What are ‘we’ tagging’? And Why are ‘we’ tagging it?

My preference it to tag what is seen … not what is consumed, not what is done. An example: There looks to be some angst over the new tag ‘man_made=tap’ tag. And that looks to come from the supporters of the tag ‘amenity=drinking_water’ humm ..

That tag ‘amenity=drinking_water’ .. does not sit well with me. I agree it needs to be tagged, but is this the best way? It is not consistent with other tags .. such as;

amenity=pub .. should this then be amenity=beer_drinking or amenity=beer?

amenity=restaurant .. should this then be amenity=eating or amenity=food?

My thoughts are that ‘amenity-drinking_water’ should become a tap, a blubber, a fountain .. what is seen. Why is this better? Consistency with other tags. And then .. well for me I like to know if I can fill my water bottle from it without making a mess (tap and maybe a fountain). Or I like to know if I can drink from it without needing a cup/water bottle (bubbler).

—————– next time - logical grouping of things?


Comment from escada on 24 January 2015 at 11:26

I’ll agree with you that amenity=drinking_water is a bad choice, and drinking_water_fountain would have been a better choice. I just assume that in the early days of OSM most people wanted to create a basic map and didn’t bother thinking about tags in the way you do. So any value would do.

But, actually I also don’t care to much about those values, as a non-native English person, they are somehow abstract anyway. And maybe that’s the easiest to think about them. It’s just a key=value pair.

I think it is far more useful to guide people towards the right tagging than to keep on discussing whether something is a “tourism”, “leisure” or “amenity”. I don’t care when I want to tag a picnic table. I want to be able to search for it (in my native language) and the editor will add the right tags. Maybe even a set of tags. When I search for “drinking water fountain” and the editor adds “man_made=tap, drinkable=yes”. Or even mangemaakt=waterkraan, drinkbaar=ja — just to give you an idea how tagging would be in Dutch.

That kind of guidance more important than th actual value IMHO.

The tags are an internal representation. They might even have used “DW” for drinking water. The editors and the data consumer software should do the conversion to “natural” language.

Comment from BushmanK on 1 January 2016 at 19:35

First of all, tags in OSM are abstract values. We could be using numerical codes as well (just like some GIS systems do). But words are used to make it more human-readable. Sometimes it leads to certain confusion, because entities, tagged by certain keys and values, are defined more strictly (or, otherwise, more universally) than words in natural language. Also, it is important to understand, that tagged properties should be close to “atomic”, elementary properties, instead of being combined (compound).

For example, “drinking_water_fountain” is not a good choice at all, because it reflects at least two (three, actually) properties together: “place, where you can get water”, “that water is drinkable” and “here is a fountain”. So, should we invent another tag, such as “drinking_water_tap” for those places, where they have tap instead of fountain? No, that’s against the concept of core tag and additional tags, intended to add fine details.

Proper scheme should include several tags: one for a place, where you can get water (core or root tag); another - to denote, if it’s drinkable or not; and further tags to tell, if it’s a tap, fountain, open pipe or whatever. It allows to tag everything in flexible manner, adding or removing properties independently. It also allows simple querying of data by single tag instead of using list of them (one for every kind of drinking water source).

Remember, OSM is not a map, it’s geodatabase, which goes beyond the typical set of capabilities, associated with digital map.

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