to distinguish irrigation from drainage for
>> lined watercourses on the main level
> You are right, irrigation ditches can be lined along their way to a field
> but when on a field they may be unlined to let water soak into the land.
> Drainage ditches are always unlined because they collect water from land.
> Drains are always lined (or should be lined on good terms) because they
> carry liquid away without letting it soak into the ground.
> If you find the above statements correct (I don't know, may be in other
> countries it works differently), then the "lined" characteristic lets you
> distingish between drainage ditches and drains easily. The only thing we
> need to resolve yet is to let irrigation ditches be linied. Here is how we
> can complement the definition of ditch to respect this.
> ditch - Small artificial free flow waterways used for irrigating or
> draining land as well as for deviding land. Irrigation ditches can be lined
> or unlined, drainage ditches are usually unlined. Consider using
> waterway=canal for large irrigation or land drainage channels. Consider
> using waterway=drain for lined superflous liquid drainage channels.
> PS: I'm not a native English speaker, so probably someone could formulate
> it in a more beautiful way.
> Cheers, Eugene
> [...]

I'm glad your definition does not require ditches be unlined.  In the US 
we have many highway ditches that are unlined, except for the steepest 
part, typically where they empty into a stream. These areas are 
sometimes lined with concrete to prevent erosion. If I were to map one 
of these, I would consider the whole thing a ditch.  I would not 
consider part of it a "drain," simply because it's lined.


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