A proposal is a suggestion how to model a real-world situation (so-called "feature") in the data model of OpenStreetMap. Some proposals just include a single tag, but others include a scheme consisting of multiple tags and elements.
The creation of a proposal usually follows the defined proposal process although this is not mandatory. This process makes use of a wiki page featuring the draft and an ongoing discussion over various communication channels (taggingopenstreetmap.org is the dedicated mailing list). The draft might be updated during the discussion which in turn leads to a voting about the proposal. The concepts of approved proposals are referred to as approved features.
Apart from creating a proposal, every user can create a new tagging-scheme without any proposal. Users are encouraged to document their tags in this wiki.
Advantages of proposals
- You will get feedback from fellow mappers.
- You can avoid creating a new schema for something you did not know before.
- You have the option to refine the meaning of a tag compared to a previous definition.
- Voting provides you with some measure of community agreement, but please remember that this does not justify automated edits by itself.
Disadvantages of proposals
- Proposals are usually formulated in English what is a barrier for people from countries where English is foreign language
- Votes in the proposal process are not necessarily representative for all mappers (current total number of contributors: more than ten million)
- Discussions can become lengthy and off-topic.
- Country-specific tagging and conventions might hinder your ideas (especially if those are not well documented).
Dealing with abandoned drafts
Apart from many approved proposals, this wiki also contains drafts of proposals or abandoned ones that were never voted on. Some users argue that these should be deleted to focus the wiki on currently used content while others argue that all proposals should be kept for documentation.
Lists of proposals
- Syntactic conventions for new tags
- overview of conventions for naming and encoding
- Good practice
- general guidelines about mapping
- Tagging guidelines by country
- overview of more specific guidelines
- Additional stats as of early 2020: contributors who last edited a feature: ~1,6 mil., active contributors within 30 days: ~40,000 in the last 3 years. See http://osmstats.neis-one.org/.
- lengthy discussion about DE:Proposed features/Empfehlung zur Verwendung von Multipolygonen in the German forum https://forum.openstreetmap.org/viewtopic.php?id=64439 (> 500 posts, dozens actually off-topic) (de)
- Tagging list discussion in February 2019: https://lists.openstreetmap.org/pipermail/tagging/2019-February/042659.html