[Tagging] Basic cartography features missing, why?

Andrew Harvey andrew.harvey4 at gmail.com
Sat Nov 7 05:05:06 UTC 2020

The documented tag for that is place=locality, an in populated named place.
it's rendered and in Nomatnium.

On Sat, 7 Nov 2020, 12:44 pm Martin S√łndergaard, <sondergaard246 at gmail.com>

>   I am also very much a newcomer only having mapped for a few months, and
> so far I have constantly been running into the same problems that
> are mentioned in this thread.
> I am mapping in Denmark where we have high quality official information on
> place names. However, adding much of this information in OSM is very
> difficult. In most cases the place names are *not* tied to a single
> specific landuse or natural area. Here are a couple examples I have worked
> on:
> *Orebanker* - https://www.openstreetmap.org/way/861178572
> This is a prominent bank or elongated hill with a single name. However, it
> consists of a mix of landuse=forest and landuse=farmland and no obvious
> single feature to add the name to. What is the correct way to tag this?
> *Viemosen *- https://www.openstreetmap.org/way/863161581
> This is the name of an area of wetland/meadow, but a part of the area has
> been reclaimed for farmland. However, the name officially still applies to
> the original area, so it should include the farmland just north of the
> meadow. Instead I have had to just add the name to the only feature that
> covers most of the area. You could argue that it is better than nothing,
> but technically it is slightly incorrect information.
> As a casual mapper mapping this information is really discouraging. Best
> case, the names might show up on renders in 5-10 years; worst case, the lag
> of standard guidelines on this means that the tagging is wrong or few
> people add this information and renderers never render it.
> I understand that tagging standards are based mostly on how many current
> features with  said tag there are and it is therefore slow to change. And
> this process makes some amount of sense for more specialized information.
> But for something as basic as "*how do we tag the place name of an area
> that is not tied to a single feature?*" it baffles me that there is no
> consensus after 16 years. It is clearly a sign that the current process of
> agreeing on tagging standards is not working in this specific case.
> /Martin
> On Fri, 6 Nov 2020 at 19:34, Anders Torger <anders at torger.se> wrote:
>> 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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> --
> Martin S√łndergaard Pedersen
> Simonsstraat 108, 2628TK Delft
> The Netherlands
> +31 (0)6397870004
> sondergaard246 at gmail.com
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