[Tagging] Rio de la Plata edit war

Kevin Kenny kevin.b.kenny at gmail.com
Tue Aug 4 18:52:39 UTC 2020

On Tue, Aug 4, 2020 at 12:59 PM Christoph Hormann <osm at imagico.de> wrote:

> I am not saying that OSM should only record physical geography.  I am
> saying that natural=coastline is a physical geography tag and should be
> defined based on physical geography criteria.  If there is no consensus
> about this we can end the discussion because if we cannot even agree on
> basic conceptual separation on that level (i.e. that we separate the
> mapping of the physical extent of surface water cover on this planet
> from culturally defined elements of the geography) we can close up shop
> right away.

Your straw man looks to be quite flammable.

A water polygon remains a water polygon whether its boundary is
`natural=coastilne`, `waterway=river`, `natural=water` or whatever. Nobody
is arguing over the physical extent of surface water coverage.

The precise line at which a river becomes a lake or the ocean is and will
always be indefinite. We are arguing about how broadly or narrowly to draw
it. Your argument is that the first dam or waterfall is the only
'objective' way to place it. That may be true: it's the first bright line.
Nevertheless, in practice, it gives a much broader definition of the World
Ocean than seems reasonable - placing the line hundreds of km from the
commonly understood river mouth in many cases.

I'm arguing that both cultural considerations (generally speaking, people
do not call tidal inland riverbanks 'the coastline') and practical
considerations (a much longer coastline further complicates the already
horrible situation for coastline rendering) both militate in favor of
putting the coastline as far downstream in the estuarine environment as is
practicable. Nothing in my argument changes the physical extent of the
mapped water surface by one centimetre. It's simply saying that for any
indefinite boundary, there is no single right answer. Deference to the
local cultural definitions, provided that they don't warp the indefinite
boundary beyond any reasonable physical interpretation, is most likely

73 de ke9tv/2, Kevin
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.openstreetmap.org/pipermail/tagging/attachments/20200804/e714e921/attachment.htm>

More information about the Tagging mailing list