I’ve been a casual contributing mapper for a number of years here in Sweden, and recently tried to up my game to make really high quality maps in the areas I live. I have a lot of local knowledge combined with very high quality government maps (already preloaded into the editor) together with Bing which today has much better alignment than a few years ago (still government maps are best on that). So good reference is there too, I have all I need to make a good job.
My areas are bit more rural, more nature. Villages and hamlets, small cities. Nature is prominent and naming nature is important, many old names but still in active use by forestry, wildlife goers, hunters and locals. I immediately run into basic issues that I’m surprised that they aren’t solved already, but I assume that’s because OSM is focused on densely populated places and perhaps mostly roads rather than nature.
** Tagging bays and straits as areas work great, as the renderer gets and idea how prominent it is and it can make proper text sizing and they can be seen even if zoomed out if the area is large. Lots of our lakes, even quite small ones have sub-naming, and with these features I can make really good mapping of this.
** Tagging and naming areas on ground does not seem to be developed much at all, unfortunately.
** There is natural=peninsula so one can tag and name an area of varying size, but it doesn’t seem to render (unless I’ve made some mistake…)
** I can’t make an area to name hills or slopes, which is very common around here (natural=hill would be nice). There’s peak, but that’s only for point for the highest peak with elevation, so it doesn’t fit my purpose.
** Valleys can only be tagged as ways, but here it would make much more sense to make an area, as sizes of these valleys vary a lot, and the renderer need to know which one is more prominent to make sane overview renders.
** Due to limitations in area-based name tagging the map look empty just when zoomed out a little, as names disappear almost directly, so despite detailed mapping and tagging the overview map is just not useful.
** I can’t make a group name. It’s here very common that several smaller islands are named as a group, smaller ponds are named as a group etc. There are tags for that (group/cluster), but not rendered. Alternatives to make it a named multipolygon means that the renderer put the name only in the biggest sub-area, and if naming each area the same the name gets repeated in each area, which looks ugly and clutters the map.
** No good tag for anonymous gravel yards, which there are a lot of. Abandoned quarry is the closest, but still not right, as only some actually were gravel/sand pits to start with. Those gravel yards are often leftovers from construction work or forestry often even locals don’t exactly know when or why they were made.
I’ve tried filing issues on openstreetmap-carto for this, but they always get immediately closed as they don’t really look into adding new features or even recognize these things as a problem, and urge me to discuss these things on some better suited forum, so here I am.
I think these issues are major problems for mapping in Sweden, and for me personally as it takes away from the joy of mapping with quality if the default render that most get to see still is, well, bad. The government maps are easily available here and the typical Swedish online services get their maps from there, so the competition is stiff. International services still often use OSM (facebook, garmin, strava, various generic route plotting services, small independent services etc), so we Swedes still have a need for OSM to be good, and for it to be good it needs to have features that make the map work well in rural areas and nature, as we have a lot of that.
In detailed areas such as major cities the map looks fairly good also here in Sweden, but as soon as it gets more nature with wider spaced features and larger named areas the map doesn’t look good and isn’t useful for getting an overview. The rural areas also have special features that not appear in cities (like these anonymous gravel yards), and it would be nice if these could be properly tagged and rendered.
There are issues in the cities too, I just took a look in Stockholm and there are nature areas there, which naturally have named hills and such too, names which appears properly sized in the government maps (as they are area-defined), and they are not available at all in OSM.
It seems to me that it would be quite simple and non-intrusive to fix most of these issues.
I think the bay/strait type of feature is the way to go (ie fuzzy areas that can be drawn on top, area is not rendered, it’s just a lead where to place and how large to make the text), naming forest etc as an alternative would be extremely messy and in many cases not work as these areas can be split up in say one part forest and one part wetland.