Proposal talk:Observatory

From OpenStreetMap Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

from amenity to man_made

  • These are large and distinctive features in the landscape, positioned high up, and they make useful landmarks. I approve of having these on the map, but let's use something other than the already overloaded amenity=*. My rationale: amenity=* should be for genuinely public, generally useful features like post boxes, pubs or places of worship (even if you're not a worshipper, it's a public building and you can go in to keep dry, have a nice sing-song etc.). Working observatories are not really accessible to the public, nor are they generally useful to the public. building=* or man_made=* would seem more suitable. --achadwick 23:09, 2 April 2008 (BST)
    • Good point, not thought about that. I will change that. --Bass 07:10, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

radio vs. optical

  • Radio telescopes vs. the optical dome sort? Need a distinction be made with the icon? The tagging? --achadwick 23:09, 2 April 2008 (BST)
    • Ok, type optional now, defaults to optical telescope type. A distinction can still be made with the optional tag. --Bass 07:10, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

Areas as well as nodes? - landuse?

  • Areas as well as nodes? (e.g. Arecibo is 300m across) Ojw 07:34, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
    • Most telescopes are much smaller. Is there another example of a such large telescope? I'm open to this point, but is there another usefull case for useing an area instead of a node besides the Arecibo one? --Bass 21:30, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
    • +1 for areas as well as nodes, primarily because there are observatory sites out there as well as free-standing telescopes. Distinguish between telescopes and observatories, maybe? is an observatory site housing meny telescopes covering 500 acres; will be a single 42 metre diameter optical telescope. Big Ear famously covered 3 (American-) Football fields. --achadwick 18:14, 20 June 2008 (UTC)
    • If an area may be used to refer to an observatory site, I think it would be good to be able to distinguish between an observatory site and individual telescopes in some way. At the risk of creating too many tags, what if there were a different tag for (notable) individual telescopes? The radio telescopes in my area are large (about 30 to 50 ft diameter, I'd guess) and numerous enough to be worth marking the positions of individually. It would also be good to have a icon for radio telescope dishes so that the map reader knows what to look for in the landscape, when using them as landmarks. MarkWilliamson
      • I'm not longer happy with man_made=observatory, since observatory refers to a location used for observing (thnx achadwick) and not for a single instrument (optical telescope or radio dish). I initially only thanked about observatory-domes, i forgot the radio dishes. The tag should also apply to areas (Arecibo, see Ojw's comment), and not for sites. For observatory sites I personally think one of the landuse=* tags should be used. I put my thoughts into a picture: Observatory graphical view.jpg
        man_made=telescope landuse=observatory This implies a hard change to the existing proposal! Please write down your thoughts! And check if tag-names and -values are reasonable, since I'm not native english - thanks. --Bass 21:45, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
        • I changed the proposal to the described schema --Bass 01:19, 18 September 2008 (UTC)
        • I'm not sure that landuse=* is approprate since it is the telescopes, not the land, that is used for observing. I think a site relation to group the telescopes and possibly a boundary would be better.--Elyk 03:37, 25 July 2009 (UTC)
          • A site relation which groups the telescopes would be nice. If anybody has experimented a bit with that, please add a sketch to the proposal. And yeah, landuse=* suits not so good. But how should the surrounding way to mark the site be better tagged? --Bass 02:06, 19 August 2009 (UTC)
          • I'm OK with landuse (or something else, that marks all the area, not only buildings (see my comment in the building=observatory part below)) even though 'amenity' would feel better for me. But I understand why that may also not be the best, as in the first comment on this page. Please update the image from 'type' to 'telescope:type' as on the main wiki page. Also, why is the one optical telescope outside of the landuse area? Is it for free-standing telescopes where the telescope itself is the whole observatory? Aceman444 (talk) 15:45, 29 June 2014 (UTC)

telescope types

  • How about adding more telescope types? I would propose telescope:type=gamma (gamma-ray astronomy, e.g. MAGIC telescope), telescope:type=radar (radar astronomy) and telescope:type=infrared (infrared astronomy, e.g. IRTF on Mauna Kea). --Michi 23:56, 24 July 2009 (UTC)
    • Thanks for this input, I will added it to the proposal. --Bass 02:06, 19 August 2009 (UTC)

  • This key is already in use (tagwatch Germany: 3 times) - Can we finally vote? --Lulu-Ann 14:54, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
  • I'd rather have operatore = * there instead of owner = *. --Lulu-Ann 14:55, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
    • Done that --Bass in the past (UTC)
  • This proposal looks good to me. When can we start voting? --Bmog 14:56, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
  • Yes, let's get it going. Content is good, I think. Do we need any stylistic tweaks before we throw it at talk@ for the RFC phase? --achadwick 09:43, 13 February 2009 (UTC)
  • What is with such telescopes mounted on many public observation towers, shall they be tagged the same like these big ones? --WalterSchloegl 03:55, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
You mean those Tower viewers? I would personally go for amenity=binoculars. --Michi 21:27, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
  • Now (Jan 2015) two different ways of tagging radio telescopes.. man_made=radio_telescope (under 100 mapped) and telescope:type=radio (over 200 mapped). Which is to be preferred? Warin61 January 2015 (UTC)
I personally would use telescope:type=radio. --Michi (talk) 22:33, 30 January 2015 (UTC)


