[Talk-us] misuse of the landuse=forest tag for national forests

Thomas Colson thomas_colson at nps.gov
Sat May 11 20:42:26 UTC 2013

This can get pretty complicated, with the way USFS manages its land: they
manage two boundaries....lands that are owned by the USFS, and private lands
they manage (e.g. game lands, conservation easements...). Each unit within a
forest can have a different management plan (roadless, timber, wildland).
This could lead OSM mappers to come to different interpretations of the
various boundaries within a USFS unit and possibly lead to several large
green areas of different shades, Commodore 64 Style. For example, a NPS unit
will typically have 12 land use management categories, the important one
being wilderness. It'd be pretty chaotic to try to tag a park boundary 12
different ways to encompass those land uses, not to mention ticking off any
one trying to render a simple park boundary. 

I'd download the USFS boundaries geodatabase from their web site. 

No help on tagging, though. I suspect, for simplicity sake, OSMers would
want a single tag for a contiguous USFS boundary. Personally, I'd like to
see USFS (and BLM, NPS, etc) unit boundaries tagged as an administrative
boundaries, which is, in fact, what they are, regardless of the land use
status within that boundary. 

Might be a good idea to update the Wiki page on this topic and/or add a
proposed new tag, or tag change. 

-----Original Message-----
From: Torsten Karzig [mailto:Torsten.Karzig at web.de] 
Sent: Saturday, May 11, 2013 3:53 PM
To: talk-us at openstreetmap.org
Subject: [Talk-us] misuse of the landuse=forest tag for national forests

I am relatively new to the talk-us list and have a question concerning the
landuse tags of national forests. Right now (at least in southern
california) all national forests are landuse=forest which leads to large
green areas on the map which look like they originate from a very old video
game with giant pixels. The boundaries of the national forest often have
nothing to do with the actual landuse=forest/natural=wood boundaries. I
would therefore vote for deleting the landuse tag [and map it separately]
leaving the national forests only as protected_areas.

Before doing this change I would like to have your input/opinion on the

I know that this should actually not be a concern but does anybody know
whether protected areas of level 6 (like national forests) are rendered? 
(if not this might be a reason for the initial landuse=forest tag, although
this is clearly mapping for the renderer)

One more thing: When I look at the definition of the OSM map features it
seems that natural=wood seems to be a better tag. But this depends a bit on
the interpretation whether landuse=forest is used for land that is primarily
managed for timber production or for woodland that is in some way maintained
by humans.


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