Small scale landuse=industrial vs. industrial=*

Many mappers do understand landuse as a tag for large-scale mapping like landuse=industrial for a large area being designed for industrial use. An additional tag for small-scale mapping of separate premises within an industrial area is industrial=*. The wiki said that this tag is a primary key which can be used standalone before some kind of edit war startet on this page.

The actual situation is that industrial=* does not really work as a primary key. Using it for a single premise within a large landuse=industrial without adding a separate landuse=industrial to that area results in various error messages, sometimes from iD, sometimes from Osmose, but without being consistent.

Again premises tagged as industrial=* without a separate landuse=industrial tag has the effect that the name of the premise owner will not be rendered in carto. Both, the error messages as well as the lack of rendering has provoked mappers to add a separate landuse=industrial to such premises being part of a large landuse=industrial already.

Does that make sense? Tagging a landuse for a small area being part of a larger area with the same landuse? And shall we use landuse=industrial preferably large scale (whole area) or small scale (single premises)?

Thanks for your comments.

But it will render in Cart if it’s named as building=industrial within a landuse=industrial:

from my understanding, we do not have any way to tag “large scale” without conflicting with the rest of the map, which is always small scale. Ultimately you have to draw a precise line to create a polygon, and it will interact with all the other polygons that are already there. Having a landuse cutting halfway through a building or other polygon is not a desirable situation (unless it is done on purpose). From a German or Italian perspective, permitted landuse is assigned to building plots (or sometimes even parts of them), this is the common scale for the usage of land. If you agree that the streets are a different landuse than the plots along it, then the scale already gets down to block size even without looking at individual plots.

For fractions of settlements, we should use the place structure, IMHO. The predominant landuse is implicit if you draw the place entity (suburb, quarter, neighbourhood) as a polygon (rather than as a node which would leave a big questionmark regarding extent / boundaries) and actual landuses within are tagged accordingly, but the scheme could also be extended by having a mapper classify the type, e.g. quarter=industrial, or place:type=industrial or something like this.

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Yes, that is correct, but this is not my issue. I want to add the name to the whole premise, like a scrapyard. If I tag the area, being part of a large landuse=industrial, with industrial=srcapyard + name=Mikkes Scrap the name will not be rendered unless I tag an additional landuse=industrial to that area (+ error message from iD).

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While there is clearly “tagging for the renderer” (discouraged in certain circumstances, and somewhat misunderstood as to when, how and why by many of us) in this case, I’ll suggest something that might make @Map_HeRo happy, as well as staying consistent with how things “ought to be tagged.”

The key:industrial tag is appropriate on nodes and closed ways (polygons). The landuse:industrial tag is appropriate on “the landuse” (extent). I and others (in USA and North America) tag like this on the polygon which denotes the “parcel of land” (called “plots” earlier, with concomitant ownership and boundary implications) that is “zoned” for industrial use. As it is known that tagging a polygon with the latter + a name=* tag will render that name in Carto, and as it is proper to map in OSM (regardless of how it renders, or not) an “industrial object” in OSM with industrial=* or man_made=works (or other, similar / related tags) on a node or a polygon, tag like this. OSM will “get” (the data) that it needs, you’ll “get” the Carto rendering that is appropriate. Let (multiple) present or future renderers do what they like: as long as the underlying data in OSM is tagged correctly / appropriately, that’s what is important.

My suggestions here in no way contradict what @dieterdreist says about tagging place=* (or its “fractions”); I wholeheartedly agree with his entire post.

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I understood industrial= as tag added on landuse=industrial

BTW, man_made=works sounds useful for cases you describe.

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Adding industrial=* as a tag to a polygon (already) tagged landuse=industrial seems fine to me — it’s another case of adding a more specific tag with its key matching a value of another tag on the same object. The question likely arises (in @Map_HeRo 's mind, I speculate) as to whether adding this tag causes Carto to no longer render the name=* tag on the polygon. I leave this as “an exercise for the reader.”

Sure, additional objects inside of this polygon (nodes, smaller polygon ways) can also get tagged something like man_made=works, or whatever might be an even more appropriate tag.

People really do experiment with specific tagging schemes like this to get their desired results by a particular renderer, but anybody who does this must stay true to the tenet that rendering is secondary and “what is in the real world” is of primary importance to tag on (node, way…) objects.

