[OSM-talk] Map Features / International

Dave Stubbs osm.list at randomjunk.co.uk
Tue Jul 31 16:15:38 BST 2007

On 31/07/07, Ulf Lamping <ulf.lamping at web.de> wrote:
> >
> > On 31/07/07, Frederik Ramm <frederik at remote.org> wrote:
> > > Hi,
> > >
> > >     I think that our map features page is too English (or maybe too
> > > German, depends on who edited it last...). Either we need to
> > > encourage more national tagging, or we must start removing cultural
> > > dependencies from Map Features (at the risk of making it less usable).
> > >
> > > For example, there's the "shop" section, with an entry:
> > >
> > > "shop=bakery: selling bread, cakes..."
> > >
> >
> > This originally said butchers, bakers, candlestick makers... or
> > something along those lines. This was a much better description than
> > what's currently there (or at least it would have been if it wasn't
> > for the fact that noone outside of the
> > english-language-nursery-rhyme-exposed group got the reference).
> So what's your point here? You've mentioned already, that using a nursery rhyme is not very reference like for anyone not form the UK and Frederik started this thread to be more international?!?

My point was that the feature became more prescriptive than was
intended initially -- ie: originally it wasn't actually suggesting any
serious values.

> > The shop tag went overnight from being, "just write down the kind of
> > shop it is", to being "shop tags that have been approved are butcher,
> > baker, chandler". Which is so silly, it's silly.
> Well, it wasn't: "just write down the kind of shop it is", you only interpret it that way. It was only a joke a lot of people outside the uk just didn't understood. I was asking the talk list exactly what that meant as I had no idea and got something like "I think they mean ...".

Well, it was that, that's what the joke meant. I agree completely that
that won't be at all clear to any non-native english speaker, and
probably a few of those too. In the thread where the question was
asked, the joke was explained, and at that point the correction should
have been to replace the text with "any". Unfortunately the thread
also contained many explanations for what the individual shop types
actually were, so that may have been lost.

> BTW: Do you want to render all shop items the same way with the same icon? If not, then the renderer has to have some ideas what a tag might mean in reality. Simply saying use the shop tag and do what you like will make it virtually impossible for renderers to find the "right icon". So I don't see a better way than to find the common shop tags through the proposal way.

I'm all for a much less centralised system. When it comes to shop
types there are so many and subtle variations that TBH icons on most
maps will make most maps look shit. Specific map types may wish to
highlight various shop types.

The tagging for this kind of thing needs to be much cleverer. No, I
can't think how right now, although I'm sure STAGS will provide some

(we don't have the rails port panacea any more... going with stags instead ;-) )

> >
> > A lot of the cultural problems would go away if map features was less
> > prescriptive.
> Really? A lot of cultural problem we currently have is because people from the uk arguing against tags that they don't understand, as they have no meaning in the uk. A very recent example is the debate about parking areas for hikers.

Which is exactly why people should go on and ignore map features, or
else make it as general as possible. Of course things aren't going to
work sometimes, and of course people will argue against things they
don't understand.

Frankly I think you can ignore any opinion which starts, "but I don't
see how that's any different to..." because it's kind of irrelevant
whether they can or not... the point is whether anyone actually wishes
to tag a difference.

> Beside the fact that a lot of people will have a very hard time to get the point, if it is less prescriptive. I can tell you, as a none native english speaker that I had a *very hard time* to read the map features page the first time.
> > Not all obviously, but it would be a start, and the
> > stags stuff might make the rest slightly easier if it suggests some
> > kind of structure for this kind of thing.
> >
> > So yes, it needs to be a *lot* clearer on that page that what's shown
> > is a suggestion only.
> The very first sentence on that page says exactly that and almost every topic has a "User Defined" tag. How much clearer would you like it to have? With red color and blinking? ;-)

I was thinking purple ;-)

> You, as a native english speaker might find the map features page pretty obvious. As I had a look at the german and other translations, there were a lot of english remains, very certainly because the translator had no idea what the sentence/tag/description actually meant. So it seems, that a lot of international people won't get the meaning *at all* without some more description.

Don't worry -- map features can be as opaque to native english
speakers as it can to everybody else. I agree completely that it needs
better descriptions. I just think it needs less stuff on there some of
the time.

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