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How should natural geothermal activity be tagged?

In Kawerau, New Zealand, between the BMX park and the Recreation Centre, at the north end of the Monika Lanham Reserve there is an area of geothermally active ground. The area emits steam and has a sulphurous smell. Although the surface is not hot, it looks like mud or damp earth. The area is fenced off to discourage entry. There is also a geothermal steam bore on the edge of the area that extracts steam to heat the local swimming pool.

The only "geothermal" related tag that is documented on the wiki relates to geothermal power stations. Aside from geysers and hot springs there is nothing about how to tag naturally occurring geothermal activity. Also the tag for a well or bore is deprecated. There is a geothermal key in use but it is only used 4 times, in Iceland.

How should this area and the geothermal bore be tagged?

Is using the tags "natural=mud" and "geothermal=yes" ok?

asked 30 Dec '16, 20:48

Huttite's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

I suspect that the correct term is "geothermal field" a corresponding tag hasn't been used very much, see If you do use it, please add some documentation to the wiki.

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answered 31 Dec '16, 14:56

SimonPoole's gravatar image

SimonPoole ♦
accept rate: 18%

That works for me! At least for the mud area.

Hopefully, documenting it on the wiki will provoke further discussion.

(31 Dec '16, 23:14) Huttite

Ok, I have added the page Tag:natural=geothermal_field to the wiki. But I notice that the tags natural=geothermal (used 3 times) and natural=geothermal_area (used twice) are also in use, as well as the key geothermal=* (used 4 times). Should I add these to the wiki too?

(01 Jan '17, 10:46) Huttite

I would simply add the other keys to as examples of other values that have been used (I still think geothermal_field is best suited).

(01 Jan '17, 12:04) SimonPoole ♦

Huttite, its strange to notice that a large Geothermal Zone as Yellowstone National Park has tags like natural=geyser name=Mud Geyser. Just that and nothing more. Or the surroundings of Old Faithfull, with lots of thermal attractions none of them tagged with geothermal ? It seems your the first trying to use those tags ;-)

(01 Jan '17, 14:30) Hendrikklaas

Perhaps it is because I am trying to map something that few people have thought to map before. However, the more I think about this the more I feel that natural=geothermal_field is not the best tag to use. The terminology for geothermal field is often used in the geothermal power industry in the same way as oil field or gas field, rather than as a farmed field.

What should be mapped is what physically appears on the ground. i.e. the water or soil. The geothermal activity is an attribute, or property, of the ground surface. Boiling mud, bubbling pool, steaming ground, etc. Fumaroles, geysers and hot springs are physical features that are driven by the geothermal activity.

(02 Jan '17, 22:46) Huttite
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question asked: 30 Dec '16, 20:48

question was seen: 1,510 times

last updated: 02 Jan '17, 22:46

NOTICE: is being shutdown on 1st March 2024. Please use the OpenStreetMap Community Forum