[Talk-us] [OSM-talk] Old Aerodromes

Paul Johnson baloo at ursamundi.org
Tue Apr 12 19:55:12 UTC 2016

On Tue, Apr 12, 2016 at 2:29 PM, Elliott Plack <elliott.plack at gmail.com>

> I am glad this conversation has restarted. A few of you, (Me, Paul,
> others..) will recall a similar conversation on the openstreetmap-carto
> repo a few years ago where I noted that there are simply too many of these
> micro airports shown on the map. We discussed at great length how the
> relative importance of aerodromes could potentially be used for rendering.

I'm not sure what my original thoughts were but where I'm currently at on
this is if you're in a situation where all you understand mapwise is OSM
and you're in an emergency situation where the destination now is
"anywhere", then OSM is better than nothing, having at least runway
centerlines (and preferably the same for taxiways) and perimeters is better
(you can at least make a ballpark estimate of what *might* be a survivable
landing).  This of course, with the tacit understanding that we are not the
FAA (or whatever authority of record is relevant regionally) and no
rational pilot worth his flight credentials would use it for more than the
absolute most preliminary steps of planning.  Or as a decently accurate map
for Flightgear, since that flight simulator uses OSM data for scenery

>From the ground, this isn't quite as important other than, say, being at
even a moderately sized airport like OSU in Norman or Riverside in Jenks
(both Oklahoma) where you might meet a friend in their plane at a specific
tiedown and not be sure where to drive inside the airport to the
appropriate tiedown/hangar.  Or at moderately large to huge airports,
finding a specific airport-related industry and residences only accessible
from a specific access in the perimeter (common with charter operators,
maintenance hangars, general aviation, military operators, etc; and
probably accounts for at least a hundred miles of near-airport GPXs and a
couple dozen miles of inside-perimeter GPX for me).

Bonus round a few years ago, attendees to Oklacon discovered the hard way
that Watonga Regional Airport is 1) a runway capable of emergency landing a
small commercial jetliner,  and 2) not secured.  Plus on at least one
commercial map provider, had it's taxiways, accesses and runways mapped as
a roadway, causing one especially confused person unfamiliar with the area
(or airports in general) to drive the length of the runway.   Fortunately,
Watonga's a *sllloooow* airport, and I don't recall hearing about anybody
or any flights in imminent danger (as was the case when Meigs unexpectedly
closed), so the incident only caused one person to be nicknamed Launchpad
for a couple days.  So having the airports properly tagged could be just as
important to *avoid* unintended traversal of airports as it can be to
intentionally navigate to a specific airport location.

> Given that map roulette is now handling these, I think this is a great
> time to revisit this discussion. If maprouletters can change all these
> point aerodromes to a polygon, then we can subjectively define airport
> importance using the shape size.

I'm all in favor of mapping these as polygons and mapping the on-the-ground
features, and possibly ground-based beacons where the identities can be
independently verified (shouldn't be hard, tune to it on a capable radio,
listen for the morse ident; in the midwest where there's basically noting
but tilled field, these might also serve as a potential landmark as much as
a lone tree does).  There's not much point in trying to map flight
restrictions or paths, though, since there's no real good way to identify
from the ground what these are.

Like lakes and parks, editors probably ought to show a visible warning that
things are Not Right when mapped as a node.
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