[OSM-talk] landcover=trees [was Re: OpenStreetMap Carto v2.33.0 release]

Greg Troxel gdt at ir.bbn.com
Sun Aug 16 13:27:01 UTC 2015

moltonel <moltonel at gmail.com> writes:

> This is a perfect example of the confusion around landuse=forest vs
> natural=wood. Size and density ? Managed ? Named ? Usage type ? The
> curent osm data is a mix of all these criterias an more; at this stage
> it is hopeless for the consumer to extract more meaning than 'here be
> trees'. Landcover=trees is rightly calling these nuances a loss and
> trying a fresh clean approach.

landuse=forest does not imply the area is completely tree covered.  The
basic issue, which osm is starting to a address, is the distinction been
"land use", a human geography concept which is about purpose, and "land
cover" which is about what is actually there.   It is true that there
are often correlations, but we should not assume those are 100%.

So I think landcover=trees for any area that is predominantly trees
makes sense.  And landuse=forest if it is in fact managed, or
landuse=conservation if the primary purpose is to preserve the land in a
natrual state.

One could argue that natural=trees is a synonym for landcover=trees.

One could also argue that landcover=trees is not appropriate for a

Yes, this leads to many places having both a landuse and a landcover
tag.  I think that's fine.
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