[Tagging] path vs footway

Warin 61sundowner at gmail.com
Tue Nov 4 03:17:31 UTC 2014

On 4/11/2014 10:30 AM, tagging-request at openstreetmap.org wrote:
> Message: 6
> Date: Tue, 04 Nov 2014 08:14:11 +0900
> From: johnw <johnw at mac.com>
> To: "Tag discussion, strategy and related tools"
> 	<tagging at openstreetmap.org>
> Subject: Re: [Tagging] path vs footway
> Message-ID: <49514F61-BDF8-4B1B-84E8-0003DB60F284 at mac.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=utf-8
> AFIK - footway and path are more toward the width, surface, smoothness, maintenance level, and expected use of the way. a sidewalk often gets tagged as footpath, as would be a concrete walkway in a garden.
> Paths are usually less maintained, less even, narrower, and lower grade surfaces.
> footpath doesn’t imply horses=no, it implies cars=no.
> to me path implies wheelchair=no.
> if they are wide, well maintained, somewhat smooth and hard, and easily passible, then they are footpaths.
> if it is a track for emergency access vehicles that is usually open for hiking, horses, and bikes, then label it is a track instead, cars=emergency or whatever that exact tag is.
> horses can fit on pathways and paths (and pedestrian, for that matter)  - I don’t think the trails you are talking about are exclusive horse paths (a bridleway) so it would just have access for horses added to the path, like bicycle access on a footway vs a Cycleway where the intended purpose is bicycle access.
> Javbw

I'm afraid the difference between footway and path are not well 
definded, overlap and can be tagged to be excatly the same. Thus your 
and my confusion! I take the view that footway generally is paved + 
urban, paths are generally unpaved + nonurban. If there is firm 
documented differences then they should be made evident by the reduction 
in avalible tags for each. For the moment at least you can chose what 
ever you like ... preferably the same as used near the area your are 
working on. I have seen both tags used on similar features in the same 
park by two different contributors, leading to confusion. So try to keep 
it the same. Good Luck.

Bicycle access on a footway I depreciate as the rendering is the same, 
making the bicycle access tag useless. Thus I use highway=cycleway with 
pedestrian=yes as that alerts users to the bicyle aspect.

I'm not aware of the rendering of bridal trails. But possibly these too 
could benifit from the same teartment.

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