I made some usage stats based on the planet file of 12. August 2009:

If you want you can download the base of my research here: man_made=telescope, man_made=observatory landuse=observatory


  • As you can see above, there are many nodes tagged as man_made=observatory. In my opinion, one observatory has n telescopes. So maybe we should use this tag to indicate, there is an observatory, but the position of the telescope(s) is not clear? Or is this "old data" from the early days of this proposal and should be tagged to man_made=telescope? Many of the nodes contains telescope types and / or diameters. --Michi 01:36, 28 August 2009 (UTC)
  • It seems that many man_made=telescope tags where changed to man_made=observatory in one upload on 2009-07-02. And in my view many of these changes are not justified (I don't checked them all). Especially when there are many individually tagged telescops on one observatory site. --Bmog 12:44, 28 August 2009 (UTC)
I talked to Nop, who made that edit on 09-07-02. He said that he wanted to try to clean up, because both tags (telescope & observatory) are used equaly often, which is somewhat correct. I made a picture showing the distribution of man_made=observatory. As you can see, almost all nodes are located in Germany or England (BTW: Ignore the nodes in the U.S.; I just completely re-mapped the Lick Observatory, therefore I also retagged these nodes.). I think this happens, because there are a lot of observatory sites, which have only one telescope / dome, for example schools or even private observatories. In my mind it makes no sense here to place a landuse=observatory way around only one telescope / dome node. So Nop and I agreed to use man_made=observatory on single observatory sites. This also implies that there must be a telescope, otherwise it wouldn't be an observatory. ;-) Some also have the telescope tags like type and diameter. But I also agree, there are some nodes close together, that would better be tagged as telescope and, if needed, enclosed by a landuse-way (e.g. the telescopes in this area). --Michi 01:26, 31 August 2009 (UTC)
Now you mentioned it - perhaps a little bit of topic - but there are _observatories_ (probably) without a telescope - such as: Cascades Volcano Observatory, San Andreas Fault Observatory, NEPTUNE Seafloor Observatory , Blue Hill Meteorological Observatory, and so on ;-) --Bmog 19:25, 02 September 2009 (UTC)
How about observatory:type=astronomical, - meteorological, vulcanological, geolocigal, etc. ? With that type tag you could even tag a weather station node. ;-) --Michi 00:20, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
  • There was the tag node man_made=observatory, but as users started to use the tag, it showed that this choice of tag/value pair is not unproblematic (see discussion above). Today I see this only as a cheap substitution for area landuse=observatory and observatory sites without any scope, not for marking a distinct telescope. I updated the proposal page to better state this aspect. In this view Nops change was sadly in the wrong direction. Even when observatory sites now have diameters :D. node man_made=observatory Is a start of tagging an installation, but as soon as more information about scopes gets added an additional node node man_made=telescope should be used, supplementary to the existing node, which optimally gets replaced by area landuse=observatory. --Bass 02:58, 8 September 2009 (UTC)
  • I too depreciate man_made=observatory. For a single telescope man_made=telescope (map what you see), for an area consisting many telescopes then landuse=observatory. Don't forget some observatories are terrestrial .. some are for birds! Warin61 January 2015 (UTC)


I think an observatory might fit well as a value in building=*. I'm about to tag one as such, but I wanted to leave a comment here so people consider it. --Oddityoverseer (talk) 16:15, 22 February 2013 (UTC)

I wouldn't tag like this. In my opinion the value observatory has nothing to do with the building itself. You wouldn't tag a bakery like building=bakery would you? Icon wink.gif --Michi (talk) 22:08, 22 February 2013 (UTC)
The buildings for holding (big) optical telescopes have a form specific for the function, and they are very different from any other building, so I agree with this proposal. --Robertogeb (talk) 17:39, 23 January 2014 (UTC)
I do not agree with building=observatory. Often the observatory is not a single building but also an adjacent area with many instruments placed on the ground. So the current 'landuse=observatory' + 'man_made=telescope' seems fine to me. Even though the instruments may not look like something resembling a telescope, it can be just some radio waves conducting peace of metal. Aceman444 (talk) 15:39, 29 June 2014 (UTC)
Like other building=* tags building=observatory would make sense. However, it only describes the purpose of the building as originally constructed, i.e. it looks like an observatory with a dome etc. If it is still in use as an observatory it will require a man_made=telescope tag as well. This is similar to e.g. building=church which may now be used for something entirely different than religious services. --opani (talk) 18:23, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
  • I recommend separation of landuse=observatory wiki page from man_made=telescope wiki page. This would reduce the confusion. And also open up the landuse=observatory for sub tags of astronomical, terrestrial, radio, bird, meteorological, etc. Put the telescope as another wiki page. Warin61 January 2015 (UTC)

telescope stands

In Sankt Andreasberg we have a accessible observatory which offers surface mounted telescope stands - some designed for the special needs of disabled people - so that guests can bring their own telescopes. How to tag these? Ogmios (talk) 07:48, 13 October 2014 (UTC)