[Talk-us] Green Mountain National Forest cleanup

Kevin Kenny kevin.b.kenny+osm at gmail.com
Tue Jan 17 20:38:56 UTC 2017

My big issue with this is that we - alas! - need to have something "tagged
for the renderer."

Over on the other side of Lake Champlain and the Taconics, we have the same
problem with the Catskill and Adirondack Parks, which are protected areas
with an immense public-private partnership. (Something over half the
Adirondack Park is owned by New York State, and the rest is quite
restrictively administered by the Adirondack Park Agency. Its level of
protection exceeds that of any of our National Parks.)

The problem is that boundary=protected_area does not render in any of the
map layers available from openstreetmap.org. People editing
protected_area's cannot see their results on the server, and newcomers to
OSM don't even know that we have them in the database.

I'd say that the answer is, "fix the renderer" - and surely
Mapnik/Carto/... can handle it, since I use that toolchain to render my own
maps. The underlying issue is that to fix it in any of the default
renderings (OSM default, OpenCycleMap, etc.), 'hstore' would have to be
enabled on the server's database to get the 'protect_class' tag into the
system. For whatever reason, the server team has balked at doing this for
quite literally several years. I do not expect this situation to resolve in
my lifetime,. and I have ceased to request any support for protected area
rendering. Instead, I do most of my own rendering on maps such as
http://kbk.is-a-geek.net/catskills/test3.html, and accept the fact that I
will have a day or two delay in being able to retrieve any updates. (I
don't have the resources to accept minutely updates, so I depend on the
daily extracts at geofabrik.de. Often, I let my map fall several months
behind, when I'm not actively mapping).

Most US mappers have simply accepted that the renderer will not be fixed.
The compromise that I used when reworking the Adirondack Park polygons was
not well received on this list, but at least nobody reverted the changes.
In that compromise solution:

- the Adirondack and Catskill Parks as a whole were tagged
boundary=national_park. This tagging is close to the truth except that it
is New York State rather than a nation-state that administers it. Given the
US principle of separate sovereignty, I'm willing to live with this.

- the individual state (and in the case of the Catskills, New York City)
owned parcels received the additional tagging of 'leisure=nature_reserve'
plus appropriate 'protected_area' tagging. That way, they are correct in
the new scheme and still render plausibly. 'Nature reserves' encompass many
different things, so I wasn't too uncomfortable with this tagging.

- I seriously attempted to make appropriate choices for 'protect_class' and
related tags. This sometimes meant up-classifying relative to the IUCN
database. IUCN wants to classify the Adirondack and Catskill holdings no
higher than protect_class=6, because they don't enjoy national-level
protection. That's again a failure to understand the US legal system; the
State-level protection that they enjoy is far stronger than any Federal
protection: these two parks are read into the state constitution. I was
entirely comfortable giving the High Peaks or West Canada Lake wilderness
areas protect_class=1b. They are indeed protected wilderness, where Man is
a visitor who does not remain.

The result of the compromise is, as you can see:

- everything renders on the main page. The parks are at least visible.
(There has been at least one round with the National Forests that rendered
them entirely invisible.)

- the 'landuse=forest' tag is not abused. There is no green infill on
tracts that are not forested. The system still presumes that
'landuse=forest' means 'every square metre covered by trees - and cannot
cope with the idea of 'the landowner's intent is to use the tract for
forestry, but this particular bit, this year, is occupied by beavers' -
according to the OSM purists, that's no longer 'forest'. (For this reason,
I find 'landuse=forest' to be nearly useless: all the 'forest' tracts that
I've ever mapped have transient or permanent phenomena meaning that
individual pieces may be clearcut, bare rock, or open water at a particular

- the 'leisure=nature_reserve' tag is only slightly abused. A wilderness
area, a wildlife management region, or a protected watershed (all of which
permit recreational use) are all reserved to nature, and no US English
speaker would be astonished at the tagging. I refuse to fight with the
purists on this issue. There is no other suitable tag available that will
ever be rendered on the main map.

