[Tagging] Rio de la Plata edit war

Joseph Eisenberg joseph.eisenberg at gmail.com
Tue Aug 4 19:16:30 UTC 2020

Re: " Your argument is that the first dam or waterfall is the only
'objective' way to place it. "

That's not what Christoph has proposed. You can read his suggestions at

It provides a great deal of lee-way for mappers to decide on the exact
placement. For the case of the Hudson it could be anywhere from New York
Harbor up to Albany:

"The upper limit

In case of significant tidal influence at the river mouth the coastline
should be closed no further upstream than the range of the tidal influence.

In case of no or insignificant tidal variation the coastline should not
extend significantly above the sea level with the river (*significantly* not
being precisely defined but i'd say at maximum a meter).
"The lower limit

With no or insignificant tides the coastline should go upstream at least to
a point where the river current is clearly the dominating current in the
water under normal weather conditions (i.e. no storm).

With significant tides the coastline should go upstream at least to a point
where on waterflow is going downstream for a significantly longer part of
the tidal cycle than it goes upstream due to rising tide."

These rules would exclude the lower Rio De La Plata and the lower part of
the mouth of the Saint Lawrence river, as well as other wide estuaries
where winds and tides have more influence on surface water flow than does
the discharge of the river. It would not prevent mapping the Hudson mouth
at the southern tip of Manhattan, because the flow is strong all the way to
New York Harbor, if I understand correctly.

- Joseph Eisenberg

On Tue, Aug 4, 2020 at 11:54 AM Kevin Kenny <kevin.b.kenny at gmail.com> wrote:

> 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
> warranted.
> --
> 73 de ke9tv/2, Kevin
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