[Talk-GB] Marking landuse and field boundaries

Dudley Ibbett dudleyibbett at hotmail.com
Thu Jan 3 06:52:15 GMT 2013

Personally, it is good to see others adding field boundaries.

I thought it might be useful to describe my current practice with regard to mapping field boundaries.  In making the following comments, I would say that I am interested in landscape maintenance and presevation and not just navigation.  We have had to fight several planning applications in our valley and 
have won theses based on the quality of 
the landscape.  Having good maps of this is important.  OSM could be 
useful tool in this context.

I started mapping field  boundaries as a Newbie (I'm not sure when you stop being one) about 10 months back.  At the time I made some enquires on the Newbie mailing list about how to handle field boundaries and roads.  From this I concluded that you shouldn't join field boundaries to roads.  I also started mapping the field boundaries along roads.  The suggestion seemed to be that this should be done for completeness.  Drawing field boundaries along roads is diffcult to do neatly and looks messy at high OSM zoom.  However when you scale back, the road rendering masks this.  It is probably worth going to more trouble where main roads are concerned and their line is unlikely to be adjusted.  In JOSM you can create a parallel way from the road which can help.  

I don't join field boundaries to rivers.  This is a bit problematic as where I live rivers can have quite dense tree coverage and are part of the landscape character.  I have yet to decide how this should be mapped.  The same issue relates to the railway embankments which have trees lining them although there is fencing.  Hepful suggestions would be welcome!

When it comes to dry stone walls that have collapsed in places and been patched up with fencing, old gate or anything else the land owner has to hand I just mark the whole boundary as a dry stone wall.  I live in hope they will be reparied!  If there are clear, sizeable, lengths where the stones have been removed.  i.e. there is no chance it will ever be repaired I would try and mark out the fence but it would 
only be an estimate.  Perhaps rather more contraversaly if the wall has 
collapsed in its total length, and a wire fence has been put up but all the 
stones remain in place I still am inclined to mark it as a wall.  I am 
thinking more in the context of the field boundary.  i.e. If the 
stones weren't there the fence probably wouldn't be.  If the wall is heavily overgrown and "looking" like a hedge I would still tag it as a wall.

When it comes to hedges that have been patched up with small sections of
 fencing or have a fence parallel to them as they are no longer stock 
proof I would again just mark this as a complete hedge.  Hedges that have not been cut for the last 10 years+ (we have a road locally where one side is cut every year and is about 2 meters hight and the other side must be more than 10 meters) I still tag as hedges.  Again, if there were obvious and large sections of just fence or stone wall come to that I would tag these but they would only be an estimate.

If the hedge has become a line of trees (i.e. no longer used as a stock boundary) then I use natural=tree_row.  It seems the most suitable tag available but doesn't render on the OSM map.

Where paths pass through gaps in boundaries I tend (if the gap is small) to map this as a complete boundary with an "entrance" node where the path passes through the boundary.  

I do tag the source as survey;bing if I have seen it or just bing if it from the imagery only.  If I have walked along it or have waymarked the end I would probably add "gps".

If your using JOSM it is well worth "hacking" your own preset to do the above.  You can also add a source drop down list to make adding this easy to do.

When it comes to drawing the ways that make up a field I'm afraid I am not consistant in how I do this.  i.e. I don't draw each side of a field as a seperate way and the ways may make up more than one field.  This I'm sure isn't compatable with tagging individual field landuse at a later date.  Sorry.  I would add on this subject that there is an area where someone has gone to a great deal of trouble to map out all the individual fields as seperate fields with a landuse=field tag.  I don't currrently know how to tag these with a boundary tag as it would seem I would end up with a wall on top of a wall for each field if I just added barrier=wall to each area.  Any suggestions on how to do this would be appreciated.  

Apologies for going on a bit but I though the above comments might be helpful.



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