Peaks and Mountains

Posted by valhikes on 2/7/2024

Ever since visiting Mount Lassic and then making edits in the region, I’ve had this nagging difficulty: What to do with a mountain whose high point is named differently? Mount Lassic has three peaks, the highest is called Signal Peak. I eventually mapped its survey point, which is also called Mount Lassic, and hoped that was done. (Apparently I shouldn’t map survey points except at the exact point indicated, so I’ve done this WRONG. I’ll just name a peak “Such-and-such Benchmark” then. Except a benchmark is specifically a vertical control and most at peaks are horizontal controls. “Such-and-such Triangulation Station” gets a bit long. Oh, the humanity!) Unfortunately, if one searches for the mountain, one only gets the Mount Lassic Wilderness and the Mount Lassic Trail, but there’s no hint that this goes to the high point of Mount Lassic. It goes, in fact, to “Signal Peak”.

Other places where there’s a named high point (peak) different from the main mountain are Marble Mountain (with Black Marble Mountain the high point). Someone seems to have simply marked a lower peak as Marble Mountain. If one does this, there’s a bit of a debate if it is the highest white peak or the most prominent white peak. Mount Konocti with high point Wright Peak. Currently both are marked close to the high point, but the main mountain has been given a lower elevation so doesn’t show often, but it is searchable.

Ideally, this all renders such that one sees the mountain name at low zoom and get individual peaks at high zoom. For purposes of clarity, I am using “mountain” to mean the landmass that may have many peaks and “peak” to refer to points where every direction is downhill. I think this is common English usage, but I’ve seen areas of maps where it looks like the usage was reversed. The only solution above that renders all eventually is the one on Marble Mountain. However, the result is not as desired and false. And which peak to you demote the actual mountain to? Mount Konocti has several named peaks to push the mount down.

Discussions in the past have gone on to relations. There’s a few in use, either of type “site” or “multipolygon” or suggested “multipoint”. Another solution is to mark the area as a natural=mountain. None of it gets rendered, but perhaps the renderers just need to catch up. All of it is currently used somewhere.

For the relations, some objections are that while points and ways are obvious from the start, even many experienced mappers don’t quite get relations. Count me among them. I’ve tried a few route relations. (And I should get back to the California Coastal Trail, I suppose.) There’s a comment about multipolygons being a bad idea after all. I’m definitely not going to delve into that. I went ahead and tried a site relation for Mount Lassic, first dropping on the other two minor peaks with the bare minimum of information. It still isn’t searchable and doesn’t render. My objections are that if someone adds a peak that should be part of the relation, it may or may not every get included.

Objections to marking an area as a natural=mountain are that the area is quite nebulous. The objectors liken the indistinct nature of where the mountain is to that of already “in use” natural=mountain_range, which seems to lack understanding that mountain ranges have many sub-ranges. will list 5 levels of ranges for any particular peak. Being part of the Rocky Mountains is far from the end of the story for mountain ranges. Mountains really don’t have so much difficulty. One person points out the object in drawing is to mark a general area that gets labeled, but that area itself is never expected to be rendered.

Although I’ve made a stab at making a relation, I think an area is best. I’m surprised that there’s 20 uses of natural=mountain worldwide and some of them don’t even make sense. How does a mountain have a leaf_type? (I must be doing this wrong?) There’s a quite old multilingual proposal. There’s a region:type that’s clearly getting discouraged now. There’s another 115 uses of natural=peak applied to ways, which seem to be generally closed. Here is one solving the problem of the different peak and mountain names.

Seriously, it’s cute that there’s a Bears Ears East and Bears Ears West, but when I zoom out, there should just be Bears Ears. It might be nice to find Maroon Bells on the map instead of Maroon Peak when zoomed out. It might be nice to have the various Mount Massive peaks represented and still known as part of the whole too.

Also, natural=mountain_range probably needs a bit of work in spite of the 5000+ uses already. The focus here is just getting the mountains right.