[Tagging] Deprecation - waterway=riverbank vs water=river

Andy Townsend ajt1047 at gmail.com
Sat Mar 6 11:29:09 UTC 2021


On 06/03/2021 07:51, Tomas Straupis wrote:
> The primary question here is on GENERAL ATTTITUDE of DWG to such incidents.
> In this case I'm trying to clarify: is Andy with his DWG hat on saying
> that organising pointless changes of tags is OK with DWG.
>
If someone is organising a change between two tags that mean exactly the 
same thing, where have both been part of OSM for a very long time, and  
both are accepted by OSM data consumers as meaning exactly the same 
thing, then:

 1. I think it's a pointless change.  Some on this list may disagree and
    think we should "streamline" tags to avoid duplication, but let's
    keep that argument to one side for now.
 2. No information about what the object is has been lost from the OSM
    database (because the tags mean the same thing)
 3. No data consumers will be surprised by the change, because they
    widely accept both tags as meaning the same thing (but see caveat
    below on this).

People might object that:

 1. It looks like the object has been mapped more recently than it has been
 2. It looks like the "post tagfiddling" tags are more popular with
    actual OSM mappers than they actually are

These last two are valid concerns, but aren't as "immediately requiring 
of DWG action" as if one of the items in the top list was a problem.  
The one that comes closest is (3) - someone (possibly Tomas) earlier 
said that they had or were aware of a data consumer that rendered 
"moving water" (rivers etc.) fundamentally differently from still water 
(e.g. lakes).  If that data consumer is "surprised" by "moving water" 
becoming "still water", then yes, they will have to do some work.

However, 
https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/w/index.php?title=Key:water&oldid=633857 
suggests that "natural=water; water=river" has been documented for 10 
years now: 
https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Proposed_features/Water_details and 
has been in use for about as long. For any data consumer to be unaware 
of this tag combination for so long seems unlikely, so surely they would 
either also be handling "natural=water; water=river" as "moving water" 
already, or very, very, stubborn.

Best Regards,

Andy


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