[Tagging] Feature Proposal - Voting - (Ground: natural=bare_soil)

Christoph Hormann osm at imagico.de
Fri Jul 24 13:48:54 UTC 2020

On Friday 24 July 2020, Michael Montani wrote:
> The voting for natural=bare_soil has begun and can be found
> here<https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Proposed_features/Ground#Vot
>ing>. It will temptatively close August 7th, given enough support.

It is unfortunate that the suggestion to not aim for introducing an 
umbrella tag was not taken into account.

The proposal as is lacks clarity of what it actually suggests and how 
this new tag delienates against existing tags.  It also lacks 
comprehensive practical guidance for the mapper how to identify and 
delineate features with this tag based on real world on-the-ground 

What you essentially attempt to introduce here is a *residual* tag to 
turn the open OSM tagging system consisting of tags that positively 
identify specific real world features into a closed land cover 
classification system modeled after countless such systems (some of 
which you cited).  

In OSM we generally think that using an open tagging system where the 
tags are narrowly defined in what the positively mean in a locally 
verifiable fashion is better for representing the global geography in 
all its diversity and to document local knowledge of people than a 
closed classification system that assigns the class with the lowest 
mismatch in a classification developed from a specific culturally 
narrow perspective to every point of the earth surface.

Side note:  Measuring percentage of ground cover in an arid/semiarid 
context is usually not practically verifiable on the ground, in 
particular in areas with strong seasonality.  Examples:


We definitely do not want such areas to be engrossed in some 
generic 'unvegetated or sparsely vegetated area' classification.

Christoph Hormann

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