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Maps to prevent theft

Hopefully one day there will be a headline: OSM is working hand-in-hand with local utilities in mapping power poles and lines. That way the public can get involved in preventing the theft of wires. Jidanni (talk) 12:53, 13 June 2018 (UTC)

How would you tag poles and lines that are not used for power transportation?

How would you tag poles and lines that are not used for power transportation, but telecommunications (telephones wires, optical fibers,...) often mounted on wooden poles in rural areas? --HB9DTX (talk) 14:49, 20 February 2013 (UTC)

Currently there is no unified tagging scheme for telecommunications or other utilities overhead street infrastructure. But you could always use man_made=utility_pole as a default. - Huttite (talk) 22:54, 4 January 2017 (UTC)

Why must a tower tag be used when a pole is used on High Voltage lines?

Why must a tower tag be used when wooden poles are used to support High Voltage lines over 50 kV? In New Zealand most 66 kV power distribution lines and some 110 kV power transmission lines are carried on wooden poles. Why do these need to be mapped as towers? Doesn't this violate the Map Features requirement to map the real features on the ground? - Huttite (talk) 01:57, 4 January 2017 (UTC)

I agree with you and in France I use to map wooden (or even concrete) poles carrying 150/90/63 kv power lines as power=pole. As far as I remember, it was intended for render or light data distinguishing. It confuse design or structure with feature. A past proposal was written in this direction but was refused (not only on this point). Fanfouer (talk) 19:21, 4 January 2017 (UTC)
I also agree with you. Poles are usually encountered on 115 or 69 kV lines in my country, the Philippines, and those lines form the subtransmission grids operated either the national grid operator (National Grid Corporation of the Philippines), electric utilities (Meralco, Davao Light, Visayas Electric Company, to name a few), and some provincial electric cooperatives (like the Batangas II and I Electric Cooperative/BATELEC I/II in Batangas, Tarlac I and II Electric Cooperative or TARELCO-I/II in Tarlac, to nane a few, as many cooperatives rely on NGCP lines to supply power to their substationa). I used to tag such poles on 115 and 69 kV as towers, but I changed my tagging for such poles and I am gradually retagging poles on 115 or 69 kV lines from power=tower to power=pole, except for structures composed of three poles supporting one phase conductor per pole (considered triple monopolar towers) or two or three poles with [a] cross-arm[s] supporting the phase conductors using insulator strings (considered H-frame towers). I laid out a draft proposal to extend power pole tagging and increasw the voltage threshold to 138 kV from 50 kV, but it still do not gain community support or suggestions. I hope that my proposal for more elaborate power pole tagging will gain support in order to start voting for approval, but in case suggestions arise, my proppsal can be revised while still in proposal stage. --TagaSanPedroAko (talk) 08:55, 5 January 2017 (UTC)
This begs the question: what distinguishes a pole from a tower/pylon with a tubular structure? See for example with their tubular steel tower design. --Jeisenbe (talk) 01:50, 14 January 2020 (UTC)

Stuff the whole label into ref=?

A typical Taiwan Power Company pole label says a lot[1].

Should I

  1. Stuff the whole thing into ref="軟埤枝56 G8152FC56"?
  2. Use name="軟埤枝56", ref="G8152FC56"?
  3. Use ref="軟埤枝56", name="G8152FC56"?

If the name were to be rendered on the screen, all parts should show to be accurate. So I chose to stuff it all into ref=. (Well at least it all renders in JOSM.) Jidanni (talk) 14:33, 6 April 2017 (UTC)

Hi :) IMHO don't tag for render.
If several pieces of information are seen on poles, they should go in different tags. If not, someone will have to split name and ref every time he look at the data.
Use name="軟埤枝56", ref="G8152FC56" seems to be the best solution.
Furthermore, in Europe, a name on poles often refers to the carried line (it's the same on all poles). Thus it shouldn't go in pole's name=* tag but on the line's one. Fanfouer (talk) 20:33, 6 April 2017 (UTC)
It turns out that e.g., G8152FC56 refers to a 10 x 10 meter grid square, and indeed some poles thus end up with the same ref as their neighbors! So the winning solution is to put the whole thing into ref, just like it is written on the pole. Jidanni (talk) 20:05, 9 October 2021 (UTC)

Pole covered with tar

I tagged a power pole covered with tar as a preservative:


Jidanni (talk) 06:35, 9 June 2018 (UTC)

Hi and thank you for this contribution. Ok for surface=tar.
Please use material=wood instead of pole:type=* to give details about material. That's really important Fanfouer (talk) 17:30, 10 June 2018 (UTC)
Done. Jidanni (talk) 17:15, 11 June 2018 (UTC)

