Mysterious surface=cement

I think in Italy the situation is similar to greece:

According to LEO the italian word for cement is “cemento” wheras reinforced concrete ist called “cemento armato”.


Yes, looking at Italy I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of those were just translation mistakes. The correct word for concrete in Italian is “calcestruzzo” which is however not a very widespread word among people who don’t work with it.
And yes, reinforced concrete is called “cemento armato” but that as well should not be used that much for road surfaces, though it could create quite a bit of confusion.


What “cement” and “concrete” is has been discussed in extensio. What it is called in any other language than english might explain something but is of no importance for the english-only tagging here (if you consider the latter good or bad) .
But out of my own mapping experience the main problem is: as mentioned in the first post there does not exist a documented value to map such surface areas in a way its is shown (at all) in the maps of Josm etc.
Because it is not “documented” this is not possible.
But such surfaces with no obvious “landuse” do often exist in reallity. Often as extension of roads (not mappeable “highway” because it is no line, for agricultural purposes but no “farmyard”.
Or you leave ugly holes in the map witht no possible landuse tag…
Best solution would be to have a documented value “surface = concrete” to be used with area=yes.

Tag:surface=concrete - OpenStreetMap Wiki is documented, and yes you can use it with area=yes if you have concrete-covered area with unknown purpose

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thanks. I did a trial edit tho look how JOSM does interprete that…-

The one level answer forces me to answer to myself instead of to @Map_HeRo. You’re right. As many other Europeans, we use in French ciment (cement) for cement and for Portland cement mortar as well (even is mortier is the correct term, but mortier is in general used between stones or bricks, for a flat area we use the word ciment - even if like in English we should not). So yes a mechanical edit makes sense.


Off topic, just a hint:

For a multiple level answer ust the “reply” button below the thread and insert as many qoutes from different posts as you like. Every quoted user will get a notification about your anwer.


in Italian, cemento is cement while concrete is calcestruzzo, there are different words, but in colloquial language cemento is used more universally than just pure cement.

I am also against an automated edit. I can imagine situations where people add surface values to a highway which isn’t in the context of roads but for example on top of a building, on bridges, roofs, retaining walls etc.

Correct, as seen here:

It does not make any difference it surface=cement is tagged to a road or any other building. It does not make sense at all in construction business. Even if you would have private house where someone had the idea to cover the roof with a layer of pure cement hardly anyone would be able to distinguish if the layer is really pure cement or if it is (and in most cases would be) a layer of fine concrete, as described earlier. If you doubt, talk to a construction engineer or supervisor.


Do you think that Tag:surface=cement - OpenStreetMap Wiki can describe it as a deprecated value that should be retagged to actual one?

And if we find that someone in arid region for some weird reason is using cement powder as surface then we can invent surface=cement_powder or something.

I am asking this one also in context of StreetComplete - should it treat surface=cement as missing surface and ask user to specify what is there?

(that is being done for Tag:surface=cobblestone - OpenStreetMap Wiki )


I’d agree on all your points. For StreetComplete in particular, user can always leave a note if the surface is confusing (or really a cement_powder!) so it would be relatively easy trail to follow.


I marked surface=cement as deprecated

  1. Way 297858850 is a multi-storey car park. Almost certainly supposed to be concrete. No way that’s cement.
  2. Way 3753061 a 15 year old “parking lot” (in the middle of a field). Doesn’t appear on satellite imagery any longer but was likely an area of compacted ground for a farmer.
  3. Way 899498992 a tiny stretch of cycleway (other stretches tagged as surface=asphalt). Unclear from satellite imagery what the surface is, probably concrete or compacted rather than actually cement.

It was originally added as an area of “surface=cement” (in reality likely concrete, of course). That was 15 years ago, by a local Northants mapper. The “amenity=parking” was made up by a notorious non-local armchair mapper and makes no sense. I’ve changed it.