OpenStreetMap

presets are a sensitive topic

Posted by dieterdreist on 7 September 2017 in English (English)

After some tagging chat on the Italian ML it came to my attention that iD is setting crossing=zebra tags on crosswalks, a tag that is not documented as value for the crossing key, besides in the UK. As I believe that using different tags for the same thing - although not really harmful - makes everyone's lifes a bit more complicated, I thought I'd give them a hint, after all, usage of this tagging is still behind the longer standing established and documented one. So I created this issue: #4316.

It came up, there are already 3 tickets where the same issue had also been dismissed.

IMHO, we should take care that editing software proposes the same presets for the same objects and properties (not necessarily the same level of detail, or presets for the same things), because tag fragmentation is a burden on everyone. In this case it is very clear that crossing=zebra only came to significant use when it was added as a preset in iD in May 2014 (compare with the graph above).

Comment from dieterdreist on 7 September 2017 at 16:05

sorry for the clickbait ;-)

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Comment from RobJN on 7 September 2017 at 16:59

TL;DR: I don't understand why Bryan didn't just go with crossing=yes for the generic tag? Or his 2016 suggestion of:

"My personal preference would be crossing= to support marked / unmarked, and crossing_ref= would be a dropdown of the common types of markings. But I don't think I would win that argument either."

An uncontrolled crossing and a (UK) zebra crossing are two different things in my opinion. The UK zebra crossing has black and white stripes on the road and often includes an orange flashing beacon. If a pedestrian is stood on the pavement beside the crossing then vehicles are required to stop and let them pass. Black and white stripes are not used on crossing that are are controlled by traffic lights (as they are in some countries outside of the UK) but I deem the UK zebra crossing to be a controlled (rather than uncontrolled) crossing due to the requirement on vehicles to stop when this particular road marking is used.

To me an uncontrolled crossing has no significant road marking and no traffic lights. It may have a dropped curb but of follow the end of a path leading to the road, but would otherwise be hard to recognise as a crossing at all.

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Comment from imagico on 7 September 2017 at 17:33

I understand your concern here but as i think i said elsewhere before the solution to this is not to put presets in iD under supervision of some kind of committee or so but to ensure more diversity in presets - iD could then have the option to choose between a number of different presets maintained by different people and any of them makes a certain choice it would only affect the fraction of iD users that use these presets.

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Comment from Richard on 8 September 2017 at 07:27

Martin - personalising the issue like this is really unhelpful and exactly the sort of thing that made me burn out after however many years of maintaining Potlatch. Please please don't do it, we have few enough developers as it is.

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Comment from Warin61 on 8 September 2017 at 10:05

Personally I prefer not to use presets. I like to think.

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Comment from SimonPoole on 8 September 2017 at 11:39

Maintaining a larger set of presets is a lot of work and we don't really have enough manpower to go around as is and for example just track common use as is (see the large difference between iD and JOSM presets). I'm not convinced that multiplying the number of presets is going to fix anything except burn even more time.

PS: @RobJN http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:crossing the wiki has said something else wrt "uncontrolled" since 2008 (crossing just with road markings) and I suspect that reflects common understanding more than an "unmarked" crossing..

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Comment from dieterdreist on 8 September 2017 at 12:51

@Richard yes, you're right of course, I have redacted the post

@SimonPoole the wiki in 2008 first said crossing=zebra and was modified 2 months later on July 17th to basically what is there til now, and after some revert and forth, apparently as a compromise, the current situation went into the wiki in August 2008: crossing=uncontrolled was documented for zebra crossings (with crossing_ref=zebra) and crossing=zebra was documented as UK shortcut.

I actually agree that a zebra crossing is kind of controlled. crossing=zebra rather than setting 2 tags (with semantic problems) therefore is the better solution for me, but I would have liked an explicit transition (i.e. changing the wiki, possibly presets in other software, etc.), not "silently" bringing "new" variations into the db

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