[Tagging] Feature Proposal - RFC - (Ground)

Joseph Eisenberg joseph.eisenberg at gmail.com
Sun Jul 12 19:15:30 UTC 2020

The link [2] to https://www.hq.nasa.gov/iwgsdi/Barren_Land.html has these

* Bare Exposed Rock*: Those ecosystems characterized by areas of
bedrock exposure, desert pavement, scarps, talus, slides, volcanic
material, rock glaciers, and other accumulations of rock without vegetative

This is mostly covered by natural=bare_rock or natural=scree (or
natural=shingle) currently.

* Beaches*: Those ecosystems along shorelines characterized by
smooth sloping accumulations of sand and gravel. The surface is stable
inland, but the shoreward part is subject to erosion by wind and water and
to deposition in protected areas.

This is natural=beach, or natural=wetland + wetland=tidalflat, or
natural=shingle, possibly overlapping with water (if below the high tide
line or high water line).

* Dry Salt Flats*: Those ecosystems occurring on the flat-floored
bottoms of interior desert basins that do not qualify as wetlands.

We don't have a good tag for this, as Christoph mentioned previously,
probably because these features are rare in Europe.

* Mixed Barren Land*: Those regions in which a mixture of barren
land features occurs and the dominant land use occupies less than
two-thirds of the area. This includes, for example, a desert region where
combinations of salt flats, sandy areas, bare rock, surface extraction, and
transitional activities could occur in close proximity.

We should map these areas based on the most specific area: natural=sand,
natural=bare_rock, landuse=quarry, etc.

* Sandy Areas Other Than Beaches*: Those ecosystems composed
primarily of dunes -- accumulations of sand transported by wind. ...

This is usually mapped as natural=sand

* Strip Mines, Quaries, and Gravel Pits*: Those regions where
vegetative cover and overburden are removed to expose such deposits as
coal, iron ore, limestone, and copper. This includes inactive, unreclaimed,
and active strip mines, quarries, borrow pits, and gravel pits until other
cover or use has been established.

Mapped as landuse=quarry

* Transitional Areas*: Those regions that are in transition from
one land use activity to another. This transitional phase occurs when, for
example, forest lands are cleared for agriculture, wetlands are drained for
development, or when any type of land use ceases as areas become
temporarily bare as con- struction is planned for such future uses as
residences, shopping centers, industrial sites, or subur- ban and rural
residential subdivisions. This also includes land being altered by filling,
such as occurs in spoil dumps or sanitary landfills. (Definition Source: A
Land Use and Land Cover Classification System for Use with Remote Sensing

This might be landuse=landfill, landuse=construction, or landuse=brownfield
in many cases. Areas where trees have been recently cleared are somewhat
debatable, if it's not certain what the area is transitioning into, but
there is landuse=meadow + meadow=transitional for areas of grass that are
transitioning into scrub or early woodland again.

So we certainly need a new tag for salt flats, and I agree that there are
some places like badlands and deserts with clay soils where we don't have
well established tags for unvegetated areas, but many types of "barren"
land can already be mapped with existing tags. That's why it's important
that new tags are precisely defined.

– Joseph Eisenberg

On Sun, Jul 12, 2020 at 10:37 AM mbranco2 <mbranco2 at gmail.com> wrote:

> I hope that this discussion and the related proposal wiki page will lead
> to a solution, because I found several times, mapping in Africa with HOT
> projects, "desertic lands" and I didn't find a tag for this.
> If we search the Internet for "barren soil", we can find a lot of
> ground-level related images.
> And I think that we could map such characteristic even with only imagery
> (without direct survey), because it's a "macro" feature, as is a wood or a
> scrub.
> Maybe images was shot in a particular season, and the soil condition is
> not always the same?
> Well, if I check several imageries and in all of them I see a "desertic
> land", I'm confident I can map that area with the tag we're talking about.
> And I think it doesn't matter if for few days a year (or few days in
> several years...) it will rain and there will be - for few days - a bit of
> vegetation: it's not an OSM mapping rule, to map the "main" characteristic
> of an item?
> Surely it could be useful if botanists and/or geologists could better
> specify (with more specific tags) the cause: no rain? pollution? specific
> ground-conditions such as presence of salt or sulfur?
> For the main tag, I think that "natural" is the right key (being already
> natural=sand/bare_rock/shingle/scree...).
> About the value, I'd prefer a botanic or geologist suggest us the best
> word.
> Some references:
> - "Barren vegetation" [1]  (..."Regions on the earth’s surface where soils
> are dominating the ecosystems with little to no plant cover are often
> referred to as “Barren”. )
> - "Barren land" [2] (an old web page from NASA: "...ecosystems in which
> less than one third of the area has vegetation or other cover. In general,
> Barren Land has thin soil, sand, or rocks."). This web page cites "A Land
> Use and Land Cover Classification System for Use with Remote Sensor Data",
> a free paper you can find in Google Books too.
> - "Barren soil is starving Africans" [3]
> Other examples of "desertic" lands:
> - Bonneville (USA) [4] (maybe some of you saw World's Fastest Indian, the
> lovely movie with Anthony Hopkins :-) )
> - La Leona (Patagonia) [5]
> Ciao!
> Marco (mbranco2 / UNGSC-mbranco2)
> [1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barren_vegetation
> [2] https://www.hq.nasa.gov/iwgsdi/Barren_Land.html
> [3] https://www.nature.com/news/2006/060327/full/060327-15.html
> [4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bonneville_Salt_Flats
> [5] https://visitpatagonia.com.ar/en/activities/petrified-forest-la-leona/
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