Thanks for you detailed comment, although my issue is not that much an attempt to be made happy by a certain tagging approach … :wink:

My point is not simply the rendering - I don’t mind that much if a companies name is shown in carto or not - but the inconsistency in rendering and besides that the error messages produced by tagging the premises or plots with industrial=* without adding landuse=industrial.

Did i get you right that your suggest to put the landuse=industrial tag not to the whole area zoned as industrial but to each parcel or plot held by a certain owner? In other words in regard to my question “shall we use landuse=industrial preferably large scale (whole area) or small scale (single premises)?” you suggest the small scale tagging?

If your landuse=industrial tags are consistently “one thing,” (and perhaps “large,” and “all-encompassing”) it makes sense to use the one tag on the one thing. If you have a number of different industrial areas that are distinct (via name, ownership, sub-type of industrial activity…), denote them with smaller, more-specific nodes/polygons and appropriate tagging. This isn’t a “must-do,” but if you do know these specifics, why not add them to our map?

In the context of my post “large scale” means an area with uniform usage whereas “small scale” stands for the single parcel, plot or property whithin such an area. Out of various discussions in the german subforum I understood that there is some consensus to use landuse tags for built-up areas under this point of view more large scale than small scale.

In regard of landuse=industrial this means using this tag for the whole industrial area (with exception of through roads) instead for each single plot or premise within. By doing so + adding the industrial=* tag to the single premises one gets in conflict with the editor (iD), QA tools (Osmose) and the renderer. That is the issue I am putting up here.

Yep, that’s fine with me, I just wanted to be sure that I’ve got you right. And sure, if you fix the landuse tag together with the industrial=* tag to a single plots within an industrial estate you wouldn’t get problems with the editor or the renderer.

What would you do if you work on the plots within an industrial area which is tagged with landuse=industrial as a whole. Break the whole area up and add the landuse tag to each plot (which may be a lot of work) or just put an additional landuse=industrial tag to the very plot your are working on?

If you leave the whole area tagged as l=i & just add Industrial=* as a node on the site, or tagged on a building area, what happens?

Is that when the error warnings appear?

In cartography, “large scale” implies more detail, and “small scale” implies less detail. A 1/24,000 scale map is going to typically show more detail than a 1/100,000 scale map of the same area covering the same subject and 1/24,000 (the fraction) is larger than 1/100,000.

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You are definitely right, but in the context of an area large-scale and small-scale refer to the areas size which is what i mean.

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To avoid confusion, you might want to just say “large area” and “small area” or “broad coverage” and “detailed coverage”

Anyway, otherwise enjoying following the conversation here.


You could do either, “one big landuse” vs. “several smaller ones.” There are reasons and arguments to be made for both. It is site-specific, so using common sense to do your best is likely going to yield a good outcome. Recognize that “a first draft” is acceptable to enter into OSM, knowing that more “fine tuning” and later drafts that update to more-specific and more-detailed data is a good deal of how OSM is built.

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Example of the iD error message:


to be found here:


(The l=i tag is on the surrounding area but not on the plot itself)

Example of the Osmose error message:

Same situation as above, to be found here:


Fun fact: The iD error and the Osmose error are not popping up at the same object …

It looks like, from software perspective, there’s no check if the smaller industrial area is within a larger one, and it just expects each separate area to have the same tag. I wouldn’t necessarily call that error, more like lack of feature. If the discussion here shows that indeed l=i shouldn’t be in each separate area if already a broader area one exists which encapsulates them, then an issue on iD’s github should be raised to propose this check.


This is a good comment for sure but leaving my question unanswered … :wink: … what would YOU do in such situation - break the whole large landuse=industrial up and add the tag to every single plot or would you save your time, put just an additional landuse=industrial tag to that very plot and move on?

If I have limited time or limited knowledge, I’d do a “first draft” on the larger area. If I have time to invest and deep, detailed knowledge, I’d spend that time curating as much detail as I know and know how to tag / map (asking in places like here, checking out wiki if I have a question about tagging or so…).

In both cases, as I upload my contributions, I “sign them proudly with my username, for others to enjoy.”

Edit: Enjoy, yes, but especially in the case of a “first draft” (which should be something like “B+ or better quality”) for others to potentially improve, too.

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