[Tagging] RFC: Seaway key - proposal for mapping ports

stevea steveaOSM at softworkers.com
Fri Mar 5 18:54:57 UTC 2021

By no means am I an expert in marine transport, but I can see why "seaway" might be more apt than "seaport," as this is about topics (quoting from the wiki) of "sea transport related scope."  Ports are certainly a central part of this, of various flavors (cargo, passenger, fishing...), but so are, as the proposal suggests but does not mention explicitly (except to say that amenity=ferry_terminal is elsewhere) that there are both additional amenities AND that there are routes implicit in the scheme.  Still, I could go either way between "seaway" vs. "seaport."

What I think would help this proposal is a discussion (here or in its discussion page) of how passenger ferry routes (and probably not cargo routes, though they are an important reason why OSM might "robustify" this) both do and don't overlap with this proposal, achieving better clarity (besides a simple "see ferry" link).  Analogies are already made to "similar transportation related infrastructure" like railway and aeroway, so, yes, filling out the marine aspects of "land, air and sea" would complete this.

It's possible that gleaning some syntax and usage from rail as analogous, for example, could better this, as there are both passenger and cargo aspects to rail and these do have quite different results in how OSM tags rail regarding one vs. the other.  However, as there is already a scheme for passenger ferry routes, the proposal would have to be harmonized to not break what we've already done with those.  And while we do map train routes for passengers and ferry routes for passengers, too, we don't map cargo routes for trains, although we do map their infrastructure (as railway routes, shared by both cargo usage and passenger usage).  But in the case of "marine" or "seaway / seaport," much infrastructure (not ports) for cargo routes is simply "water."  While OSM does have (and displays) passenger ferry routes, I don't think we want to show sea cargo routes, but we do want to show their ports and other infrastructure which support such transport.

Thinking about how other transport modes (rail, air...) structure their tagging, differ in how they tend to show routing for passengers, but don't for cargo (but still show the infrastructure shared between them) will only help to better shape this proposal.  It's a good start, but in my opinion, it needs more depth.


> On Mar 5, 2021, at 9:05 AM, Malcolm Herring via Tagging <tagging at openstreetmap.org> wrote:
> On 05/03/2021 10:34, Martin Koppenhoefer wrote:
>> I am asking for your comments to this proposal for mapping ports:
>> https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Proposed_features/Seaway <https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Proposed_features/Seaway>
> Why did you choose "seaway" - that kind of implies a route rather than a terminus. Would not "seaport" be a better fit for the objects you are targeting?
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