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Some creeks/brooks are intermittent, i.e. if water is running during a special time in the year ( perhaps in rain-time); but there exist also dry valleys, where very seldom, but than roughly, water comes down. Why shouldn't we use for these valleys the "old" feature "wadi"? Shouldn't we differ between "stream intermittent yes" and a 99% dry valley? Perhaps there is another features for them, with I don't know yet? Thanks for help. Bratananio

asked 10 Jun '16, 16:01

Bratananio's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

I'd try and use whatever was the most appropriate tag for the feature.

For example, something like the top end of the River Lathkil in Derbyshire is definitely not a wadi, but it is an intermittent river. However, I'm sure that there are other features that are much better described as a wadi - in those cases I would use natural=wadi, because "intermittent stream or river" really doesn't fit.

The wiki page for "wadi" says things like "deprecated", but doesn't explain very why, and doesn't link to the tagging list discussion that explains the problem a bit. Maybe have a read through that discussion and then consider what's best for the feature that you're thinking about tagging?

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answered 10 Jun '16, 20:35

SomeoneElse's gravatar image

SomeoneElse ♦
accept rate: 16%

This type of tagging issue arises from time-to-time on OSM. A tag with an apparently clear meaning (in this case waterway=wadi) gets used (usually in specific parts of the world) in such a way as to subvert that meaning. Other examples would be: place=hamlet, used for industrial areas of US cities; landuse=forest, used in the US for areas administered by the National Forest Services; landuse=grass, nearly everywhere.

There are basically two choices:

  • Stop using the relevant tag entirely, and use other tags. (the deprecation option offered by the wiki).
  • Continue to use the relevant tag, but use additional tags so as to be more specific about the meaning.

In my view we should avoid losing a tag like waterway=wadi, which concisely represents a common natural feature in low-rainfall parts of the globe. Creating an entirely new tag just makes an unfortunate situation more complicated.

We should work to discourage its use for intermittent rivers such as the Lathkill, but such processes take time. Whilst a tag can mean more than one thing it makes sense to clarify the meaning with one or more additional tags. This could be as simple as wadi=* or wadi:type=*.

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answered 10 Jun '16, 21:34

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SK53 ♦
accept rate: 22%

IIRC from the tagging list discussion, wadi has several meanings around the middle east including the valley itself and not just the ephemeral water course that may be in the valley. Those areas in the desert southwest of the United States (may have water in them only for a few minutes or hours occasionally but not necessarily every year) I finally settled on waterway=stream, intermittent=yes with occasional (if I felt the "wash" as they are locally called was unlikely to have water in it in any given decade) ephemeral=yes.

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answered 10 Jun '16, 21:51

n76's gravatar image

accept rate: 17%


Hi Bratananio, combine natural=valley with intermittent=yes conform the Wiki, and choose intermittent The natural valley is often dry and the same goes for intermittent=yes but don’t ad waterway in any way.

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answered 10 Jun '16, 20:13

Hendrikklaas's gravatar image

accept rate: 5%


You're not really suggesting tagging as "natural=valley; intermittent=yes" are you? That would suggest that it was sometimes a valley, and at other times not.

Even when a torrent is flowing through it, a valley is still a valley.

(10 Jun '16, 20:39) SomeoneElse ♦

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question asked: 10 Jun '16, 16:01

question was seen: 2,191 times

last updated: 10 Jun '16, 21:51

NOTICE: is no longer in use from 1st March 2024. Please use the OpenStreetMap Community Forum