[Talk-us] Updating tagging of public transport

stevea steveaOSM at softworkers.com
Sat Nov 29 10:02:01 UTC 2014

>it is not clear if the new way is actually better, at least the 
>current data stats show that mappers still prefer the "old" method, 
>at least for bus stops, as it is simpler (you need just one tag 
>highway=bus_stop instead of two: public_transport=platform and 
>bus=yes, for the same information content), and the new style cannot 
>be rendered on the main map, because of the lack of the bus-key (the 
>rendering db only "knows" that there is some kind of stop, but it 
>cannot determine if it is a tram stop, a bus stop or whatelse).
>I wouldn't "re-tag", ie. won't remove tags, but you can add the 
>public_transport=* tags if you want to support also this scheme.

Is what I hear Martin saying here is that tagging with an old style 
because it renders AND tagging with a newer syntax that doesn't is 
OK?  (As in, "doing two things at once, even if they achieve 
different, but good and worthy goals, is right"?)  If so, part of 
what it says is that syntax is rather distantly connected to 
rendering.  Read that again, as I think it is important.  It is about 
what might be called OSM's "transmission."

Not everybody understands the full process of how changes in syntax 
(e.g. voted upon tagging) turn into "what we see mapped."  There are 
human consensus processes there, there are coding processes there 
(including bug fixes, actual writing of render code..) there is quite 
much more than just that there.  It is a complicated moving set of 
parts.  It is "let's map bus routes, OK, let's describe better syntax 
for bus routes, OK (but we don't render that today").  Now what? 
That's a real "hit the brakes and think about how to do it better, so 
discuss" moment.

As we recognize distance between what people want to see represented 
in the map (how they tag) with the syntax of doing so (actual tags 
that get into OSM's data) can we better discuss this?  We can and 
should, I say.  Deep, I know.  My point is that a person wanting to 
understand how to influence this is very much helped by understanding 
it (as much of it as possible, as much of it as we can describe as 
what we intend...) in the first place.  How might one see such moving 
parts of OSM and how they a) work today? and b) work better in the 
future as we intend them?  It goes deeper than public transport 
tagging, but that is a good example through this transmission.

Look, I know:  some of us work on our transmission, and they must.  A 
lot more of us -- and there are many -- are only quite vaguely aware 
of how it works, or how we might best induce positive change into its 
workings.  We can do better.  Good discussion so far, but it seems we 
are only scratching this surface.


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