[OSM-talk] Abandon all ways: a polemic

Frederik Ramm frederik at remote.org
Mon Mar 19 23:04:09 GMT 2007


 > What is so bad about attaching tags to segments?
 > And abandoning ways altogether?

I'm reluctant to get into data model discussions on the list as I feel 
they get us nowhere.

But a quick note about the "polemic" and your suggestion to only use 
segments. Basically, at the very low end of the database, having ways as 
ordered sequences of nodes does pretty much what you say. You say: 
"simply attach the same street name to all segments ... storing 
identical strings just once ...". If you thing of a way as an attribute 
set for segments, then your segments will "point to" a set of attributes 
which is more or less what today's ways are. A segment being part of a 
street and a bus route would paint to two attribute sets (be part of two 

You're not really having a problem with the data model; you just want a 
better (or different) editor. You write that "ways demand taggers follow 
rules seemingly for the convenience of developers..." - but so is our 
API. Hey, it demands you submit your changes in the form of a 20-line 
HTTP request, for one node only! But the editor shields you from this 
underlying structure so you don't have to enter the HTTP message by hand.

What you're really asking for is an improved editor; the data model has 
nothing to do with it. As shown by Potlatch, an editor can decide to 
hide complexity from the user (in Potlatch's case that is the segments, 
but I could also devise an editor which would let you have your way with 
attributes etc. and automatically generate or split ways where 
necessary, without you noticing).

And Superduperways? Arbitrary levels of hierarchy are not a problem if 
managed properly by the software.


Frederik Ramm  ##  eMail frederik at remote.org  ##  N49°00.09' E008°23.33'

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