[OSM-talk] Potential problems moving/depreciating map features tags.

Dave osm.list at randomjunk.co.uk
Mon Jul 16 13:16:19 BST 2007

On 16/07/07, Ulf Lamping <ulf.lamping at web.de> wrote:
> David Earl schrieb:
> > Changing amenity=blah for man_made=blah is just not productive.
> >
> There were a lot of comments of "senior mappers" like: There's too much
> work to change this, people are used to it, changing is not productive ...
> Yes, changing tags is much more work than chaning the wiki page, that's
> for sure. But what do you mean with productive? Your own productiveness?
> Looking at all these comments from newbies not understanding things (or
> even worse not tagging things because of this) makes me sad. Having an
> inconsistent tagging scheme makes it very hard to learn and remember.
> Just because you had to learn it the hard way doesn't mean that others
> have do so as well, ad infinitum.

That's a good point, although I think tagging is such a steep learning
curve anyway, the odd tag out of place doesn't make much difference.
Web browsers have on-page search, so if you're looking for a
supermarket, it isn't difficult to find.

There's probably a lot of work to be done in improving the interface
to tagging. This might include listing amenity=supermarket in the
section containing all the shop tags for instance? There's no reason
why everything /has/ to be listed in key groupings.

In the "lots more work" category includes such wonders as better
editor support, and a proper tag database.

I'm not saying nothing should ever change, but for simple stuff that
might not have an ideal name, or has possibly the wrong key, there's
very little point in spending time and effort arguing the point,
deciding something new, rewriting the wiki, fixing the two main
renderers, fixing any editors which provide "auto-tagging", dealing
with the 300 e-mails to dev/talk asking why such 'n' such an
application that relied on the previous setup (and that you've never
heard of) now doesn't work, and all the random developers of said apps
who have to make changes.

It's these countless downstream changes you largely don't see that
make such "trivial" changes unproductive.

> > It's different if its a new tag, or if the tag doesn't work (e.g. route)
> > but changing things for the language of the tag names means we're for
> > ever chasing our tails
> Maybe, but is this a reason for not changing anything? With this kind of
> argumentation you could also say: "What's the reason for building a new
> streetmap from scratch? It will be a lot of work and a lot of them
> already exists" ;-)

Um.. no. You couldn't argue that because there is no free open
streetmap that works available already... if there were then there
would indeed be very little point in OSM. ;-)


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