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Discuss Tag:landuse=meadow:

landuse=meadow or natural=meadow?

Why is "natural=meadow" documented here, when "landuse=meadow" is listed on Key:landuse page? -- Harry Wood 01:26, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

I have an interest in mapping natural habitats, and wanted to use the meadow key, but was confused by the lack of a definition and why it was bundled into Landuse (while heath, marsh, scrub, etc, were in Natural). It appears to have been created without discussion. The wiki & email lists dont help in providing a solution, and are full of every possible argument. The most useful suggestion was to simply copy what originally happened and just go ahead and create the tag, and then use it to replace "landuse=meadow" in Map Features. But a few days after creating this wiki page unexpected work obligations meant I put it all to one side. Now I clearly have to follow this up but my views have slightly changed. I now think meadow should be part of an overall natural=grassland key. That doesn't deal with the problem this page exists but is not on the Map Features page. So I either now have to put natural=meadow into the Map Features page and see what it stirs up, or start creating a set of tags based around natural habitats. --Jamicu 20:32, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
Yes but there's just the small matter that landuse=meadow has been used 9532 times in the database [1], while natural=meadow has been used 92 times [2].
You've created a nice bit of documentation including a photo. It would make sense to use this as the landuse=meadow documentation. landuse=meadow is a longstanding tag. It was probably listed (but not documented) way back before we had much of a process in place.
Maybe natural=meadow would be better but... It's a bit too late to change it.
-- Harry Wood 21:53, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
Well User:Cartinus has now created a page for landuse=meadow. Luckily that's just a skeleton page with hardly any description, so I can delete that page and do a move this page to landuse=meadow, i.e. move on top of it with the nice content we have on this page. I'm going to go ahead and do that, before we end up with two different pages written in a lot of detail. I've also made use of a PD image User:Cartinus found on here.-- Harry Wood 12:37, 4 August 2010 (BST)
We may make the difference, like in "landuse=forest" and "natural=wood". "landuse=meadow" should be used for a maintained land of grass (e.g. when the grass is harvested for a cattle food), and "natural=meadow" for a land where a grass is growing itself. --Surly 15:24, 12 October 2009 (UTC)
Well we could do that. Or we could avoid creating more and more top level tags with subtle differences between them. Jamicu suggested an overall natural=grassland, which would've been a good way to encompass a few different things. But it's difficult to move towards that kind of rationalisation ("deprecating" tags etc) What we can do though, is avoid documenting more tags. -- Harry Wood 12:37, 4 August 2010 (BST)


Why does meadow fall under landuse? How does one actively manage meadow land? Also, as far as I can tell the closest equivalent in the natural category is heath, which doesn't seem to be quite the same, since the description mentions bushes. --DanHomerick 02:56, 11 September 2009 (UTC)

