[Tagging] Tagging of State Parks in the US

Kevin Kenny kevin.b.kenny at gmail.com
Sun Jul 28 21:33:56 UTC 2019

On Sun, Jul 28, 2019 at 11:38 AM Paul Allen <pla16021 at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Sun, 28 Jul 2019 at 15:42, Kevin Kenny <kevin.b.kenny at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Second, it pushes the problem down one level. Near me, there are
>> 'County Parks' that are functionally pretty much the same as State
>> Parks, and even 'County Forests', 'County Nature Preserves', 'County
>> Wildlife Sanctuaries', and so on... and moreover, even some similar
>> objects at the town level. What is significant is the protection, not
>> the level of government that establishes it, so having 'state' in the
>> name is simply a recipe for more confusion.
> Ummmmm, what do you mean by "having state in the name"?  If you mean the
> tag name, I agree.  State parks and county parks are still parks.  To some degree
> the operator tag is adequate to distinguish them.  But having "State" or "County" in
> name=* is perfectly fine.

Sorry, I spoke sloppily. Having the word 'state' in the tag defining
the type of object is a recipe for confusion, just as IUCN's using
'national park' as a term of art and protection type rather than
specifically meaning a formal declaration that a given object is a
National Park has caused us tremendous amounts of confusion over the
years. That alone makes 'leisure=state_park' a non-starter by
comparison to some sort of 'boundary=*' or an entirely new key. There
are other facilities that are functionally identical that aren't
'state parks', and using that tag to describe them will cause
arguments for years.

>> The 'boundary=recreational_area' idea would work for me if people were
>> actually to get behind it.
> Something along those lines might work.  In the UK boundary is how we handle national
> parks that encompass a lot of things (such as towns) your country might not consider to
> be a park: https://www.openstreetmap.org/relation/165598 - it's not all "nature" or "recreation"
> but there are extra legal restrictions on activities such as building a housing estate that don't
> apply outside of the park.

Our National Parks often have substantial inholdings as well. We're
not as different as you imagine. Also, as I describe in
https://www.openstreetmap.org/user/ke9tv/diary/390233, I've used
'boundary=national_park' on a couple of carefully selected objects
that are not National Parks, and in fact, are not even Federal.
Richard Fairhurst tells me that he's comfortable with my choice of
tags for those, and I understand he's rather a mapping luminary in the
UK. He's also *been* to the parks in question, and so is familiar with
what they look like on the ground. They, too, encompass villages,
farms, working forest, and mines, as well as recreational areas and
protected wilderness. Nevertheless, they're overseen by what's been
called "the world's strictest zoning board", and development is
rigorously constrained.

> [...] I'd say that using a valid tag
> in a valid way isn't wrong, it's lying for the renderer that is wrong.  [...]

THANK YOU!  'Tagging for the renderer' is doing things like one that I
cleaned up a few years back, when a mapper was drawing depth contours
in a nearby lake as 'highway=cycleway name="20 ft"'. It might produce
a nice blue dotted line on the map, but it's got nothing to do with
the feature! (Bathymetry is something that OSM doesn't contemplate
mapping, so these simply got deleted after discussion with the mapper
in question). It isn't 'tagging for the renderer' when I look at a
state park and try to decide whether 'landuse=recreation_ground' or
'leisure=nature_reserve' or 'leisure=park' or 'boundary=national_park'
or one of zoo of other things will be a better fit under current
tagging practice. It's tagging for the future when I also tag
'boundary=protected_area protect_class=21' - even if we decide that
protect_classes other than IUCN's were a bad idea, that tagging says
that a mapper thought about the situation and decided on that class -
and provides a clear signpost for a task manager or mechanical edit to
convert the tags if we decide on something else.

>> So, I'd like to emphasize:
>>   * The tagging should address protection status and purpose, not what
>> level of government (or private agency, or indigenous community)
>> manages it.
> Seems reasonable.  Another tag could be introduced if it were ever necessary to
> state the level of organization that manages it.

site_ownership=* and operator=* seem to do that pretty well, I think.
Some of these features don't even have an admin_level. We have some
pretty big public-access nature reserves managed by NGO's.

>>   * The purpose should be of a sufficiently general nature (e.g.
>> 'recreation') that a typical state park can be preserved as a single
>> named entity.
> Ummm, see Pembrokeshire Coast National Park I gave a link for above.  It has towns and
> cities in it.  I doubt you could generalize that sufficiently well.

That's not a good analogue to State Park, and *is* a good analogue to
existing uses of 'boundary=national_park' on both sides of the
Atlantic. (Or 'protect_class=2', but we've already pretty much said,
'class 2 is already covered by national_park, no need for a subtype of
protected_area for it'.) If you read the IUCN guidelines
they contemplate that large class-2 areas may function as buffers and
embed other areas of different classes.

In my diary entry about the New York cases, I used Cairngorms National
Park rather than Pembrokeshire Coast as the example, but I understand
that the two present the same sort of situation. I see that the
Britons have also used the tag for 'Area of Outstanding Natural
Beauty', but I use protect_class=5 (which in this thread, we're
starting to tentatively call 'protected_landscape') for those.

As far as I can tell, the Britons simply don't have very many features
analogous to our state and county parks, and so don't need a word for
them. I suspect that, rather than any real difference in what 'park'
denotes, accounts for the difference between 'park' as it appears in
US and GB dictionaries, and that native UK-English speakers would not
find it abusive to apply 'park' to the objects we're talking about.
Surely the ignorant colonials pretty much all bend the language that
far; Canada and Australia and New Zealand do have facilities with
similar function and call them 'parks' (often, 'state park' or
'provincial park' in locales that have those forms of government).
Nevertheless, to some extent, we're dealing with "the language of
OpenStreetMap is UK English as interpreted by Germans," so I'd like to
steer well clear of the the word 'park'. It's become a four-letter
word for the purpose of this exercise.

>>   * If the new tag requires a database reload to become a polygon,
>> then it should not conflict with the existing tagging on typical state
>> parks. If the scheme punishes mappers by failing to render correctly
>> tagged features while rendering incorrectly tagged ones, it will not
>> take off.
> Not really controversial.  If it breaks things, it won't be used.

THANK YOU for saying that. Too many people around here miss item one
of RFC1925's Twelve Networking Truths
(https://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc1925). (Now we have to watch out for
the other eleven. The situation we're living in at present approaches
#3 pretty closely.)

>> The reason for the third bullet is that I understand that a database
>> reload incurs a massive disruption to operations and can be done only
>> for extraordinary reasons.
> Yeah, that's a problem.  But that's what area=yes is for.  It may not be what it was intended
> to be for, some might consider it a misuse or abuse of tagging, but it works like a duck.

Would it be appropriate to propose a mechanical edit to add area=yes
to closed ways that are tagged boundary={aboriginal_lands,
national_park, protected_area} and lack any other keys that would make
them polygons?

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