[Tagging] surface=ground/dirt/earth

David Bannon dbannon at internode.on.net
Thu Mar 20 22:36:09 UTC 2014

Vali, great contribution to the discussion.

The three photos sort of span the things we are talking about, confused
a little by the fact that they don't really suit 'cars' !

tracktype= is really focused on [cars, suv, 4x4, trucks] but useful info
for bike or walkers. 

I sort of think 'smoothness=' is your best tag. Its descriptions are
excellent, as I have mentioned, I have issues about the word
"smoothness" and the assigned values. Sigh....

Now, you can be very very evil and consider rendering when tagging. Its
called "tagging for renderers", punishable by death but happens all the
time. I have never seen a map that shows smoothness=.  Some evil people
consider this fact when choosing which tag to use. 

Maybe, folks, we should take more notice of the smoothness= tag ?  If
promoted it could be whats needed ?


On Thu, 2014-03-20 at 22:26 +0100, vali wrote:
> Hi
> I tried to figure out how to tag these tracks "the right way" but
> after reading the wiki and this thread it seems the tracks discussed
> are almost like gravel roads or tracks in farmlands. Most tracks here
> are old (some of them centuries old), very twisty and the maintenance
> is almost none.
> I have some pics to show what I am talking about:
> http://oi59.tinypic.com/33fala8.jpg
> http://oi60.tinypic.com/1zmmrlt.jpg
> These should be trackytpe 2 or maybe 1. The first pic is not great,
> but the track is carved in the stone. The second one is just a track
> over a stone bed. Stones will not move under a heavy vehicle nor be
> eroded by rain. Surface tag should be surface=rock (wich is missing in
> the wiki)
> http://oi58.tinypic.com/t7iiht.jpg
> http://oi61.tinypic.com/6ozcdw.jpg
> These are different from the two before because the rocks are smaller
> and can get loose. Rock size can be from fist-size to a meter.
> tracktype? surface?
> http://oi59.tinypic.com/4htmag.jpg
> http://oi62.tinypic.com/11v5z13.jpg
> This kind of track is often found in places with long-time
> settlements, are centuries old and were made by bullock carts. They
> tend to be very narrow and twisted. The surface on some of them is
> smooth (not the one in the pic) and could be made from earth, rocks or
> a varied mixture of both but I didn't see any of them with just
> gravel. 4x4 can't get there: they are too wide and, most important,
> their turning radius is too big. The only suitable motor vehicles
> there are small tractors or motorbikes.
> Because of rural depopulation this kind of tracks are becoming paths
> as the borders start to decay into the track in some areas.
> Tracktype? surface is earth most of the time.
> http://oi60.tinypic.com/15zgldc.jpg
> This one is very typical too. The surface is compacted earth. Is hard
> and smooth enough to use a normal car there if we only take in account
> the surface. Tracktype 2 o 3 maybe?
> Which I try to say here is there should be a way to tag the
> "drivability" of the track itself to answer: which kind of vehicle can
> use this kind of track?. Describing the surface alone is not enough
> sometimes.
> Bear with me since I am new to OSM in general and even more in the
> list, but I am very insterested in this topic in particular since the
> things I plan to map are mostly hiking routes and a lot of the time
> tracks are widely used.
> 2014-03-20 18:44 GMT+01:00 Kytömaa Lauri <lauri.kytomaa at aalto.fi>:
>         David Bannon wrote:
>         >"Should I use this road or not ?"
>         > tracktype= does claim to use that approach
>         It's a shame that we, the community, don't excel at
>         documenting. The part about "how well maintained"
>         on the Key:tracktype page was added later after
>         the values. There is a connection, but tracktype
>         wasn't meant to be about "usable or not", but about
>         the most influential attribute of the road construction
>         (or lack of, among the easily observable attributes),
>         of all the attributes that are involved in shaping the
>         conditions road users see on any ways not up to
>         the highway standards of the present day.
>         So it's a description of a scale from "hard materials only"
>         to "soft materials only". The connection to "maintained"
>         is variable and complex, but usually the grade is also a
>         good approximation of the maintenance, but there can
>         be, and there are, exceptions. One does not usually(?)
>         maintain a road made of soft sand only, but a track on
>         exposed solid rock is "hard materials only" even if nobody
>         ever raised a finger to "build" the way.
>         A user can deduce expectations from the combination
>         of surface=*, tracktype=*, their vehicle, season, and
>         local weather - and in some cases, even smoothness=*
>         if the rocks, roots and potholes prevent some users.
>         There can not be anything beyond "soft materials only",
>         that's quicksand. If many mappers have actively used
>         the tag to describe their assessment of "should i use or
>         not", the meaning of the tag has diverged from the
>         use in other regions, and we'll never know which one
>         was meant. (Luckily, there's seldom any major difference
>         - it's probably be the rare extreme cases that can be in
>         disagreement.)
>         If mappers want to tag a subjective "should i use it",
>         it should be some other tag if the hard/soft materials
>         scale doesn't suit them. But for which road user?
>         --
>         Alv
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