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Proposal status: Abandoned (inactive)
Proposed by: grin
Tagging: illegal=yes
Applies to: node, area, way
Definition: Illegal feature. Only when the meaning of the feature isn't changed by the illegal status (like fences, barriers)

Rendered as: area and way with some red tint, node generally by kind of warning sign (exclamation mark)
Draft started: 2011-03-08


We do not live in a world with full of intelligent people, and one good example is the need for this feature.

At least here around in far-east-europe, there are a lot of illegal waste disposals, many of which are pretty permanent.

One reason to map them is to find them, either by the good people who try to clean them up, searched by bounding box; it would be a tremendous help for some organisations cleaning up the mess. (Some people inquired about that, and yes, there are "green" organisations around, as well as schools and local groups organising cleanup sessions.)

Other reason is to avoid them hiking.

Another reson is to have the possibility to show others that the place isn't what it looks like, providing information for the civilised and knowledgeable map users. :-) [Often it's not obvious to see whether a POI is valid or illegal, and it definitely provides useful information is meny cases.]

These places may be temporary (experience show some areas can be cleaned seasonally, others take years to get rid of), but I believe removing outdated entries are far more useful than not to map them at all.



Similar to abandoned and disused entries it would be logical to use the same schema to prevent misrendering:

Original proposal

This tag do not reflect illegality by law, but in general sense. Its existence only signifies that the object in question is not what it looks like, or shouldn't be there by the mapper's (educated/considerate) opinion. It should be obvious by this that mappers are not forced to check object legality, status, etc; this is just an additional information possibility for those who possess such information.

Suggested alternative wording

To avoid looking like it was deemed lawfully illegal (by the courts), alternative wording was suggested instead of illegal:

  • unauthorised (I'd prefer that one)
  • unofficial

Other suggestions were:

  • de facto
  • informal

Rendering problem

It has been suggested that such attributes - which should change rendering look - are renderer-unfriendly. If I understand correctly in our current rendering environment it is more feasible to create hundreds of new tags (illegal_waste_disposal, illegal_fence, illegal_lift_gate, illegal_farmland, illegal_bank, illegal_church, ...) than to handle attributes. We have the saying "do not tag for the renderer" as well as "don't close your eyes to reality"... I'm not really sure which is the better way.

Considered alternatives

It is a bad approach to simply tag illegal nodes, like tag an illegal disposal as amenity=waste_disposal. Using note=* isn't stuctured. It is unwise to create new tags for every kind of illegal activities around.

landuse=illegal (historical entry)

Originally the tag landuse:illegal was proposed to be able to mark illegal areas which are the opposite of something, like an illegal waste disposal is the opposite of a waste disposal (eg. you must not dispose waste there!), but helpful comments revealed that it is going to clash with several other valid landuses (like landuse=cemetery), and the distinction is not straightforward. Still, I list it here and you're welcome to use it, or figure out something better from it.

Rationale: Double proposal

  1. Where the feature already exists, but the illegal status changes its meaning, there landuse=illegal should be used: illegal waste deposits must not be used as waste deposits, illegal graveyards should not be used as such.
  2. Where the feature exists and the meaning isn't changed the attribute illegal=yes should be used: illegal gate, illegal fence or illegal building as examples.

Suggested subtags for landuse:illegal

This list is not complete, suggestions welcome.

Other applicable tags for landuse:illegal

  • source=*
  • url=* - any pages about this feature (like info on squatted property or illegally fenced area, or the regional illegal waste cleaning organisation's page)
  • image=* - photo of the feature
  • reported_to=organisation name - if this has been reported to cleanup, where was it reported (police, regional teams, ..)

Comments, suggestions

...are very well welcome! --grin 10:54, 8 March 2011 (UTC)

On the talk page.

See also