Proposal talk:Water details

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The procedure for a vote on Proposed_features#Voting requires a specific Subject line inthe e-mail sent to the tagging list. As this was not used, the vote is invalid. I will remove the vote on this page and leave someone to reopen it correctly if they really think this is a good idea.

WTF. --Zverik 12:12, 11 May 2011 (BST)

water=river VS water=riverbank

Maybe correctly to use water=riverbank (on the analogy of waterway=riverbank) instead water=river? --Canabis 14:51, 1 April 2011 (BST)

Since we have water=lake and not water=lakeshore, I assumed water=river should be enough. As I've got, waterway=riverbank was invented because in ancient times with this tag actual river banks were mapped — not as polygons, but like natural=coastline. Nowadays this naming is a bit obsolete. So water=river to mark that this natural=water is a body of a river, like water=lake marks the body of a lake. --Zverik 15:36, 1 April 2011 (BST)
This looks like a synonym at first glance, but it is not really. I see this as an improvement as waterway=riverbank should mark the bank of the river, which is never in the middle (but with common mapping it is set on the connections between the two sides which is not semantically correct). natural=water with water=river is what we actually map. --Dieterdreist 19:40, 16 April 2011 (BST)
River banks are mapped as polygons using waterway=riverbank and are rendered correctly by both Mapnik & Osmarender (See Tag:waterway=riverbank). Those of us who have done a lot of river bank mapping would not be happy if that work were undone. This tag should therefore not be deprecated. . --Malcolmh
Such widely used tag can not be deprecated. The proposal states that areas with tags natural=water + water=river should be processed the same way as waterway=riverbank tagged areas, and recommends using those tags for newly mapped river bodies. I cannot change proposal text after the voting process has begun, but this will be stated in the tag description and other relevant pages. --Zverik 16:13, 17 April 2011 (BST)


I was hoping to find some tag proposals to refine current mapping, but actually most of this covers only stuff that is already mappable with the current set (changing only words, the result will be that then there will be 2 tags to look for: the old one and the new one). For instance I am not happy with the waterway-classification, where there is only 2 values for natural waterways (river and stream) and 3 for artificial waterways (canal, drain, ditch). I'd also expect a value suggestion for fountains, which are often mapped as natural=water. -- Dieterdreist 15:00, 1 April 2011 (BST)

How fountain could be mapped as natural=water? It is usually a pond with a node fountain in it. With the current set of tags lakes are indistinguishable from ponds, for example. It is not a proposal to change anything (although it proposes to map waterway=riverbank as natural=water — but riverbank is in no way a waterway), but to be more specific about what type a water body is. This does not change anything for objects that are tagged with natural=water currently. My purpose is not to invent a new scheme, just to refine what is used already. --Zverik 15:40, 1 April 2011 (BST)

water=saltwater and water=lagoon

There are lots of saltwater lagoons around the world (separated from the sea by a narrow piece of land. There are also lots of saltwater (or brackish water) open lakes. Neither of these has an appropriate tag at the moment.

I've added water=cove for that. Saltness of water in it is equal to saltness in the sea. And you can add salt=yes if you like: there are already several uses of that tag, so it should be understood correctly. --Zverik 06:27, 3 April 2011 (BST)
A cove is an inlet, connected to the sea (and it's just a smaller version of a bay). It's a geographic feature of the coastline, rather than a standalone body of water. A lagoon is not connected at all and is a separate, standalone body of water. csdf 08:59, 3 April 2011 (BST)
Ok, I understand now. I've added water=lagoon to the list. Thanks. --Zverik 13:21, 3 April 2011 (BST)

Water,Wells and river naming

I like the idea of changing Waterway=riverbank to natural=water because there are parts of rivers that have their own name yet it is still part of the river. If the name is rendered this would be useful for boaters, canoeists etc.

Water=well, water=spring, water=treatment_plant, water=grey_water_treatment would also be very useful. This could be very beneficial to map out the entire drinking water flow. It would help with countries developing their water systems--Central America 09:34, 7 April 2011 (BST)

Wells and springs are usually point features (maybe with pools/lakes nearby). water=* tag is only for specifying natural=water, so it does not apply to nodes: there are already man_made=water_well and natural=spring.
As for wastewater plants and other obviously small and medium-sized man-made water containment structures (which do not alter natural water flow, but are completely new and not natural man-made reservoiurs), I suggest to leave their tagging as it is: man_made=wastewater_plant, landuse=salt_pond, leisure=swimming_pond and so on. Including them into natural category would not simplify things, but do the opposite.
I guess you'll find this proposal (which does not propose anything, but summarises water tagging schemes) interesting. --Zverik 11:14, 7 April 2011 (BST)


What about channels? They are quite wide, but there is no correct way to define a polygon. --Aleksandr Dezhin 22:51, 8 April 2011 (BST)

Of course, they are as wide as rivers usually. I've added water=canal to the list. --Zverik 12:18, 9 April 2011 (BST)

pond vs. lake

A pond is currently described as "usually smaller than a lake", while a lake is to be "of considerable size". This distinction seems improper for OSM, for 2 reasons: 1) It is too vague, 2) It is not useful, as OSM data is intended for automated processing, and sizes can be calculated easily.

Therefore I suggest defining lakes as natural, and ponds as artificial. Like in German (See=natural, Teich=artificial; only exception is Stausee = barrier lake, but we use water=reservoir for this anyway), and analogous to forest/wood. For lakes/ponds, it is much easier to determine which of them are of natural origin, than for forests/woods. --Fkv 08:00, 29 April 2011 (BST)

I agree, most ponds are artificial (or, at least, managed). There are few examples of natural ponds, but they are distinguishable by name: which are named lake, should be tagged water=lake, ponds with 'Pond' in the name are water=pond. I'll be more specific in the resulting page. --Zverik 17:06, 2 May 2011 (BST)
This only works for objects with English names. Many have names in the local languages only, or no names at all. --Fkv 04:20, 3 May 2011 (BST)

Duplicate tags for features

The proposal states "Deprecates" means "is equivalent for all purposes to" which means we have two ways of tagging the same objects, and the existing tags are so widely used and known that having two ways to tag the same thing seems wrong, and more work for data consumers. I would suggest that anything in the deprecates section should be removed from the proposal. -- EdLoach 10:34, 11 May 2011 (BST)

Yes, I see that this word enrages some of wiki editors. Proposal is already approved and won't be fixed after voting stage, but in tag descriptions I'll use "alternative" instead of "deprecation". --Zverik 11:32, 11 May 2011 (BST)
Approved? The page showed RFC stage when I added the comment, and something about an invalid vote as it hadn't been properly announced. -- EdLoach 12:07, 11 May 2011 (BST)
Oh... Those vandals. I've reverted it to the final state. --Zverik 12:10, 11 May 2011 (BST)

Inconsistency: using natural=* for artificial water bodies

In my opinion, artificial water bodies like reservoirs and many pond should be rather tagged as landuse=* or man_made=*.

One might argue that the water itself is some natural substance, but I think it is fairly obvious that natural=* is referring to the land cover aspect rather than the material.

G0ldfish 12:48, 31 May 2011 (BST)


@Zverik: Hi,

what's the replacement for landuse=basin (an artifical storage lake found e.g. at industrial plants)? --Ethylisocyanat (talk) 06:38, 11 May 2017 (UTC)

Hi, I think it should be natural=water + water=reservoir, like mentioned on the landuse=basin page. But since the tagging schemes exist in parallel, you can use either :) --Zverik (talk) 08:10, 11 May 2017 (UTC)