[HOT] Tagging highways in semi-urban areas in Malawi

Suzan Reed suzan at suzanreed.com
Thu Apr 14 01:34:07 UTC 2016

I do a fair amount of mapping in Africa, and I would map those as highway=unclassified. Vehicles can drive roads 2 m or so in a 4 x 4 or a motorcycle-truck. Many wider roads there have huge ruts and they are drivable. Look on Youtube for examples of driving in that part of Africa and the kinds of vehicles used and how they are modified. 

Also, a residential area in parts of Africa may have fields between and be scattered, but people still consider themselves part of a Residential Area. I look at the larger area and then decide. It can be helpful to tag a Residential Area as then people might get more aid than if they are single residences. 

Knowing something of the culture and the way people live in a certain place can be helpful. Google images and Youtube videos for more information on where you are mapping. What would be a path where I live would be a major road in other places in the world. 

In iD the tag is now highway=Minor Road/Unclassified. In JOSM it’s still highway=unclassified. Looks different in both, too. 




On Apr 13, 2016, at 3:55 PM, john whelan <jwhelan0112 at gmail.com> wrote:

If you look at the wiki http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Highway_Tag_Africa my understanding is if you can drive a 4x4 down it its at least a highway=unclassified and you'd be surprised where I can drive a 4x4.

Definitely not a track, and I'm not quite sure that I agree with your definition of less than 2 m wide is a always a path.  Is it the wet season or dry season when the image was taken?

Having said that provided something is there then I think the locals on the ground will eventually retag the highways to something more meaningful.

Cheerio John

On 13 April 2016 at 18:45, Martin Hibbert <m902.osm at gmail.com> wrote:
Could you take a look at http://www.openstreetmap.org/edit#map=17/-9.91903/33.89645 (part of http://tasks.hotosm.org/project/1641 Malawi).
I wouldn't describe the area as residential as the buildings are too scattered and there are cultivated fields in between.

You will see there are some obvious highway=unclassified (wide roads linking areas of population). Also some obvious highway=path (less than 2m wide) between groups of buildings. 

But I am unsure how best to tag the smaller highways (2m wide or more, and so accessible for a vehicle) between some of these groups of buildings. Presumably not highway=track, as we are told that is for access to farmland.

Would highway=service be sensible?

What do others do? 


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