Wisconsin/Bodies of water

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Lakes

According to the Geographic Names Information System, Wisconsin has literally thousands of named lakes. Many of these are not mapped at all, are unnamed in OSM, do not have proper supplementary tags set, or none of these at all. Let's get started!

Areas or multipolygon relations

At a minimum, all Wisconsin lakes (whether mapped as an area or multipolygon) should contain the following tags and associated values:

Key Value Discussion
natural=* water Required. This is a body of water.
water=* lakereservoir

pond

Required. This is a specific type of body of water, as explained in the respective descriptions of them (but here is a brief summary – edit as needed):

lake if a naturally forming body of water. Usually named, but sometimes unnamed.

pond if a man-made body of water, generally dredged from the ground. Common on farms. Sometimes named but usually unnamed.

reservoir if a body of water was created by the construction of a dam.

name=* common name Required if it exists. You can use the GNIS feature query, limited to features of type lake.
gnis:feature_id=* GNIS numeric ID Required if an ID exists for the item. You can use the GNIS feature query, limited to features of type lake. The specific feature can be verified using the coordinates GNIS provides, to ensure that you are tagging the correct body of water.
alt_name=* Alternate name Optional. If there is a commonly used alternative name for the lake, put its name here. Nominatim is aware of this tag, and as such will index both a name and alt_name in its database.
wikipedia=* Wikipedia Page Title Required if an article exists. Many to most lakes in Wisconsin will not have a Wikipedia article. If, however, it does (larger lakes like Lake Winnebago do have them), include this here.
The GNIS feature query tool is an invaluable resource to methodically identify and tag every lake in the state. One way this can be done to speed the process:
  1. Go to the GNIS feature query tool URL.
  2. Click 'Advanced search'.
  3. Since GNIS feature queries are limited to 2000 items returned, we don't want to search the entire state, and it's better to do it per county. Here's how:
    1. Select State: Wisconsin
    2. Select county: <your county of choice>
    3. Select Coordinates Display: DEC
    4. Select Feature Class: Lake
    5. Run it! Send Query.
    6. Sort the result alphabetically by the first column, Feature Name.
  4. For each result the GNIS has returned, you can create (if a lake doesn't exist at all) or tag as necessary the area that already exists there. iD, in its edit window, allows you to search for DEC coordinates; for example, you can copy the coordinate '44.2763987 88.6966576' from GNIS and paste it into iD and reach the location of Squaw Lake, Outagamie County, Wisconsin by clicking the returned result. At this point you can map or tag the returned lake.

Counties completed

Counties for which features of type lake have been checked so far:

County Number of named GNIS lakes Alphabetical progress and notes
Brown
4
Incomplete; complete alphabetically through Third Lake.
Calumet
5
Complete.
Oconto
193
Complete.
Outagamie
2
Complete.
Vilas
590
Letter 'A' complete. Resume with (first) Baker Lake.

Waterways

According to the Geographic Names Information System, Wisconsin has literally thousands of named streams and rivers. Many of these are not mapped at all, are unnamed in OSM, do not have proper supplementary tags set, or none of these at all. Let's get started!

Any Wisconsin waterway named in GNIS should have a relation, and all ways from the source to the mouth, according to GNIS, should be a member of that relation. This both allows Nominatim to have exactly one searchable entry per waterway, and shows the complete route of the waterway.

Waterway ways with a name

At a minimum, all Wisconsin waterway ways with a name should contain the following tags and associated values:

Key Value Discussion
waterway=* streamriver Required.
name=* common name Required unless inside a named body of water. A named waterway's way should be labeled with its name. The exception to this rule is if a stream or waterway way flows through a lake. In this case, the way should still be a member of the waterway relation, but should not have the name label filled in. This allows map renderers to cleanly label a lake or reservoir that a river flows through without a waterway label getting in the way.
intermittent=* yes or none Required if waterway is intermittent. Waterways are assumed not to be intermittent by default, so this is only needed if the stream or river is intermittent.

Waterway relations

At a minimum, all Wisconsin waterway relations should contain the following tags and associated values:

Key Value Discussion
waterway=* river, canal, stream, drain, ditch Required. The maximum 'size' of the waterway along its entire length, as tagged on a member way. For example, if a waterway is never larger than a stream, this tag should be stream. If a way along the waterway's length is tagged as a river, this tag should be river.
name=* common name Required. This value will come from the GNIS entry for the waterway.
gnis:feature_id=* GNIS numeric ID Required. This comes from the GNIS entry for the waterway.
alt_name=* Alternate name Optional. If there is a commonly used alternative name for the waterway, put its name here. Nominatim is aware of this tag, and as such will index both a name and alt_name in its database.
destination=* Name of the waterway this waterway joins Required. The name of the body of water that this waterway joins at its mouth. For example, 'Fox River' for the Wolf River.
wikipedia=* Wikipedia Page Title Required if an article exists. Many larger rivers will have a Wikipedia article. If it does, include this tag with the waterway's article.

Recommended relation members

(Taken from Relation:waterway)

Object type Role Recurrence Description
Way main_stream One or more Any kind of waterway ways. They usually have a waterway=[river, canal, stream, drain, ditch] tag.
Way side_stream Zero or more waterway=river, waterway=canal, waterway=stream... a branch of main stream that returns to it.
Node spring Optional natural=spring The spring of the river. Some waterways begin with a body of water, or drainage, so this tag won't apply.

The GNIS feature query tool is an invaluable resource to methodically identify and tag every waterway in the state. One way this can be done to speed the process:

  1. Go to the GNIS feature query tool URL.
  2. Click 'Advanced search'.
  3. Since GNIS feature queries are limited to 2000 items returned, we don't want to search the entire state, and it's better to do it per county. Here's how:
    1. Select State: Wisconsin
    2. Select county: <your county of choice>
    3. Select Coordinates Display: DEC
    4. Select Feature Class: Stream
    5. Run it! Send Query.
    6. Sort the result alphabetically by the first column, Feature Name.
  4. For each result the GNIS has returned, you can create the waterway's ways if they don't exist or tag as necessary the ways that already exist. USGS topo map layers are very useful for this purpose. iD, in its edit window, allows you to search for DEC coordinates; for example, you can copy the coordinate '45.4430214 -90.1995922' from GNIS id 1578644 (Alcohol Creek) and paste it into iD and reach the source (origin) of Alcohol Creek by clicking the returned result. At this point you map ways and add them to a waterway relation.

Counties completed

Counties for which features of type Stream have been checked so far (as per the search method above):

County Number of named GNIS Streams Alphabetical progress and notes
Brown
4
Incomplete; complete alphabetically through Baird Creek.
Calumet
19
Complete.
Forest
116
Incomplete; complete alphabetically through Camp Eight Creek.
Grant
83
Incomplete; complete alphabetically through Blake Fork.
Marinette
115
Incomplete; complete alphabetically through Beaver Branch.
Oconto
58
Complete.
Outagamie
24
Complete.
Pepin
29
Incomplete; complete alphabetically through Missouri Creek.