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In many parts of the world smallholdings are a common form of agriculture, where the owners produce a mixture of food for their own consumption alongside cash crops. Where part of a settlement is made up of many of this sort of development, I'm reluctant to tag as either residential or farmland and I can't find a better tag. Should I propose one or is there another solution?


asked 19 Dec '11, 17:53

ed%20kimber's gravatar image

ed kimber
accept rate: 0%

edited 19 Dec '11, 22:56

I do not understand the difference betwean a smallholding and any other farming. It is common for farms to produce a mixture of foods, and for their own consumption as well as for cash.

Note that a crop field in someones back yard does not make it a farm. If the primary use of the area is for living and seccondary use is for crops then it is a residential area. This goes the other way so if the primary use of an area is for food production but there is a farmer living on the lands then it is a farm (with a farmyard).

I do not exacly know what you are describing but you are not describing anything different from a residential area where it i common for people to grow crops in the back yard. In that case you should use landuse=residential

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answered 19 Dec '11, 22:45

Gnonthgol's gravatar image

Gnonthgol ♦
accept rate: 16%

I did some on-ground mapping ins Sub-Saharan Africa and also stumbled across this issue.

The basic problem ist that you often find yourself in areas which have a mulitfunctional landuse (typically living, some subsistence or even cash-crop farming, some small shops, often scattered forested or scrubed areas, etc.). Besides the mosaique nature of the landuse pattern, these landuses are often highly dynamic on the temporal scale. Particularly in urban areas (like it is the case on your image) the mosaique of landuses changes very rapidly and typically becomes more and more residential.

So we basically have a complex landuse pattern to map, and to my opinion it is not a matter of a missing landuse-tag. Once a suburban dwelling moved from highly multi-functional to residential it seems clear that the landuse=residential would be appropriate. A multi-functional landuse pattern may only be represented by the mosaic of tiny landuse pockets here and there but besides being complex you are also running the risk that it will be outdated rapidly.

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answered 20 Dec '11, 07:23

FischersFritz's gravatar image

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So you would map out each of these plots, olive groves and date palm orchards as orchard, vegetable patches as farmland, houses with building=house etc? I would love to do that but it would take me forever and I am no longer on the ground to cross-check the satellite images.

(20 Dec '11, 18:50) ed kimber

Ideally, mapping the patches would be the preferred option. I personally don't really see the need for an additional tag for this dynamic and multifunctional land use patterns. If you do not want to go the patchy way, you could also use landuse=residential for any nucleus of residential area you may identify. Particularly if its in a peri- or suburban area it is likely that the area will become rather sooner than later residential.

(21 Dec '11, 07:31) FischersFritz

As others have said, it's probably not a good idea to propose some new tag for this. Personally I'd call this whole area farm land. Clearly it's interspersed with little patches of land area which could be mapped in a very finicky way to try represent residential bits. There's also a wondrous variety of tags for different crops / orchards, ...if you had the time for that sort of thing.

We can generalise this question to "How itty-bitty and fine-grained should landuse areas be?". And this is a tricky question. We have it listed here as an open question which applies equally in other situations. In a city we have to decide if a corner shop in the middle of a residential area needs to have it's own little patch of landuse=retail.

My opinion: land use mapping has to involve some level of broad brushstroke simplified classification. Increased detail only comes when you start mapping individual buildings. But that's just the way I see it, and of course other mappers come along and add details anyway. So for example I wouldn't have bothered with this pink patch, but I'm not sure how I would justify deleting it, now that it's been added.

A lot of tagging questions can be settled by thinking "what is this thing primarily?" (same for classifying different types of shop in a city for example). So is this land area primarily farm or residential? I'd say farm.

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answered 22 Dec '11, 01:40

Harry%20Wood's gravatar image

Harry Wood
accept rate: 14%

I agree with the example, I wouldn't bother with that single pink patch of retail landuse there either, I would just tag building=retail. It's still a residential area. I think the problem I have is different. It's that if I were to tag the whole area as farmland, it would look as if the locality is a small village next to some large farms, when in reality it's quite a bustling little town. Ideally I would go and map all the buildings as houses... but that's quite a job.

(22 Dec '11, 13:24) ed kimber

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question asked: 19 Dec '11, 17:53

question was seen: 5,634 times

last updated: 22 Dec '11, 13:24

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