This page discusses land-use/land-cover mapping issues and best practices in Belgium. Land-use refers to the utilisation of the land for human activities, while land-cover refers to the actual cover of the soil. Land-use and land-cover classes does not necessarily overlap: an area covered by grass (landcover=grass) can have different utilisations: agricultural (landuse=meadow), leisure (leisure=park, garden), sport (leisure=golf_course, pitch, ...), etc.
How are Belgian landscapes mapped in OpenStreetMap? What are the best practices for land-use mapping adapted to Belgium (and similar regions)? What tags should we use? How to digitalize the land-use/land-cover features?
Here we list the questions that are often raised by the community of OSM mappers about land-use/land-cover mapping. It would be nice if we can provide examples of how features are mapped (by link to some OSM area or objects), aerial imagery and on-ground pictures.
- landuse=forest vs natural=wood
- landuse=meadow vs landuse=farmland
Geometry / mapping issues
- Should land-use nodes be shared with nodes of adjacent (linear) features? In other words, do we let space between land-use polygons and adjacents roads/waterways?
- In what extent should land-use features overlap?
What are actual and potential use cases of land-use/land-cover information from OSM in Belgium? What does end-users need? Answering these questions should allow the OSM community to improve the ways of mapping.
- Plain cartography: land-use information is obviously useful for rendering, either in the default OSM Mapnik style and for others styles.
- OSM land-use features are known to be used to help producing land cover maps in the lifewatch project. See the map portal of lifewatch here. There was a talk about that at FOSS4G.be 2017 ("Making of the Lifewatch open data for biodiversity: synergies with OSM and FOSS4G", Julien Radoux). Note that Lifewatch data is open and can be used in OSM.
- A blog post about land-use mapping in Belgium: http://www.nobohan.be/2017/04/20/landuse-osm-belgium/
- The presentation at FOSS4G.be 2017 “State of land-use mapping in Belgium”: http://www.nobohan.be/docs/2017_10_26_FOSS4G.be_OSMLanduse/index.html#/
- Some discussions at the talk-be mailing list: https://lists.openstreetmap.org/pipermail/talk-be/2017-April/009928.html