Proposed features/Scenery

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Scenery description
Status: Abandoned (inactive)
Proposed by: Alv
Tagging: scenery:*=*
Applies to: node/way/area
Definition: Categorize and indicate exceptional scenery
Rendered as: Not rendered
Drafted on: 2009-07-29

Proposed new keys: scenery:*



tourism=viewpoint is already used for signposted or popular locations with a good view of the surroundings or some attraction. This is insufficient for indicating scenic routes or such stretches along highways.

Even where everything (from landuse to hedges, from building heights to wall colours) around the roads is tagged, there isn't enough information to deduce reliably (nor easily) how aesthetic the scenery is, or what kind of scenery is visible in each location.

The "what type of scenery it is" could possibly be extracted from surround details, but for most of the world that won't be possible for decades with current amount of data.

Not all will agree what is aesthetic (can you compare a natural reserve and a city center?), so this proposal includes a tag to first and foremost categorize the scenery. Categories can, and likely will be, extended during discussion.

Most ways would not be "exceptional" scenery, so (off the top of my hat) only maybe 1-5% (at most) of any highways would warrant a scenery:rating tag at all.

Applies to

All: node / way / area


Initial values for scenery:category=* would include at least

  • geology: mountains, hills, valleys, ...
  • wilderness: unmaintained nature; old forests, rivers, wetlands
  • nature: includes fields, parks, maintained forest
  • historical: "I can see Great Pyramid of Giza / Big Ben / ...", "The surrounding houses are hundreds of years old"
  • urban: Times Square, local city center
  • industrial: roads with a good view of quarries, landfills, factories, cranes
  • transport: roads with visibility limited to the road itself - e.g. barriers on both sides, or limited to a railway, airport or similar
    Rating these is likely never needed

Values for scenery:rating=-5 .. 5 apply to each category, examples here don't convey the whole range but the limits.

  • 5: the best view of the pyramids or other Wonders of the World; but also other comparable (natural/man made) sights - things can only be sorted by this rating within their category.
    I'd expect only a few hundred locations (per category) worldwide to be in this category
  • 4: Both
    1. lesser views of the significant attractions above
    2. other almost, but not quite, the most appealing views of the nature / man made features
  • 1: The view is a bit more aesthetic (in the category) than views from nearby locations
  • 0: needs not to be tagged; a commonplace view even if possibly categorized. At least 95% of all locations fit here, likely even more.
  • -3: Notably unaesthetic places; be it suburbs with only ugly buildings (for example [Merihaka])
  • -5: Ugliest places on Earth; these could include deteriorated sewage plants, worst slums, concentration camps
    I'd expect only a few hundred locations (per category) worldwide to be in this category

Some categories, like transport might not ever even contain the extreme values.


The best location to see the local mountain / peak could be scenere:category=geology + scenere:rating=2. A guideline for a higher rating would be that such ratings require that some people would travel abroad just to see it.

The stretch of mountain road, where you suddenly get a good glimpse of the valley below could be scenere:category:forward=geology + scenere:rating=2, if it applies only when traveling in the direction of the OSM way element.

The best location to view the whole Eiffel Tower in complete could be scenere:category=history + scenere:rating=4 (or 3). The fact that many would then queue to get to the top to look at the city, would warrant a scenere:category=urban + scenere:rating=3 at the node/way describing the tower's viewing deck.


"This is subjective"

  • It well can be, but that doesn't make it any less useful. And we try to set up guidelines to narrow down the possible ratings for any given place. If there is disagreement on any feature, editors should discuss and tag the average or median value if they can't reach a consensus. If you ask ten people, one or two values will stand out and you should use that.

Even "ugly" places can be of interest and could be sought after or avoided if one were to find a "scenic route" (an option which some commercial navigators already implement).


Please use the discussion page for comments. Ideas for additional categories, if needed, and examples most welcome.