[Tagging] Basic cartography features missing, why?

Seth Deegan jayandseth at gmail.com
Fri Nov 6 19:28:29 UTC 2020

A gravel area tag/tagging convention is needed. One use I’ve seen is
highways in particular seem to have gravel separator between the actual
road and usually grass. Standardizing a area (a way) with just the
surface=gravel tag could work.

El El vie, nov. 6, 2020 a la(s) 12:34, Anders Torger <anders at torger.se>

> Hello everyone, newcomer here!
> I've been a casual contributing mapper for a couple of years here in
> Sweden. Only since 2018 :-O, I thought it was longer, and during this
> time I've made 1700 edits mostly using iD, just started using JOSM for
> some more complex edits. Anyway, I recently tried to up my game to make
> really high quality and "complete" maps in the areas I live. I have a
> lot of local knowledge combined with very high quality government maps
> (already preloaded into the editor, not the highest resolution version,
> but enough for most aspects) together with satellite images which today
> has much better alignment than a few years ago (still government maps
> are best on that). So good reference is there too, I have all I need to
> make a good job.
> My areas are bit more rural, more nature. Villages, hamlets and towns.
> Nature is prominent and naming nature is important, many old names but
> still in active use by forestry, outdoor people, hunters and locals.
> When mapping these, I immediately run into basic issues that I'm
> surprised that they aren't solved already.
> I'm not 100% sure if this mailing list is the right venue for discussing
> these issues. OSM as a community is quite hard to grasp for a newcomer
> and I have been sent to different places, but now I'm here.
> Anyway, my observations (mostly using the default openstreetmap-carto
> style) :
> ** Tagging bays and straits as areas work great, as the renderer gets
> and idea how prominent it is and it can make proper text sizing and they
> can be seen even if zoomed out if the area is large. Lots of our lakes,
> even quite small ones have sub-naming, and with these features I can
> make really good mapping of this.
> ** Tagging and naming areas on ground does not seem to be developed much
> at all, unfortunately.
> ** There is natural=peninsula so one can tag and name an area of varying
> size, but it doesn't seem to render (unless I've made some mistake...)
> ** I can't make an area to name hills or slopes, which is very common
> around here (natural=hill would be nice and is more generic than slope).
> There's peak, but that's only for point for the highest peak with
> elevation, so it doesn't the purpose here.
> ** Valleys can only be tagged as ways, but here it would make much more
> sense to make an area, as sizes of these valleys vary a lot, and the
> renderer need to know how large this is (not just how long) to make sane
> renders.
> ** Due to limitations in area-based name tagging the map looks empty
> just when zoomed out a little, as names disappear almost directly, so
> despite detailed mapping and tagging the overview map is not as useful
> as it could be. While the renderer can and does make proper decisions of
> prominence for bays and strait made as areas, point-based natural names
> often yield strange and misleading maps as vastly different sized areas
> have just a point for the name and no other differentiator, there's no
> way the renderer can make an appropriate render decision as the data is
> not there.
> ** Support for group naming is limited. It's here very common that
> several smaller islands are named as a group, smaller ponds are named as
> a group etc, without having individual names. There are tags for that
> (group/cluster), but not rendered. The best alternative today is to make
> it a named multipolygon, but only few renderers make the expected
> result, ie one name rather than only in one subarea or duplicated in all
> areas (which looks strange as the name is often in plural form, or it
> doesn't show up at all if each subarea is small).
> ** Another fairly common group naming concept is when each feature has
> its own name, but the group of features have also a separate collective
> name. Maps supporting this concept will thus when you zoom out not show
> the individual names but only the group name. The group/cluster tag
> would perhaps be the way to do this, but as far as I know no current
> style supports it.
> ** As a minor note, I've noted there is no good tag for anonymous gravel
> yards, which there are a lot of here. Abandoned quarry is the closest,
> but still not right, as only some actually were gravel/sand pits to
> start with. Those gravel yards are often leftovers from construction
> work or forestry often even locals don't exactly know when or why they
> were made. Today they are used mainly used for parking by people being
> out in nature, but they are not maintained so they are not exactly
> parking lots either.
> The central issue here is about naming though, support for group naming
> and the ability to name areas on land which just like bays and straits
> have fuzzy borders (there is no exact start or end of a hill or a
> valley). There is no question about it that the naming I mentioned above
> exist plentiful at least in Sweden, and it's used in Swedish
> general-purpose maps, it's not some special odd feature.
> To me, which know very little about OSM and its history, but am used to
> using maps both in digital and paper form, see the ability to name
> groups, and the ability to differentiate size of natural features as
> very basic functions required to produce high quality cartography. But
> OSM is a 16 year old project and still doesn't have widespread support
> for these basic features, essentially making high quality cartography an
> impossibility at least in this part of the world. This is strange, there
> must be something else going on. Maybe it's technically difficult to
> implement. Maybe it's technically difficult to make any new things at
> all as the database has grown. Maybe it's hard to get acceptance for new
> features as the community has grown large and diverse. Maybe OSM is not
> intended for mapping natural features. Maybe the ability to show
> anything useful other than maximally zoomed in isn't a priority. Maybe
> rural areas isn't important to OSM. I don't know.
> Oh, while these cartography issues indeed are more prominent in rural
> areas, we do have named areas in denser places in Sweden too like in and
> around Stockholm, it just doesn't hurt as much if you leave out these
> names as there are much other things to navigate by.
> Anyway, I'm not really prepared to fight or self-tag 100000 of these
> objects just to try and see if these features might be accepted some
> years from now. I'm basically just checking out the status here to see
> if OSM and I has a future together :-). For my own mapping needs I don't
> absolutely need OSM, I can choose to work with the government data
> instead as much of that has been publically available since 2015. It's
> however nice to be able to contribute to something that is globally
> available with an open license, but great cartography is also important
> to me. I know I will get that from the government data. With OSM it
> seems... ehh... complicated. I'm not really prepared to significantly
> increase my mapping effort (Sweden in OSM is still too a large extent
> unmapped or poorly mapped) if despite exact and fully detailed
> contributions there will still be sub-standard maps coming out of it.
> /Anders Torger
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