Because in Western Europe (where still most tags are invented) most meadows would turn into woodland if they are not mown for hay production or grazed by livestock. If you want to tag a natural meadow (e.g. an high alpine meadow), then you might be better of to use natural=meadow. There are already 94 places in Europe alone that are tagged as such and it is documented on it's own page. --Cartinus 12:34, 14 October 2009 (UTC)
It surprises me to see you making that distinction in this discussion, and yet you totally failed to make an mention of this on the tag doc itself. If we don't link to similar tags and explain the distinction, then it just looks as though the pages were created in error, without awareness of eachother. I really want to establish it as a procedure, that tag docs should include a "similar tags" section.
In any case, I've just performed a move/merge to bring the two pages together here. landuse=meadow is by far the more commonly used tag, and has been listed on Map Features for years.
If anyone thinks natural=meadow is different enough from the definition of landuse=meadow to justify it's own tag, then they can propose the addition of natural=meadow. I don't think it's a useful distinction. At least not useful enough to justify its own tag. It's comparable to the distinction between landuse=forest and natural=wood which is quite possibly the most confusing and unhelpful tagging idea ever! (spare a thought for all the mappers who don't care whether it's "managed" or not) Let's not do the same for meadows.
-- Harry Wood 12:56, 4 August 2010 (BST)
I don't think that natural=meadow is different enough from the landuse=meadow. I think tagging "landuse=*" for a land that is not used is incorrect. Very incorrect! But because of the "landuse=meadow" became very common, we have to keep it in the Map features (until it will be deprecated) and have to establish new tag "natural=meadow" for a natural grassland.
This land of grass near the airport is natural. It has no economic role. It is not used by people in any manner. So why one must to tag it as "landuse"? Natural meadow.jpg
And please don't meddle in the foreign wiki namespace, if you are not aware of the foreign country's specificity. (I'm talking about your deletion of "natural=meadow" in the "RU:Vegetation" page. --Surly 11:37, 5 August 2010 (BST)
Well it's normal procedure after a page move to try and fix some of the incoming links. I did think twice about meddling with the foreign pages, but it links to the English page which I've just moved, so seemed helpful. D'you not think it's helpful for it to match the english version?
I agree with you natural=meadow would have been a better tag, because of the whole "use" thing. A meadow can be thought of as a "use of land", but sometimes they're entirely natural.
But in any case, the problem is that the widely used and accepted tag is landuse=meadow. It's been that for years. Moving forward, we could carefully introduce the idea of a natural=meadow tag as a proposal, and either ask people to transition to it as a replacement tag, or the proposal could define it as a different tag making the distinction clear. I'd argue that the second idea would be unhelpful (as in woods/forests) The first idea would probably be more hassle than it's worth just to correct a minor bit of wording.
-- Harry Wood 12:07, 5 August 2010 (BST)
A meadow can be thought of as a "use of land", but sometimes they're entirely natural. — Yes! Consider a renderer (yet hypothetical), that paints wild areas in one colour; and paints areas transformed by human activities, in the other colour. That renderer need no parsing values of tags. Only the key of the tag: "landuse" or "natural". So in case of "landuse=meadow" and wild grassland it will result in incorrect colouring. And in case of "natural=meadow" and maintained grassland the same mistake occures. --Surly 06:23, 6 August 2010 (BST)
How to make distinction clear? Firstly, mappers ought to not vandalize the exisiting tagging, if they don't know real kind of the meadow. Then, look at the meadow. If there are mowers, or ricks of hay, or the grass is trimmed evenly — it is maintained meadow. If the meadow looks wild, it is probably the natural meadow. --Surly 06:36, 6 August 2010 (BST)

Narrow definition

The problem with this merge of documentation is that I doubt that the areas tagged with landuse=meadow over the years actually conform to the very narrow definition meadow we see now on this page. --Cartinus 21:14, 4 August 2010 (BST)

It is quite narrow. I like it though. It pretty much defines what a meadow is. We could loosen it a little to better match current usage though. Also we could improve it by explaining which tags you should use in the various non-meadow cases. -- Harry Wood 21:30, 4 August 2010 (BST)
To me (and I suspect a lot more people) landuse=meadow meadow=agricultural is any agricultural grassland that is mainly used to grow grass to feed animals that are not grazing "in place". This has nothing to do with observing in which time of the year the grass is cut, nor with the amount of other non-woody plants growing there. If you do a dictionary search you'll find enough references that don't even exclude grassland that is mainly used for pasture. --Cartinus 13:20, 5 August 2010 (BST)

I've done some digging. Here are the results:

People want to create and are creating maps like below, where there is a clear distinction between the tilled areas and the agricultural grasslands.


So they use (e.g.) JOSM and create the areas. Then then want to tag them. Looking in the presets menu, they find a section about farming related landuse:


These mappers are of course not native English speakers. Since for years there was no definition of meadow in the wiki, they will probably have used some online translation service or dictionary to find out what a meadow is. That returns something that nicely conforms with those green patches they want to tag. Lucky for them it even gets rendered in green on both the Mapnik and Osmarender layers.

So how are farmers using these agricultural grasslands? They cut the grass two to four times a year. They try to do that before the grass flowers and sets seed, because then they get better quality feed. They definitely don't want too much wild plants mixed in-between their carefully selected high yield grass cultivars. On top of that: Mixing cutting grass and pasturage (after each other) on the same lot is quite common.

So what has this agricultural grassland that people have been mapping for some years with landuse=meadow in common with the definition currently in place? Nada, zilch, nothing. (Ok, there is grass growing there.) So by moving this definition to this page, the tag was effectively redefined. AFAIK this is something that is generally not seen as a good thing in OSM, unless there is a very good reason for it. --Cartinus 19:52, 20 August 2010 (BST)


What is the difference (or similarities) between landuse=meadow and a pasture? Should a pasture be tagged with landuse=pasture or with landuse=meadow with meadow=pasture? --Skippern 20:15, 5 August 2010 (BST)

