[Tagging] Specific tag for Satellite Dishes

Kevin Kenny kevin.b.kenny at gmail.com
Mon Jul 29 13:50:19 UTC 2019

On Mon, Jul 29, 2019 at 6:06 AM Martin Koppenhoefer
<dieterdreist at gmail.com> wrote:
> the man_made=satellite_dish tag is poorly defined anyway, the short definition speaks about "ground stations": "A ground station is a terrestrial radio station designed for extraplanetary telecommunication with spacecraf."
> Probably most satellite dishes are set up for communication with satellites, generally most of them being only receivers.
> The whole page should likely be rewritten, as it does not focus on the feature (satellite dish) but on other features (ground station, radio telescope, etc.). It isn't clear why this should not be used for private satellite dishes, and there should probably be some discussion on this list and improvement of the wiki page.

To an American engineer (I can speak with some authority, *being* an
American holder of an MSEE degree ;) ) 'communication' comprises
either transmission or reception, or both, and 'spacecraft' includes
'satellite'. In each case, a more general term was chosen over a
less-general one.

I don't mind mapping any sort of satellite_dish, but the attributes
would have to depend on what you're mapping them _for_. Using them as
landmarks ("turn right just past the building with six huge satellite
dishes on the roof") is surely different from using them as amenities
("this neighbourhood has a communal satellite dish over *here* where
you can see news"), and of course the attributes would differ.

I have mapped such things, but never tried to upload the data to OSM -
it was proprietary to the customer, and of considerably less interest
to the world at large.

[OSM-related information ends here. Feel free to stop reading]

(All this was twenty years ago, by the way.) I don't think I'm
breaking a confidence to say that significant attributes were the
capabilities of the station:

   - transmit-capable, or receive-only (referring to data transmission
*through* the spacecraft, not command of the spacecraft)
   - uplink power
   - able to command the spacecraft
   - able to BE commanded remotely through the satellite network. Most
stations were not always staffed but were commanded from a central
location. Some simply monitored a particular channel on a particular
spacecraft, and needed a visit from a technician to change the antenna
pointing, frequency or polarization. Some could be commanded
out-of-band by telephone modem, and most had modems available as a
backup command channel in case antenna pointing was lost; this
included a "phone home" function if a "heartbeat" command was missed
too many times in a row.
   - pointing capability: single-spacecraft; multiple geostationary
spacecraft (longitude range(s) specified); inclined-orbit
geosynchronous spacecraft; Molniya-orbit spacecraft. (The network in
question used no other orbits. There are many, but most others would
have to be described in terms of altitude/azimuth ranges and slew
  - number of receive channels

There were also a lot of attributes relating to connection to
terrestrial networks (microwave and optical), operational status, and
of course a whole pile of related attributes - name, contact
information (both for the modem and for "get a human over there"),
several identifiers for addressing equipment on the network, a lot of
information relating to maintenance of the station (including
information such as who the service contractor was), ...  it turned
into a Big Complicated Messy SQL Database, as so many operational
databases do.

The project, of course, was building the network operations center for
this particular network. We did have a big screen with a map of the
network and real-time status display of the operations, but that was
mostly to impress visitors. The operators found that an alphabetized
list of the station identifiers with "drill down" into detailed status
available with one click was considerably more useful; with about 400
fixed and half a dozen mobile ground stations, the displays just got
too busy otherwise.

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