Landuse wiki - any benefits to method sharing nodes with highways?

Hello all,

I would like to do some work on Landuse in the wiki - if that is seen as helpful.

I want to clarify the point on Landuse polygons (either as polygons or as relations) sharing nodes with Highway ways and have a couple of questions:

  1. Are there any benefits to this method?
  2. Can/should this in someway be removed/deprecated?

I am aware that it is common practice (and indeed recommended—how-to-map) in OSM to draw large landuse=residential polygons around entire villages/neighbourhoods. I have contributed to MissingMaps and understand the initial benefits this has.

However, as mapping of an area becomes more detailed these large areas have to be broken down to accommodate other landuse / amenity / leisure tags. Given that OSM typically includes detail to the level of individual building outlines is there any good reason why landuse polygons should extend to the centrelines of highways as suggested on this page It seems a truism that land that is dedicated to highway (carriageway and pavement/sidewalk) is not land available for residential (or any other use). If people are expected to draw a polygon around land used for a school following the school’s boundary why shouldn’t they draw a polygon around land used for residential following the boundary of land that actually is residential?

I am aware that the landuse=highway tag is not recommended and leaving highway land untagged seems a reasonable compromise.

On a purely practical point, editing landuse areas made up of relations of fragments of highway ways is complicated (even for relatively experienced mappers) and carries a high risk of damaging not only the landuse areas but also the highway network. Removing the suggestion of linking landuse areas to highway centrelines would seem to me to make mapping both simpler and more accurate. Is there any reason not to do this?

Apologies for the long post, if there are better places for this discussion please let me know.


Keep in mind that this entire article seems like one person’s personal opinion, especially the “Highways as outer and inner” section. The line “Attention: Before cutting highways into pieces assure that it is member of a relation of the type street or associatedStreet.” is not something that’s generally regarded as needed, and demonstrates a misunderstanding of the associatedStreet relation type. In fact, after skimming through it, it gives enough questionable advice that I think it either needs to be completely rewritten with a clear goal in mind, or taken down.

As far as mapping landuse to the road centrelines, my opinion is that this is semantically incorrect. In reality on the ground, landuse does not extend to the centerline; it stops at the edge of the road. Official city maps treat it this way too, with properties generally ending at the edge of the road and the roads being a separate right-of-way area that isn’t contained within any property. If I’m standing in one of the travel lanes of a road, I’m not standing in the park adjacent to it, so it shouldn’t be mapped as such. There are a few parts of the world where the contributors seem to want to cover every square inch of their country with landuse, which I think is where this kind of mapping-to-the-centerline comes from, but sometimes it just doesn’t make sense to do so. This is one of those cases.

Thanks for the response, that all makes sense to me. I was hoping I might get a bit more feedback so that I don’t go changing things against the established consensus.
I have subsequently found the discussion tabs on the wiki pages and seen some of the debate around landuse/landcover/amenity/leisure etc. and while I don’t want to get into that question at all, I do think there is room for a bit of clarity on how best to determine and draw the outlines of the various uses.
I think what I will do is to start making some minor changes/post in the wiki discussion and take it from there.