RFC - Utility facilities

Dear all,

The ongoing RFC on utility facilities got further developments recently.

It sounds interesting to replace several values from industrial=* key:

  • industrial=gas => utility=gas
  • industrial=oil => utility=oil

As industrial=* is more likely used to describe the facility nature (refineries, storage…).
It could then be possible to use landuse=industrial + utility=oil + industrial=refinery for instance.

Comments are still open for a few days/week until voting.

All the best

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I disagree with replacing those industrial tags.
Except the small last-mile systems, the major oil & gas infrastructure facilities are not “utilities”/“utility-related”, they’re not directly for public service. They are industrial facilites and thus, the industrial key should be used.
The value of the industrial key usually shows wheather it’s about oil or gas anyway. Examples: gas_plant;tank_farm;gas_storage. And if it’s nessescary to further specify this, then substance=* should be used.
industrial=refinery is always a oil refinery, no further tags needed.

However, I support all other parts of the proposal.

Thank you for this feedback.

They are industrial facilites and thus, the industrial key should be used

All utility infrastructures are particular industrial facilities. I don’t contest the use of industrial key on those facilities (nor the use of building=industrial when applicable).
The point is to use both: industrial=* for the nature of infrastructure and utility=* for its activity.

the major oil & gas infrastructure facilities are not “utilities”/“utility-related”, they’re not directly for public service

Utilities usually refer to public services but it’s not mandatory. We have completely private companies without any public service mandate to operate.
Private/public criteria is addressed by operator:type=* key (or even operator=*)

We already use utility=* on oil&gas transmission pipeline markers.

The value of the industrial key usually shows wheather it’s about oil or gas anyway. Examples: gas_plant;tank_farm;gas_storage.

It’s kind of a problem to mix it in a single key. It’s not what we expect from industrial=* key.
Are we discussing about substance or utility here?

Substance isn’t suitable to deal with activity.

  • substance=steam, used with utility=chemical or utility=heating.
  • utility=heating using substance=steam or substance=hot_water…
  • utility=oil deals with many more substances=* than substance=oil only.

That’s why I find interesting the combination between industrial=, utility= substance=* or usage=*.

The table added in Rationale chapter intends to summarize changes and compare different situations for cabinets, industrial landuse, poles and marker between current and proposed schemes

Major oil & gas facilities are not utilities and shouldn’t be tagged as utility. Let alone chemical facilities.

Why shouldn’t one expect this?
If it is really necessary to specify anything further here, then something like industrial=oil+oil=* or industrial=gas+gas=*
Or use existing product=* if something is manufactured.
But not “utility”.

Also: did I read it right that you want to add utility=water/sewerage to man_made=wastewater_plant/man_made=water_works everywhere? I think that is extremely useless double tagging. And what is meant by utility=power on landuse=industrial?


Do you have any documentation that could be useful for that please?
To me, oil&gas are essential infrastructure providing energy and fluids to other human activities and are in the scope of the osm utility=* key.
Another question is: what harm could cause oil&gas as utility from osm perspective?

Because oil and refinery are orthogonal values in the same key. It breaks semantic consistency.
Furthermore, it confuses substance, activity and facility in the same key which is undesirable.

This proposal is about street cabinets, buildings or industrial perimeters.

By the way, and out of the scope of the proposal, I think man_made=water_works is a too general value that should be refined but it’s not my point here.
From global osm perspective, I don’t get the relevancy to have wastewater_plant and water_works in the overcrowded man_made key instead of man_made=works + utility=sewerage or utility=water for instance.
utility=water or utility=sewerage should be transverse to all sewerage or water infrastructure. It would allow consumers to access it all without looking for works, reservoirs, valve rooms, pumping rooms, service buildings they aren’t supposed to be aware of.

From Wikipedia:
Public utility: A public utility company (usually just utility) is an organization that maintains the infrastructure for a public service
Public service: A public service is any service intended to address specific needs pertaining to the aggregate members of a community.
Major oil&gas infrastructure almost never serves “aggregate members of a community”, it serves other companies or the community itself.
To be clear, I am not talking about street cabinets with some gas meters. These can and should be tagged with utility=gas, no problem. But as soon as it is in the size range of a landuse, not anymore. Then, they’re usually industrial facilities and should be tagged as such. Other existing tags describe their function (pipeline=substation substation=compression for example)

Because it is wrong (or at least stretches the term “utility” veeeery far) and an industrial classification describes those features more accurately.

Okay, agree with the first point. But I don’t think this is a good solution you’re proposing. I mean, I ain’t got a better one, but I also think that this is a very low-importance problem.
The refinery example dosen’t confuses anything, because a refinery always processes crude oil into petroleum products.

What are those industrial perimeters, other than (waste)water plants? Do you mean some kind of inspection stations or pump stations or something? (i’m not familiar with this)

Because man_made=works are manufacturing companies. Waterworks/wastewater plants don’t fall into this category.

So that to get such broad data you only have to utilize one instead of -lets say- 5 different keys? To have tags on hundreds of thousands of objects, which are actually obligatory and of course also have to be maintained, is not proportionate.

Thank you for answers

I currently fail to find a difference with power systems, particularly thermal power plants whatever their size is (very similar to refineries, from functional perspective).
Where am I mistaking?

