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ditch vs. drain

How do I decide between the two? The picture and descriptions look very similar


As I see this page included in Category:Way Direction Dependent category, should I assume that the way must be draw so that the direction of the way is downstream?. If so is it better to add, as in page Tag:waterway=stream, the following sentence?

Direction of the way should be downstream.
AnyFile (talk) 15:14, 11 March 2013 (UTC)

waterway=ditch rendering change proposal on Mapnik

I have opened a request on the openstreetmap-carto Github to change the default rendering of waterway=ditch in the OSM default Mapnik render

Github request:

Currently, ways tagged with waterway=ditch are rendered from zoom level 13 onwards and they are rendered quite prominently at this zoom level. This can leave the render rather crowded in areas where ditches are used for land drainage

I propose that waterway=ditch is not rendered until zoom level 16+ and that it is rendered thinner also, similar to barrier=ditch


Crowding with waterway=ditch in Mapnik:

Clean rendering of barrier=ditch in Mapnik:

Example of good, clean rendering from Humanitarian render:


I disagree with the fact that every waterway=ditch implies barrier=ditch, however the reverse is true (a ditch barrier implies a ditch). Can we change it? Teuxe (talk) 17:16, 17 December 2014 (UTC)

  • In my opinion neither implies the other one (there may be small ditch that is not a barrier, there may be a dry ditch that is a barrier but not a waterway) Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 08:31, 18 December 2014 (UTC)
  • Both are distinctive. A waterway=ditch is for draining, a barrier=ditch for denying access. Neither implies the other. Perhaps barrier=ditch should be man_made=ditch/trench? --Jojo4u (talk) 20:40, 25 March 2015 (UTC)

For drainage and irrigation

In Asian countries, ditches are commonly used as minor irrigation channels from a larger canal or pond. How do we differentiate a ditch used for drainage from that used for irrigation? --Planemad/Talk 07:15, 13 April 2016 (UTC)

I could find some uses ([1]) and discussions ([2] [3] [4]) on irrigation=yes, so I'd recommend this.--Jojo4u (talk) 22:09, 17 April 2016 (UTC)