[Tagging] How to tag: Legally separated ways

Colin Smale colin.smale at xs4all.nl
Tue Oct 16 09:55:12 GMT 2012

Are you seriously suggesting that emergency services will trust a satnav 
in preference to their own eyes and brains? Especially a satnav driven 
by data with no proactive quality control and no-one you can 
sue/complain to? And seriously incomplete data? I think you are looking 
at a multi-year project to get all this information into OSM (read: 
"review and correct the tagging and topology of every road in the 
database") while all the time thousands of people are adding new "bad" 
data? A popular dutch saying "mopping up with the tap still running" 
comes to mind.

Let's not have a purely hypothetical debate, let's keep it practical. 
Assuming that emergency services currently use satnavs (consumer or 
special-purpose) based on commercial data, what would they say if we 
asked them "what would you need from OSM data to make it a better choice 
than your current supplier?" I can imagine that the time delay between 
changes on the ground and their availability in a map update might be 
one concern; inappropriate road classifications might be another. I 
would like to hear it from them, though. Then we can look at the 
requirements and assess whether it is a viable project.


On 16/10/2012 10:37, Simone Saviolo wrote:
> 2012/10/15 Colin Smale <colin.smale at xs4all.nl 
> <mailto:colin.smale at xs4all.nl>>
>     I don't understand why emergency vehicles are so important in this
>     discussion. 
> Because OSM publicly advertises the fact that its maps are being used 
> in the Gaza's strip by emergency vehicles that would otherwise have no 
> map? Just to name one. Also because emergency vehicles may happen to 
> operate in unknown territory. Don't limit yourself to the ambulance 
> that runs around its home town.
>     In the first place they have wide-ranging exemptions from traffic
>     rules, which (let's be honest) we are never going to tag in OSM. 
> This is meaningless. We will map all restrictions; consumers will have 
> an "emergency vehicle" flag that will route ignoring those 
> restrictions. Also, while an ambulance is allowed to go the wrong way 
> in a one-way street (when its siren is on, of course), it is usually 
> advised against doing so, as in a narrow road it may find regular 
> traffic, which would be dangerous or at least slow down the ambulance. 
> So, restrictions may be ignored, but drivers should be informed about 
> them.
>     Secondly they are never going to be relying on OSM data (or indeed
>     any normal sat-nav) for lane-precise routing. They are trained to
>     use their eyes and brains to make split-second decisions on what
>     is safe and an acceptable risk under the circumstances of that
>     moment. 
> Sure. Let's make an example. There's a long primary road between 
> towns, with solid double lines all the way from town A to town B. 
> Let's say it runs North-South from town A to town B. A farmyard east 
> of the road is burning. It can be accessed by a road that reaches the 
> large road; under normal circumstances, someone coming from town A 
> couldn't reach the crossroad and go to the farmyard, but would be 
> legally forced to go to town B, turn back, reach the crossroad and go 
> the farm.
> The firemen turn on their GPS navigator, because they're being called 
> in from a far away city and they've never heard the name of that 
> farmyard. The router lawfully sends them to town A, then to town B. 
> They go past the crossroad and can't notice the farmyard, because it's 
> far away and there's a wood in between that covers it. Also they can't 
> see on the screen that ten kilometres ahead they would have to turn 
> back and go back to the crossroad they're approaching. The firemen get 
> there fifteen minutes late and the farmyard is a bunch of ashes. Great 
> work dividing the way on a legal restriction! :-)
>     Thirdly, they will be about 0.0000000001% of the potential users
>     of OSM data - why should we compromise "service" to the vast
>     majority of real users for the hypothetical benefit of the very few.
> I know who makes this consideration: commercial map providers. It's 
> just not worth the cost, right?
> Cheers,
> Simone
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