So pasture is covered by landuse=farm right? I've added a 'Similar tags' section which mentions landuse=farm and "pasture". Ideally we'd define how to distinguish and decide between the tags. Sometimes it's just a vague matter of judgement, but worth trying nail down a way of deciding if possible -- Harry Wood 20:43, 5 August 2010 (BST)
In the English language pasture is grassland that is grazed. A meadow is grassland where grass is grown to make hay. Since more and more people live in cities, this distinction is disappearing and the word meadow is increasingly used for both kinds of grassland by ordinary people. This afternoon there were 7 uses of landuse=pasture and 5208 uses of landuse=meadow+crop=native_pasture in the database. Don't know who thought up that last one. --Cartinus 22:53, 5 August 2010 (BST)
Since I am not a native english speaker, than I am uncertain of the differences of various of these epxressions in english, and it doesn't make it easier with the english tendency of using some of these words on names in public parks.
In Norwegian (my native language) we have the words eng (cultivated land, used for grass and hay production), beitemark (grazed land), and byteng (uncultivated grazed land, usually shared between several farms). I was just asking this as I have had the impression that both pasture and meadow means all of these different types of land. In portuguese (language of my current residence) I have the impression that the same word means all of these definitions. It is therefor important that these tags are clearly defined for non-english speakers to understand their meanings. --Skippern 07:55, 6 August 2010 (BST)
I propose and use landuse=pasture as grassland for grazing, not for mowing. I can also live with landuse=meadow in combination with meadow=pasture if the community decides for that. (I have difficulties with telling cattle and horses a "crop".) But I feel that *some* means must be found to distinguish between meadow and pasture. --Segatus 16:32, 28 July 2013 (BST)

Update for 2021: There's been shifts in tagging docs over the years (seems never ending from my perspective!) and it seems these days...

  • landuse=farm - previously a tag for any kind of farm fields. Now deprecated
  • landuse=farmland - previously a tag for any kind of farm fields, now more specifically for "tillage" and...
  • landuse=meadow - This tag seems to be recommended as the main tag for any kind of field for grazing/livestock (as well as more quintessential "meadows" with long grass).
  • meadow=pasture - and other meadow sub-tags are documented here.
  • landuse=pasture - redirects to a rejected proposal.

I think we need to add some more examples images on this page to make it clearer that this tag is now encapsulating grazing/livestock type fields. This will not be a quintessential "meadow" photo, which makes it all the more important to include in the docs. I'll add one now.

-- Harry Wood (talk) 10:04, 30 November 2021 (UTC)

You have added a photo of a "Paddock/pasture with livestock" which "might also get the the meadow=pasture subtag". If this is true for paddocks I wonder why we also have a tag meadow=paddock. The descriptions of both tags are very similar, especially if you count horses as livestock (page Riding recommends meadow=pasture for a horse pasture). The word "paddock" has different meanings (not always grassy, see [W] Paddock and [W] Field (agriculture)#Paddock, quite difficult to understand and to remember) while the definition of "pasture" is relatively simple (see [W] Pasture). And meadow=pasture is used 18 times as much as meadow=paddock. Shouldn't we merge both subtags into one (meadow=pasture) and deprecate the other one (meadow=paddock)? Or what is the difference between these two tags and is this difference important? --Hufkratzer (talk) 18:09, 30 November 2021 (UTC)
Yeah I'm not sure if the definition of "paddock". It makes me think of horses actually, but I think you can descript a sheep field as a paddock. So yeah maybe it's not a useful distinction to have separate tags for. But... I'm not sure. In any case I'll make a little edit to just leave out the word paddock from that image description for now to help reduce that confusion [3] -- Harry Wood (talk) 01:05, 20 December 2021 (UTC)
New reladed discussion: --Hufkratzer (talk) 00:32, 27 April 2023 (UTC)

wet meadow

how do you tag a wet meadow that is cut nevertheless?

As usual the usage decides about the tagging to be used. If the harvest is feed to farm animals, then no further tagging beyond meadow=agricultural is needed. If the area is 'very wet', then meadow=wet_meadow may be an option. If the cutting is not done to use the grass but to destroy other plants, then natural=wetland + wetland=wet_meadow would be fine. --Hb 09:30, 31 March 2019 (UTC)

lawn in a park


Can you explain reason for ? Mapping landuse=grass within another landuse/leisure area is perfectly valid. In general landuse=* may be within another landuse=*

I am not familiar with such cases, but even outright landuse=grass + leisure=park on the same object can be in theory valid

Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 15:24, 15 July 2022 (UTC)