[Tagging] Basic cartography features missing, why?

Brian M. Sperlongano zelonewolf at gmail.com
Fri Nov 6 23:13:01 UTC 2020


If you do choose to go down the path of the proposal process, I would
potentially be willing to assist in the proposal drafting.  It is certainly
a bunch of work to get a proposal through, but it's hard because it's worth
doing.  I have a proposal in process now and a few others (hopefully) in
the pipeline.


On Fri, Nov 6, 2020 at 4:53 PM Anders Torger <anders at torger.se> wrote:

> I'd love to help out if the workload and chance of success was reasonable,
> but I'm a bit wary about the tagging proposal process. Most of my mapping
> contributions is simple things like correcting and adding roads so all the
> various online route planners (and indeed bike computers) that use OSM in
> one way or another can work in the areas I spend time. For that the map
> does not need to be complete at all, I just need a graph of roads, and I
> use the regular government-provided maps to actually scout the area.
> Recently I got more interested in trying to make actual complete and good
> cartography, make maps that accurately describes the area (to a certain
> detail level) and doesn't require "a real map" on the side for scouting, in
> other words make OSM to be a real map in the areas I live. It would also be
> nice if one could make hiking maps for the mountains. This is an extremely
> ambitious goal, in Scandinavia, and probably many more countries, we are
> used at having really great cartography from a special cartography
> institute which is a part of the government. Previously the maps were
> expensive to get and you could only get it on paper. Today the main aspects
> exists for free in digital form (which is a good thing, it's made with tax
> payers' money after all). Here, this is the gold standard for a
> general-purpose map.
> However, when I see there are some key features missing in OSM to be able
> to reach that level, and each of those little features may take years of
> processing from proposal to actual implementation in a renderer (and even
> if a proposal goes through, I suppose it's not guaranteed that it may be
> implemented), then it feels like it's just too much for me, as I'm involved
> in many other volunteer projects too. Mapping is not even my main project.
> To make this happen it seems like I will end up with having to implement
> my own style and have my own tile server and using my own tags... it's just
> not feasible. What I have done so far in my own mapping applications which
> works sort of fine is to use ready-made government maps in a custom layer
> for the more zoomed out map (and indeed have an own tile server for that),
> and then switch to OSM for the most zoomed in levels. The limitations in
> name handling and missing names for large areas is less noticed when fully
> zoomed in. But it would be really cool if one could use OSM for the whole
> cartography experience.
> As far as I understand, OSM is supposed to be a decentralized and
> semi-anarchistic consensus community that's why the proposal process looks
> like it does, but somehow I was hoping for that there was a strategic work
> group with access to professional cartography expertise that on their own
> could recognize, pick up, and implement both the feature and the guideline
> for baseline type of "must have" features, while tagging proposal process
> would be for more exotic things.
> I'm afraid that with this thorough long-haul process and still pretty
> basic cartography features lacking, we may never see them. I understand
> that OSM is a geo database, not a map as such, and it seems like the actual
> map-making hasn't been a top priority but left to third parties, and this
> may be a reason that features required for top quality cartography has been
> left unimplemented for so long.
> Another thing with these naming features is while they are indeed
> important to reach professional-grade maps, you need to be a very patient
> and persistent perfectionist to actually care (sort of like an old-school
> cartographer), and have the endurance to continue to care. It's much easier
> to just skip the names that can't be mapped, or make them as a point and
> not care that zoomed out maps don't work well. We've seen plenty of
> desperate/chaotic use of place=locality tag just to get names when there is
> no real support.
> If that's the case, then it maybe is better to just relax, let go, and let
> OSM be what it is today and not try achieve what it can't do. For me this
> means going back to just doing road work, and switch to the government maps
> anytime I need a real map. I'm fine with that.
> On 2020-11-06 20:19, Andrew Harvey wrote:
> All great points there, I've ran into many of those myself. If you're
> interested in helping work on solutions to these, discussion here is
> probably the best place to start, once ideas gain some momentum you can
> start a tagging proposal
> https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Proposal_process. Going through that
> process takes a huge amount of time, effort and communication, but usually
> results in well rounded documentation and considers a wide range of
> scenarios and creates better tags than just "using whatever tags you like".
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