[Tagging] Deprecate water=pond?

nathan case nathancase at outlook.com
Thu Nov 12 09:06:32 UTC 2020

I strongly disagree with the notion of splitting ponds and lakes by natural or artificial/man-made.

Not only is this often incredibly difficult to verify, it also leads to this complex situation of needing multiple tags for what are, essentially, the same features.

The current notion of an artificial/man-made lake being a reservoir is non-sense. Artificial lakes are still lakes. Additionally, not all reservoirs are artificial – some are natural.


From: Joseph Eisenberg <joseph.eisenberg at gmail.com>
Sent: Thursday, November 12, 2020 1:30 AM
To: Tag discussion, strategy and related tools <tagging at openstreetmap.org>
Subject: Re: [Tagging] Deprecate water=pond?

Ok, it looks like enough people feel that a very small artificial water body, like a decorative pond in a residential garden, shouldn't be tagged as water=reservoir or water=basin, so we need a replacement.

I can see the logic behind that, if a reservoir is thought to be larger and must have a dam on one side, and a basin is artificially graded. A small koi pond or decorative pool isn't exactly the same.

The current problem with water=pond is that many are completely natural features, but almost all other values of water=* are clearly natural (or semi-natural), or clearly artificial, so water=pond is losing this information which otherwise should be conveyed by the key water=*. Since it is unlikely that we could check 1 million water=pond features quickly, it's not reasonable to redefine the meaning of this tag, but we can create a new tag or several replacement tags which are more specific, and encourage use of those instead.

But we need to have a clear description which will translate into other languages and cultures. For example, in Papua Indonesia, most Trans-New Guinea languages use 1 word for all types of "water", including rivers, streams, lakes, and the sea, so they won't see a difference between a "lake" and a "pond" unless you clearly describe it.

There are already several other more specific tags for small artificial water bodies, in use:
- water=reflecting_pool - "A reflecting pool: a water feature found in gardens, parks, and at memorial sites. It usually consists of a shallow pool of water, undisturbed by fountain jets, for a calm reflective surface."
- water=moat - A deep, wide defensive ditch, normally filled with water, surrounding a fortified habitation.
- water=wastewater - A clarifier/settling basin of a wastewater treatment plant.
- water=fountain
- water=fishpond

And as mentioned before, there are water=reservoir (A reservoir<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reservoir> or an artificial lake is used to store water. ) and water=basin (An area of land artificially graded to hold water.)

So perhaps we could create a new tag water=natural_pond for small, natural or semi-natural lakes which are currently tagged as water=pond, and water=artificial_pond or water=man_made_pond for the majority of water=pond features which are clearly not natural, such as ponds in gardens.

-- Joseph Eisenberg

On Tue, Nov 10, 2020 at 1:59 AM Andy Mabbett <andy at pigsonthewing.org.uk<mailto:andy at pigsonthewing.org.uk>> wrote:
> On Tue, 10 Nov 2020 at 05:26, Joseph Eisenberg
> <joseph.eisenberg at gmail.com<mailto:joseph.eisenberg at gmail.com>> wrote:
> > 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.
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