[Tagging] Irrigation: usage=irrigation vs irrigation=yes [Was Irrigation: ditches, canals and drains]

Joseph Eisenberg joseph.eisenberg at gmail.com
Mon Jun 3 23:53:56 UTC 2019

On 6/4/19, marc marc <marc_marc_irc at hotmail.com> wrote:
> having 2 key with the same meaning is not a good thing.
> I'm in favor of deprecing service=irrigation in favor of
> usage=irrigation, more consistent with other usage=* values
> used on other waterways.

I agree that service=irrigation is a poor choice of key. This key is
mostly used to specify the type of service highway (eg
service=driveway) or the type of service railway (eg service=spur),
but it's also used for the type of services provided at a car repair
shop (eg service=tyre).

There are two possible replacements:

1) Usage=irrigation

This key is already approved for use with waterways and pipelines,
with the tags usage=penstock, usage=headrace, usage=transmission and

The tag has increased over the past 2 years, and is now used about
6000 times - half as common as service=irrigation

However, the key "usage=" is also used with railways, eg usage=main,
usage=branch. This might be considered a problem by some mappers,
though at least all of the values used for railways are completely
different than the list of values used for waterways and pipelines.

The other issue is that canals or ditches used for both irrigation and
drainage (depending on the season) would need to be tagged like
"usage=irrigation;drainage", and a long-distance canal that transmits
irrigation water might need to be tagged

2) Irrigation=yes

This is actually the oldest of the tags, used since 2009. The only
other usage of the key "irrigation=" is with "irrigation=pivot",
tagged on landuse=farmland which is irrigated by a central pivot

With this tag, it would be possible to also use "drainage=yes", so a
canal used for both drainage and irrigation could be "waterway=canal"
+ "irrigation=yes" + "drainage=yes" - this leads to using an extra
tag, but doesn't require any semicolon-separated values.

I originally started writing a proposal for "usage=irrigation" and
"usage=drainage", but when I checked the details, I realized that
"irrigation=yes" and "drainage=yes" might be more likely to be

To me either tag would be preferred over service=irrigation, so I
agree with deprecating it, once we get an alternative approved.

Here's my draft proposal, still in user namespace, since the key is
not yet certain:



> Le 03.06.19 à 22:19, François Lacombe a écrit :
>> Hi all
>> Regarding the particular situation of service vs usage keys, JOSM team
>> wonders if service may be moved to usage
>> https://josm.openstreetmap.de/ticket/17770
>> Don't blame them on "deprecate" word, which should be understood as
>> "discouraged".
>> Question is "Should we keep service in use for destination of water
>> leading in man made waterways?"
>> François

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