We need to find the accurate limit between industry and utilities then. Where is it?

Someone’s very low importance is someone else’s urgency.

Get me well: it’s the mix refinery/oil in the single industry=* key which confuses something. Refinery and oil took separately don’t confuse anything indeed.

Yes, many things actually. Gas compression stations, water pumping stations, electricity substations, anything related to existing utility=* values.

Yes it was a poor choice of value. I’m not refining man_made=water_works currently. The idea was to keep a general facility value in man_made and define if it’s power/water/gas/telecom… with utility=*.
water_works is a way too specific value in a way too global key.

I gave 5 different possible keys, but what if there are actually more I’m not aware of? I won’t find all infrastructure I was looking for.

We have to relate to the real amount of object to be tagged this way. There are dozen of millions of them around the world remaining to be added to OSM.
Make a change on hundred of thousand objects is significant but two orders of magnitude lower at least, so not so bad actually. The sooner the better.

Good question. I don’t really know actually.

Hard to say, but I would say size & importance. (Only gas infrastructure. Oil/petroleum products is always industry in my view)

I mean, who is using this data? I currently only know Openinframap and there also only a small part of the OSM data used. …does it really bring an advantage to add a utility=* to each infrastructure object? (As long as utility=* is not everywhere maintained, you still get better data if you just download the current tags)
Yeah, you can get the data fast. But then? If you want to create useful applications with the data, you still have to deal with the more precise tags and their meanings.
Either you download all utility=(e.g.)water objects, and then deal with the exact tags (otherwise the data is useless). Or you deal with the tags first and then download specifically what you need.
I hope you understand what i’m trying to say.
I think it would make more sense to clearly document in the wiki which infrastructure/utility features exist in OSM (for which area (water, gas etc)), what the tags are and how they’re used, so potential consumers can get exactly what they need. Instead of adding/maintaining “utility” everywhere.
So much for the general idea of adding utility everywhere.

Back to the topic of oil and gas: I would be fine with utility=gas being used as a replacement to industrial=gas.
But this does not apply to industrial=oil. Oil industry is not an “utility” - nowhere from the borewell to the gas station. And therefore nothing should be tagged as utility. (I know, utility=oil is used for pipeline markers, but I don’t care about those anyway - why would anyone need that data.)

(BTW: If you want all power(utility) features right now, you only need to query 2 tags: power=* or utility=power. (And maybe street_cabinet=power, but i guess that’s getting depracated soon anyway))

I read the current proposal page, and I think a few things could be included:

  • Add utility=drinking_water_treatment and utility=drinking_water_distribution
  • Apply utility=* to water=wastewater
  • Add utility=heating (mainly for features related to District heating - Wikipedia)
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By the way, thank you for comments.
That’s always how good proposals end up to vote.

A huge water processing plant is industry as well, with chemicals, powerful pumps, heating…
It puzzles me a bit to remain stuck on this.
Well, i’ll give a further look this weekend.

Public administration, urban planners, utility operators themselves, third party people I don’t even know…

Basically, if I want to display land usage between several utilities in a given city, utility=* is enough.

I understand but in the end it leads to the osm=* single key.
Tagging space is expending, it’s not contracting.

You argue that utility=* isn’t maintained everywhere. Why should particular - and more elaborated - tagging should be more maintained with more people to support them?
utility=* allows less knowledgeable people to give information “it’s power or water thing, whatever it is actually”.
power=yes or water=yes aren’t a valid option when you’re not able to choose a value for those keys.

I’ve been here for 10 years now and it’s not even over with documentation.
We also need tagging that scales.

Finally, adding utility=* or not isn’t the question since we already add street_cabinet=* on every cabinet, which is perfectly valid.

That could be fine, indeed.
We will deal with industrial=oil vs industrial=refinery later.

Thank you @Friendly_Ghost for reading and commenting.

That’s not how utility=* is defined.
utility=* is the general activity, not the precise facility.
Production, transmission and distribution will be described with usage=*

I don’t understand this one. Why should we add utility=* to the substance=* ?

It already exists

I added my comments already to industrial discussion page early this day Talk:Key:industrial

I’m agree with zluuzki.

Please note that utility infrastructure does not belong to the industrial sector, but construction companies do.

You’re right, the definitions of industrial=oil and industrial=gas are very broad: “exploration, extraction, refining, extraction, storage, distribution, marketing” and not specific enough. Only refining belongs to the industrial sector industrial=refinery where oil and gas is processed to different products. Gas is in addition raw material for the chemical industry to produce commodity and speciality chemicals.

Happy New Year

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Hello and Happy new year :slight_smile:

Thank you for your feedback, ISIC classification is a really good framework.

As I answered in the industrial Talk, we’re not dealing about construction. Section F class 4220 only covers contractors, who install all the wires, pipes not the companies who operate and maintain them. The difference is between build and run.
I gave some matching between utility=* and ISIC classes.

By the way, oil refineries got their own class 1920 in section C, manufacturing and any other utility got its own too in different sections.
Doubt remains about oil processing be the only activity that isn’t an utility for others.
Which difference does it make with class 3520 section D (manufacture of gas)?

Dear all,

Well, I’ve removed industrial=oil from the proposal.
It requires further discussion in another proposal maybe.

Let’s focus on street_cabinet and industrial=gas for this round

All the best