Remove lattice from structure

A so called pole built from a metal lattice would actually be a tower according to its tag power=tower definition. Can lattice be removed from possible values for power=pole? Fanfouer (talk) 22:33, 5 October 2018 (UTC)

It's established tagging to mark small structures on low/medium voltage lines build out of lattice like this one as power=pole. There are more than 600 uses of structure=lattice on poles which is more than 10% of all those that are tagged with a structure. So I'm against the removal.--TOGA (talk) 02:57, 17 October 2018 (UTC)
An established tagging isn't necessarily right. The voltage of the supported line doesn't qualify the nature of the support at all. You may find actual poles on 150kv lines while you may also find towers on 15kV lines to cross a valley for instance. That's why I'm suggesting to not associate the voltage to the nature of the support Fanfouer (talk) 21:41, 18 October 2018 (UTC)
Your first sentence certainly isn't wrong, but I don't necessarily agree with it in this case. In the end I think it's the same issue that led to the rejection of your proposal from a few years ago. Separating small and big structures definitely makes sense from a landmark perspective. Completely changing the definition of the current tags and losing that distinction would be a nogo for me. I've reread the voting section of your proposal and found the interesting suggestion of power=minor_tower. Maybe it would be an idea to follow up on that. Of course you would need another tag for poles. As I wouldn't change the definition of power=pole in a significant way minor_pole is out. Maybe major_pole?
Apart from the above I found this interesting case that according to your definitions would probably be a pole with structure=lattice. There are also structures like those on the left side of this picture, where I wouldn't be really sure what to do with them. On the one hand they are similar to a classic lattice tower, but on the other hand they are build on a single foundation similar to steel tube poles. So clearly, one would have to be careful with the definitions.--TOGA (talk) 04:24, 27 October 2018 (UTC)
Basically, tags shouldn't merge two different concepts in one single value. That's why minor_line, minor_tower, major_pole aren't good ideas. We should agree on definitions regarding a pole, a tower or any other support and put in different tags what actually makes them minor or major. Furthermore, minor or major is completely subjective, even if in landmark perspective. What is major for someone may be major for whoever else.
Although you're in favor of not changing established tags' definition, power=pole + structure=lattice is inconsistent with power=tower. This has to be refined. Fanfouer (talk) 15:59, 27 October 2018 (UTC)
Well, what are the important characteristics with regards to the question of minor/major, probably height and width of the structure. Of course you could tag this, but those would have to be quite precise values, which in my opionion just isn't feasible. I mean in some cases these towers/poles might be in the middle of nowhere and the only reasonable way to map them could be via aerial imagery. Even with towers nearby and accessible it is difficult to measure the height, so I think it's clear that there needs to be a more general qualifier and something like minor/major is absolutely fine. I also think that adding those to the first-level tag would encourage "normal" mappers to at least think of and make this basic distinction. With good documentation this should give a reasonable result. Of course somewhere you have to cross a line with regards to minor/major and yes around that line subjectivity might play a role, but I don't necessarily see this as big problem. Sometimes there are even discussions if a road is trunk, primary or secondary and that's also not that big of a problem. At least I haven't seen someone propose to completely get rid of that distinction and only tag width, surface, number of lanes etc..
I've actually taken a look at the first versions here in the wiki and it's seems pretty clear how and why the values were chosen. It looks like the first documentation was done by german mappers and with that mind it makes sense. In Germany lines with 110 kV and above are mostly supported by lattice towers. Medium voltage, minor, lines run on smaller poles and lattice, pole-like structures. I'm writing "pole-like" because in contrast to classic lattice towers their shape is more like a pole, slim base compared to overall height and negligible change of width from bottom to the top, see the link in my first response. So with that in mind, as said above, the chosen values do make sense, but of course what works in one country might not work in another. Regardless the concept behind it is good in my opinion and all maps that I know of use that distinction to render minor_line/pole later than line/tower.
