[OSM-talk] Prolification of the amenity tag

Joerg Ostertag (OSM Munich/Germany) openstreetmap at ostertag.name
Wed Nov 29 12:11:09 GMT 2006

On Wednesday 29 November 2006 10:48, bvh wrote:
> While this mail has been triggered by the proposal for
> amenity="wifi", 

I think amenity=wifi is a little bit special here. Lets discuss this in a 
separate thread.

> it is more about the amenities tag in general and 
> that is why I bring it up here instead of on the wiki.

Thanks for bringing this (at least to my) up here. 

> My take on the amenities tag is that recent proposals have drifted to
> uses that are better served outside the openstreetmap database.

Well I don't think this way. More below.

> For starters a (maybe) trivial conclusion : we do not want to tag
> everything that has a location (even if we could). 

I think we should tag everything we could, and even more if we can.

> So the question is where do we draw the line?

I think this has to be answered by everyone individually.

> My take on it is that we should try to tag everything that is needed
> to find your way (the purpose of a map, no?) 

And even this can be totally different for almost everyone contributing to 
OSM. Just to show you some extremes: A diver has completely different 
opinions on importance than a plane-pilot. And a 
hiker/foot-walker/horse-rider has a completely different opinion on this 
compared to someone driving along a motorway.

> So it's perfectly 
> reasonable to tag football stadiums 

Well this is one of the first things I disabled when I got my new Navi System. 
I really was not interested in all the Soccer stadiums and SportsBars here in 
Germany. This is what I mean if I say the focus of different people is 
sometimes orthogonally different. But what we need is a filtering mechanism, 
so everyone only sees the things he is really interested in.

> and churches because by virtue 
> of being easily recognizable they serve as a point of reference
> out there in the field.
> However, amenities="wifi", ="park_ride", ="clinic" etc don't share
> that purpose. There is little value to add them to a map.

I definitely and strongly disagree with your attitude here!

I convinced that things like a clinic, a hotel, a gas station, a supermarket 
are more than valuable, even necessary on a map. For one point I need them to 
find these thing for another they help me to navigate by matching them with 
the map.
So I would strongly recommend to keep and add all those "Point Of Interest" to 
our Database. This is one of the things which make a map complete and 
valuable. And only if we have all this data in one place we're able to 
say "WE are THE MAP-source". Otherwise programs like GpsDrive have to start 
trying to find dozens of different sources to get a workable basemap. And 
this is exactly what I don't want that everyone has to do over and over 

> That is not to say there is no value in knowing where these things are.

I'm glad you're in conses with me at least on this part ;-)

> But that purpose is better served with a seperate project
> (let's call it openyellowpages). And certainly in Web 2.0 spirit
> of things there would be a mash-up so that if a user searches for
> all wifi zones in her neighbourhoud she'd get back a map from
> openstreetmap and an overlay from openyellowpages.

But the problem would be; every external programmer (like me being the 
GpsDrive maintainer) has to start over again to collect the different sources 
together to get all valuable data. This is work which will then be done over 
and over again. Which definitely is a big waste of effort in the current 

> So, I'll be voting against nearly all amenities proposals that are
> currently being considered and I hope to find some people who think
> the same about this.

As already stated I definitely want to see all these feature inside OUR 
OSM-Database. So for now I'd definitely vote for putting all this information 
into the central OSM-Database.
If for some reasons you want to create a map without any of this information 
it is very simple to deactivate all the rendering rules you don't want to 
show up. But it is way more difficult to collect all this Information from 
other sources and then start creating rendering rules for all these tags.


Jörg (Germany, Munich)

TeamSpeak2: ts2.ostertag.name, user: tweety, Channel: "GPS Drive"
Tel.: +49 89 420950304

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