[Tagging] Extremely long Amtrak route relations / coastline v. water

Richard Fairhurst richard at systemed.net
Sun Nov 22 11:24:33 UTC 2020

[cross-posted to talk-us@ and tagging@, please choose your follow-ups wisely]

Brian M. Sperlongano wrote:
> It seems that we are increasingly doing things to simplify the
> model because certain tooling can't handle the real level of
> complexity that exists in the real world.  I'm in favor of fixing
> the tooling rather than neutering the data.

I sincerely hope "I'm in favor of fixing" translates as "I'm planning to fix", though I fear I may be disappointed.

More broadly, we need to nip this "oh just fix the tools" stuff in the bud.

OSM optimises for the mapper, because mappers are our most valuable resource. That's how it's always been and that's how it should be.

But that does not mean that volunteer tool authors should rewrite their tools to cope with the 0.1% case; nor that it is reasonable for mappers to make stuff ever more complex and expect developers to automatically fall in line; nor that any given map has a obligation to render this 0.1%, or indeed, anything that the map's creator doesn't want to render.

The Tongass National Forest is not "in the real world", it is an artificial administrative construct drawn up on some bureaucrat's desk. It's not an actual forest where the boundaries represent a single contiguous mass of trees. Nothing is lost or "neutered" by mapping it as several relations (with a super-relation for completeness if you insist), just as nothing is lost by tagging Chesapeake Bay with the series of letters "c","o","a","s","t","l","i","n" and "e".

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