[Tagging] Deprecate water=pond?

nathan case nathancase at outlook.com
Tue Nov 10 09:44:12 UTC 2020

Agreed: it is often not possible to tell  if a pond/lake is artificial or not. Some lakes are hundreds of years old and the environment has adapted to now appear as though it were a natural feature.

Reservoir does not seem appropriate for an artificial pond. In my experience, reservoirs are large and tend to store water for either consumption or to generate power. Ponds can range from something in one’s back garden, to substantial bodies of water in parks and nature reserves. Basin doesn’t seem to fit with these either (they appear to be more for temporary storage of water?).

It seems that requiring “lake” to be natural is the issue. Lakes can be both natural and artificially made. If we could tag “ponds” as “lakes” and then add a tag “lake=pond” that would allow some freedom for the mapper. However, it appears that there is a willingness to separate “natural” and “artificial”/”man made” features.


From: Peter Elderson <pelderson at gmail.com>
Sent: Tuesday, November 10, 2020 7:49 AM
To: Tag discussion, strategy and related tools <tagging at openstreetmap.org>
Subject: Re: [Tagging] Deprecate water=pond?

The problem is that natural and artificial are not neatly separated IRL. In Nederland, nature is neatly cut, shaven and shaped. Currently, natural style is preferred. "New nature" is the hype, where heavy machinery creates new landscapes including ponds, lakes, streams and wetlands. Sea dykes are shaped like dunes. Etc. So every pond is made to look natural, and every lake is reshaped and maintained.

We have words for pond ("vijver") and lake ("meer") but very loosely defined, and many more terms for other bodies of water.

I think a clearcut definition would not help at all in this case.

Peter Elderson

Op 10 nov. 2020 om 06:30 heeft Joseph Eisenberg <joseph.eisenberg at gmail.com<mailto:joseph.eisenberg at gmail.com>> het volgende geschreven:

The tag water=pond was added with a large number of other types of "water=*" in 2011, but it has a poorly defined description.

"A pond<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pond>: a body of standing water, man-made in most cases, that is usually smaller than a lake. Salt evaporation ponds should be tagged with landuse<https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:landuse>=salt_pond<https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Tag:landuse%3Dsalt_pond>, open-air swimming pools — with leisure<https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:leisure>=swimming_pool<https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Tag:leisure%3Dswimming_pool>."

So it might be artificial, like a landuse=reservoir or water=reservoir, but smallish. Or it might be natural like a water=lake, but smallish. However, nothing on the water=lake page defines a lower limit for the size of a lake.

This is a shame, because all the other values of water=* are clearly defined as only natural, or only artificial, and waterway=* features are also clearly divided. Furthermore, the original lags landuse=reservoir and landuse=basin were also clearly artificial, while lakes were natural.

But the biggest problem is that there is no way to define a lower size for a lake or reservoir, or an upper size for a pond. And the size of the area is easier available from the geometry of the feature, so it doesn't need to be mentioned in the tag.

I think the best option is to deprecate water=pond and suggest using water=lake for natural lakes, even small ones, and use water=reservoir or water=basin (or landuse=reservoir or =basin if you prefer) for the artificial ones.

-- Joseph Eisenberg
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