- the 'boundary=national_park' tag is abused on very few polygons, and can
be reverted if and when there is ever a rendering of the protected_area
status. I am not optimistic that this will occur.

This issue has been discussed here many times before. The result is an
impasse. This is one of the issues where nobody has been able to span the
"US-European divide." I do not expect it ever to be resolved, so any
tagging plan will either be an awkward compromise or result in invisble

This is not a case of, "it's open source, so if you need it done, do it
yourself." I'd be perfectly willing to do it myself, if it were not for the
fact that "doing it myself" would involve building an entire server
infrastructure to support a different rendering of the main map. That's not
something within my capability.

On Tue, Jan 17, 2017 at 12:57 PM, Adam Franco <adamfranco at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hello all,
> I'm planning to do some cleanup of the Green Mountain National Forest in
> Vermont and figured it might be useful to provide the opportunity for
> feedback before embarking on this project.
> The Green Mountain National forest is currently mapped as two large
> outer-area relations that include large swaths of private land and many
> ways and relations that mark independent parcel boundaries -- the latter
> having a multitude of tag schemes.
> Outer area boundaries:
>    - northern section: https://www.openstreetmap.org/relation/2030450
>    - southern section: https://www.openstreetmap.org/relation/1610349
> Many parcel boundaries (examples):
>    - https://www.openstreetmap.org/relation/6850907#map=13/44.
>    0444/-73.0668
>    - https://www.openstreetmap.org/relation/6631735#map=12/44.
>    0070/-72.9569
>    - https://www.openstreetmap.org/way/116060714#map=12/44.0123/-72.9418
>    - ....
> There is very little consistency in the tagging of the parcel boundaries
> -- many are tagged as boundary=national_park, others are tagged as
> boundary=protected_area. As well, many [most?] are tagged with
> landuse=forest even if they are sensitive areas (protected watersheds),
> wilderness areas (no logging allowed ever), designated recreation areas, or
> otherwise not open to logging.
> I propose to group all of the parcel boundaries into two super-relations,
> one for the northern half of the GMNF and one for the souther half of the
> GMNF. These super-relations would have:
>    - type <https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:type>=boundary
>    <https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Tag:type%3Dboundary>
>    - boundary <https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:boundary>=
>    protected_area
>    <https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Tag:boundary%3Dprotected_area>
>    - protect_class <https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:protect_class>
>    =6
>    - protection_title
>    <https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:protection_title>=National
>    Forest
>    - protected <https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:protected>
>    =perpetuity
>    - operator <https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:operator>=United
>    States Forest Service
>    - leisure=nature_reserve (this seemed to be recommended in the "Okanogan-Wenatchee
>    National Forest (landuse=forest and US National forests again)
>    <https://www.mail-archive.com/talk-us@openstreetmap.org/msg16713.html>"
>    discussion a few months ago)
> as described on US Forest Service Data wiki page
> <https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/US_Forest_Service_Data#National_Forest_Boundaries>.
> The members of this super-relations would have their own tags either
> normalized to the same values above the super-relation (maintaining
> additional parcel-specific details) or would have their duplicative tags
> removed. In particular, the boundary=national_park tag would be be
> normalized to boundary=protected_area and the landuse=forest tag would
> generally be removed.
> I'm planning to do all of this cleanup manually sometime soon and just
> wondered if anyone had any further suggestions. I guess an alternative
> process would be to reimport the parcel boundaries from the latest "Survey
> Boundaries maintained by the US Forest Service
> <https://data.fs.usda.gov/geodata/edw/datasets.php>" file, but I'm not
> sure if that might be more difficult or easier.
> Thanks for any input!
> Adam
> https://www.openstreetmap.org/user/Adam%20Franco
> _______________________________________________
> Talk-us mailing list
> Talk-us at openstreetmap.org
> https://lists.openstreetmap.org/listinfo/talk-us
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