Proposed features/Tag:natural=butte

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Tag:natural=butte
Status: Draft (under way)
Proposed by: jeisenbe
Tagging: natural=butte
Applies to: landform
Definition: A hill with a small flat top surrounded by cliffs
Drafted on: 2019-4-25
RFC start: 2019-4-26

Proposal

natural=butte is used to map a butte: an hill with a flat top surrounded by cliffs. These features are also known as a table, tableland, or tepui. The width of the flat top is less than the relative height of the hill.

In a natural=butte the width and lenght of the flat area on top are both less than the height of the top of the hill above the surrounding terrain. If the flat area is wider than the hill or mountain's height, and is still surrounded by cliffs, use natural=mesa.

Buttes in Monument Valley

See butte on Wikipedia and compare with plateau on Wikipedia and mesa on Wikipedia

Rationale

The tag natural=plateau is already in use, but has a much less specific definition. A plateau can be a small, relatively flat highland landform or a term for a large region. The word "tableland" is also used for both small, specific features (i.e. buttes and mesas) and larger elevated regions (i.e. larger plateaus), and therefore can also be ambiguous. Therefore, a separate tag is useful for flat-topped elevated landforms that are surrounded by cliffs.

Most buttes can also be tagged with natural=peak on their highest point, but this new tag will provide a more specific definition and also allows mapping the flat butte summit as an area, when it is clearly defined by steep cliffs.

While "buttee" is an American English term, loaned from French, this word is used frequently and with a specific meaning by geologists and geographers. Since such features are common in areas with particular geology and climate, they are not commonly found in England or northern Europe, hence the American term is the most commonly known around the globe.

I have also created a proposal pages for natural=mesa and natural=plateau

Tagging

  • As a node: place a node at the center of the landform. In this case also consider using natural=peak at the summit of the butte.
  • As an area: when the mesa is surrounded by cliffs, the mesa can be mapped as an area with a closed way following the top of the cliffs. Mesas should only be mapped as areas when they have sharp boundaries and where the geometry can be verified by individual mappers.
  • See natural=butte for similar features with a small flat top, where the height of the hill is greater than the width of the flat top.
  • Caution: occasionally a feature will have a name that suggests it is a butte, mesa or tableland, but it lacks a flat top or is not surrounded by cliffs. In this case, another tag my be appropriate. See: natural=plateau for other flat landforms, natural=peak the summit of a hill or mountain, and natural=ridge.

Applies to

  • nodes
  • areas

Useful Combinaton

Rendering

  • name label only

See also

  • natural=plateau - a relatively flat landform or highland area
  • natural=mesa - a flat tableland surrounded by cliffs. The width of the flat area is greater than its relative height.
  • natural=peak - the summit or secondary peak of a hill, mountain or ridge
  • natural=ridge - a linear hill or mountain ridge
  • natural=arete - a knife-edge rocky ridge formed by glaciers
  • natural=cliff - a vertical or near-vertical slope
  • natural=valley - a flat area that is surrounded by higher terrain on most sides

Examples

Fajada Butte, New Mexico

Fajada Butte
* natural=butte
* name = Fajada Butte

Devil's Tower, Wyoming

Devil's Tower
* natural=butte
* name = Devil's Tower
* alt_name = Bear Lodge Butte

Monument Valley, USA

Merrick Butte in Monument Valley
* natural=butte
* name = Merrick Butte

Features/Pages affected

External discussions

See Tagging mailing list from April 2019

Comments

Please comment on the discussion page.