Writing all this, I'm starting to wonder something and I have a question: You have tried to change the tagging scheme twice now and both times it was rejected because of two main reasons, changing definitions of widely used tags and losing the easy distinction. What is your goal here, what's the way forward? Don't get me wrong, I sympathise with the idea of also differentiating between towers and poles in the first-level tag, but I also think that one has to consider the opinion of the community and incorporate that into future proposals, no?--TOGA (talk) 00:23, 4 November 2018 (UTC)
Main goal is to remove subjective ideas from tagging as to prepare OSM for massive open data from operators themselves. It won't be possible (or less possible, with extra effort) to merge official data if we keep our very own way of thinking instead of mapping factual and objective information. As good side effect, this will low the amount of endless debate since the data will be more factual and objective, and not to mention less questionable. Even if today we're only able to get data from aerial imagery, tomorrow it won't. Our tagging model shouldn't be designed of what we can do today but should take care of what will be possible tomorrow. We (including me sometimes) confuse too much the relevancy of tags and the availability of data. Minor/major distinction is relevant and depend on a context. This shouldn't be part of raw data but computed from objective information as everyone can set its own rules to say what is minor and what is major. Currently we force the whole community to have a single definition for that, don't we?
I don't want OSM be driven by professionals or network operators (or any sub community). Nevertheless we have to admit that their terminology is based upon common shared norms I also use in the refinement proposal I write and it enable a lot more to share and exchange data. I guess most network operators haven't ever heard of minor/major like we do in OSM but they share our concerns about structures and materials.
Particularly on power supports, French TSO has freed heights of every transmission power support. Should we go on with minor/major while we have access to heights?
I'm currently asking them to free more data (structure, material) about all networks. Fanfouer (talk) 14:37, 4 November 2018 (UTC)
By the way, we may merge power=tower and power=pole in power=support since the limit between them sounds tiny. What is a pole for you may be a tower for me like what is a major for you can be minor for me. As a reminder, IEC 466-07-01 and 466-08-01 officially define what is a pole and what is a tower. A four-sided lattice pole looks an actual tower. Fanfouer (talk) 14:37, 4 November 2018 (UTC)
In this case I don't see minor/major as a problem. Data users, who are not interested in that distinction, can just ignore it and simply conflate them. Yes, this is an extra step but it should be a fairly easy one. With regards to imports it might be a little bit more complex but still doable, especially if you have heights available like in your case. I've looked at the original definitions and tried to compare structures in Europe and elsewhere and 10-12 m/30-40 ft might be a good cutoff, maybe also up to 15 m/50 ft? This of course could be further discussed in a future proposal. Apart from that, there's also the question in what ways an import could even be executed. At least in Europe we already have quite a lot of data and I'd argue, that automatic imports would be really complex from that fact alone. So there would always be a manual component, which could then also involve a quick evaluation with regards to minor/major.
Concerning the availability of such open data, in my opinion, you might be a little biased since France has quite a lot of it in comparison to other countries. In the case of power infrastructure this is probably also enhanced by the fact that the state itself plays a large role in those companies. Especially in countries where this industry is more privately owned, the situation might be drastically different.
Combining all structures into power=support, in my view, is a bad idea. Again, I'd advise to work with what we currently have in the database and find a compromise that hopefully works for everyone. Just to remember, at its maximum in early 2014 we had about 110k objects with power=sub_station and today, 5 years after the proposal, there are still about 17k. Now compare this to the roughly 16 million towers & poles and you might get an idea how big this transition would be, we might be talking about decades. From this viewpoint minor_tower/tower and pole/major_pole might be the optimum, but for the sake of consistency minor_pole/pole might actually be even better? Anyway, this would probably be better discussed in a new proposal or at least with more participants.--TOGA (talk) 23:48, 15 November 2018 (UTC)

