[talk-au] Deserts, mapping and sources

Warin 61sundowner at gmail.com
Wed Jan 17 02:11:18 UTC 2018

On 17-Jan-18 12:48 PM, Andrew Davidson wrote:
> On 17/01/18 10:49, Warin wrote:
>> Hi,
>> OSMand has started rendering deserts.
>> I note that only the Simpson Desert in OSM so far is Way: Simpson 
>> Desert (168949121) ... I cannot find the source for this.
>> It would be nice to map the other deserts that we have too.
> I'm not sure that there is much point in mapping deserts. Someone has 
> already helpfully outlined why:
> https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Talk:Tag:natural%3Ddesert
> Deserts are a climatic concept:
A wetland too has a fuzzy boundary, much like a desert.
Deserts are  well known .. talk of 'crossing the Simpson Desert' and 
most people will have some idea of what your doing and where you are 
doing it.
Not mapping them simply leads to missing information.
> http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/map/climate_classifications/images/kpngrp.png 
> What you should map is what you can see on the ground. So the Simpson 
> Desert should be natural=sand, which is what you can see in the aerial 
> imagery.

What is on the round in the Simpson Desert varies widely, but in general;
In the swales between the sand dunes most of the time there is light 
scrub ... some times you find salt lakes (e.g. just west of Poepells 
Corner for instance).
On the wester slope of the sand dunes you find some scattered scrub.
On the eastern side of the sand dunes you find the occasional plant 
fighting the sand drifting over it.
I'd be removing mapping of  entire desert areas as sand or any other 
single land cover just based on the assumption that because it is a 
desert it must be covered by x.

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