[Tagging] Barrier=berm

Joseph Eisenberg joseph.eisenberg at gmail.com
Fri Nov 29 21:14:36 UTC 2019

I agree that there is a need to define the correct way to tag the
center-line of a two-sided embankment or earthworks.

This was mentioned previously in the discussion starting here:
and continued here:

It could be called an "earthwork": "a raised area of earth made,
especially in the past,
for defense against enemy attack", or "embankment" or "rampart"
instead of "berm".

This is in use 200 times as barrier=earthworks

or historic=earthworks - 196 times

or perhaps barrier=earth_bank - 184 times

There are a few uses of barrier=rampart and military=rampart.

In contrast, barrier=berm has been used only 68 times, and
man_made=berm 14 times.

But there are even more uses of embankment=yes as a standalone tag
along the center of an earthworks/berm/rampart/embankment, and there
is also quite a number of features tagged man_made=embankment +
embankment=both or embankment=two_sided
(https://taginfo.openstreetmap.org/tags/embankment=both and
https://taginfo.openstreetmap.org/tags/embankment=two_sided > 600)

I don't think it would be a good idea to redefine man_made=embankment
to be two-sided. And using embankment=yes alone is a bit of a problem
since it is a unique key.

But I'm not convinced that "barrier=berm" or "man_made=berm" is better
than "barrier=embankment"

Also, I would oppose mapping berms as areas, especially if they are
under the "barrier=" key - these features are (almost) always linear,
and because "man_made=embankment" can be used to make the exact
location of the top of the embankment.

On 11/28/19, Graeme Fitzpatrick <graemefitz1 at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Thu, 28 Nov 2019 at 20:47, Volker Schmidt <voschix at gmail.com> wrote:
>>    - First of all when I see a both-sided sloped linear elevation I do
>>    not know I see a berm.because it is a rarely used term
>> Can you see a pile of dirt? If so, it's a berm. If it's a bricks, blocks,
> rocks, concrete, wooden, steel or any other type of construction, it's not!
> I agree it's not very common in normal usage, but would be quite common in
> any engineering context, & there are any number of OSM terms which are very
> specialised!
>>    - Second it is ill-defined from the shape point of view: it can define
>>    a step in an earth wall and it can mean an earth wall with sloped
>> sides
>> Yep, either one could be a berm.
>>    - Fourth it can describe man-made or natural objects.
>> I saw reference to berm also being used to describe a line of debris
> thrown up on a beach by a storm, however, that wouldn't be a permanent
> feature, as it would be changed by the next storm, or human use of the
> beach, so we wouldn't map it.
> Let's go back and define what we need
> Agree with everything you say here
>>    -  (this tag is purpose-free)
>> Sorry, I don't understand what you mean by "purpose-free"?
> Thinking about it we may only need to add a new man_made=slope_base tag.
>> Packaging this together with the opposite man_made=embankment in a
>> "slope"
>> relation, this would give us the possibility to model even complex
>> objects.
>> Without a relation a closed  man-made=slope_base way could be used to
>> draw
>> the footprint of levees/dykes. The use could be similar to
>> water=riverbank.
> I did suggest area=slope or similar, to map the area of levee walls in
> discussion about large flood control levees a couple of weeks ago, but it
> didn't seem to go down very well?
> Thanks
> Graeme

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