[Tagging] R: Are we mapping ground on OSM?

Martin Koppenhoefer dieterdreist at gmail.com
Mon Jul 6 07:09:52 UTC 2020

Am Mo., 6. Juli 2020 um 08:22 Uhr schrieb Michael Montani <
michael.montani at un.org>:

> It seems to me that up to now there is a duality of tagging in OSM for
> landcover: basically there are some tags that refer to 'what's on the
> imagery' (eg. natural=sand, natural=rock ...) and others which focus on the
> geological meaning of the feature (natural=shingle, natural=scree ...).

yes, admittedly, this has become quite inconsistent and blurred, because
some people see natural as "mother nature", not altered /made by humans,
describing a material (mud, sand), while other features are more in the
sense of (geological) _features_ (beach, spring, cave, wetland, ...)

> By the way it seems to me very strange that there is nothing there for a
> straightforward feature as ground: compacted soil with very few or no
> vegetation, which can be of mineral or organic nature.

IMHO the distinction between mostly of mineralic or of organic nature would
be quite important (how much water can be stored or is it draining).
Compacted organic soil might not store water initially, but when it becomes
wet it will become less compacted. Bedrock to me seems to be a kind of
ground (you seem to think otherwise). The term "ground" does not imply
"compacted" for me.

> Open global coverage dataset can definetely help to map landcover and many
> ones are out there. The discussion is not about seasonality of lakes but
> generally on ground.

global coverage datasets tend to be so generalized and large scale that
they often do not fit well with the human scale that we survey on the

> To me, a tag proposal *natural=ground*, *ground:type=organic/mineral* with
> the further possibility to specify soil type seems reasonable.

I guess I would make this "landcover" and "bare_ground" or something like
this (although as was mentioned, this may vary seasonally. Generally,
mapping seasonal variations is a challenge we are not set up well to deal

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