How to tag delta/triangle-shaped design with no crossarms?

What is the correct design=* tag for delta/triangle-shaped poles with no crossarms? Example picture in this press release. These poles are getting more common in the Czech Republic/Slovakia, becuase they respesent bird-friendly design minimising the risk of bird electrocution. --Chiak (talk) 18:46, 1 December 2018 (UTC)

Ok, I have read the table one more time and I guess design=delta is what I need :-) Different definition of "delta pylon" (based on tower design) and "delta pole" (based on conductor configuration) is a bit confusing, though --Chiak (talk) 15:54, 3 December 2018 (UTC)

What is the dividing characteristic between a power=pole and a power=tower?

It's pretty clear that something is a power=tower if it is a large, tall structure with a lattice design carrying high=voltage transmission lines. And it's clear that a relatively short wooden pole that carries a low-voltage distribution minor_line is a power=pole. But there are some borderline cases. The page power=tower shows a number of "tower" designs which have a single tubular steel support or solid concrete support. They are as tall as other tower and carry high-voltage lines (I presume based on the spacing between lines and the size of the insulated supports that connect the lines to the tower).

Examples from power=tower page:

There are also apparently a few short wood lattice or metal lattice designed which carry low-voltage distribution lines, according to the section above (though I have not seen this in person). Examples:

It seems to me that the height of the structure and the total width or distance between conductors is the most consistent distinction. --Jeisenbe (talk) 02:13, 14 January 2020 (UTC)

this is 90kv transmission line and this is 20kV minor_line. Do you agree these two should be power=pole + material=concrete? Fanfouer (talk) 01:32, 14 January 2020 (UTC)
I managed to open the links. For the first, it looks from comparing the nearby road width that this structure is at least 20 meters tall (the road is 2 lanes and each is wider than the van in the distance, so the road is probably at least 6 meters wide, and the tower as at least 3.5 taller than the road width). It has long double insulators holding each conductor, and the conductors are spaced 3 meters apart (or more?). This looks like a rather high-voltage line and the structure is quite impressive - it's as tall as many cell-phone man_made=tower - so I feel comfortable using power=tower.
The second image is harder to see; it's off in the distance, but it looks to be an ordinary 10 meter tall pole with conductors spaced 1 meter apart, on short insulators, so I suspect this is a power=pole carrying a medium-voltage distribution line, which should be power=minor_line - but this would be clearer in person. --Jeisenbe (talk) 02:56, 14 January 2020 (UTC)
I found another interesting comparison: "Identifying Powerlines" from SA.GOV.AU:
And in Australia: "Transmission lines are used to carry electricity (in kilovolts, or kV) from power stations to major substations. In South Australia, transmission lines carry electricity at either 132 kV (132,000 volts) or 275 kV (275,000 volts). Distribution lines are used to deliver electricity from substations to homes and businesses. The voltage of electricity conducted by distribution powerlines may vary from 415 volts (V), which are low voltage, to 66 kV (66,000 volts), which are high voltage." So all Transmission lines are on large lattice towers, and all distribution lines (66 kV and below) on poles or masts. The largest masts/poles carrying 66 kV are 25m tall, similar to the example above of a 90 kV line in France - this is a gray zone. In Australia (like in many countries) the pole/tower distinction matches distribution/transmission, but I can see how the 90 kV lines in France are a gray zone.
At Alibaba you can buy a 40 meter tall "Transmission line steel wire pole of monopole tower in 40m height" - this I would call a power=tower with structure=tubular + material=steel. I imagine this is for very high voltage transmission lines only (or you might find a pair used to span a large river or ravine). "" --Jeisenbe (talk) 03:27, 14 January 2020 (UTC)
This example from the en.wikipedia article on electrical transmission shows a tall double-circuit tower made with a tubular steel or solid concrete support, which I think would be a power=tower --Jeisenbe (talk) 06:08, 14 January 2020 (UTC)
So to sum up you classify those as towers according to their height and not their structure. Right? A detail: The first link you provide towards Alibaba is illustrated for radio antennas, not power lines (which doesn't change anything about pole/tower question) Fanfouer (talk) 10:05, 17 January 2020 (UTC)
To bring a little more information to this discussion, I've recently been told by a transmission system operator professional that a pole is always composed of a single element, brought and installed in place without assembly. A tower is pretty always composed of several elements assembled in place. That's why lattice structure refers to towers very often and not to poles and towers composed of tube sections are actually towers and not poles. Such a distinction sounds relevant and easily verifiable on ground Fanfouer (talk) 12:47, 14 May 2021 (UTC)

Orientation: north/south side of road etc.

Perhaps there should be another field (better than just notes) where one can list the orientation of the pole to the road it is perhaps next to.

You see, often due to

  • different data origins: road commission vs. power commission, pole might be rendered on the wrong sides of roads.
  • rendering software, that puts poles within the roads themselves, as roads have width when rendered, but exist as simple lines in databases.

Jidanni (talk) 01:09, 11 August 2020 (UTC)

You answered your own question. This responsibility falls on the data importer and renderer. While I could support tagging side of road that has electricity lines (not well-defined on the latter), I don't see how "rendering software, that puts poles within the roads themselves" is an issue. -- Kovposch (talk) 12:52, 11 August 2020 (UTC)
I second Kovposch's comment: geometry position is the best data we can have regarding pole relative position to roads. If render is wrong, correct the data, it's just kiss Fanfouer (talk) 21:02, 11 August 2020 (UTC)

Direction of a pole

For squared-section poles (concrete and metallic ones, mainly, opposite of round-section like wood ones), direction=* of the largest side is really important to make mechanical studies. Such studies are done when it comes to add new wires to existing poles for instance.
Would it be acceptable to use direction=* combined to power=pole and define it as the direction of the largest side of a squared-section pole. It is limited to [0;180[°? It would be irrelevant for round-section poles.
Describing poles direction would allow to improve specialized renders by rotating poles' icons accordingly. See a complex example here, with a mix of round and squared poles. Fanfouer (talk) 12:34, 14 May 2021 (UTC)