[Tagging] New key proposal - paved=yes/no

Tomasz Kaźmierczak tomek-k at wp.eu
Sat Sep 20 21:42:03 UTC 2014

Hello all,
I've posted the below message on the forum[1],  and have been directed from there to this mailing list, thus re-posting it.
I would like to suggest making the *paved* key for highways (and probably other types of elements) official. Taginfo for *paved*:

The above shows that the key is already being used, but the Wiki doesn't describe this key, instead redirecting Key:paved to the article about Key:surface.
Currently, the *surface* key is being used as a way of saying that a given *highway* is paved or unpaved, but often the value for the *surface* key is not a generic /paved/ or /unpaved/, but a specific surface type is given.This is of course very useful for describing the particular surface type a given highway has. However, in some cases, a simple information on just whether a highway is paved or not, would be very useful. One such case would be navigation software – if a user chooses to avoid unpaved roads, the software can check the value of the *surface* key, but in practice most (all?) of the navigation software only checks for a subset of all the possible values the *surface* key can have. This leads to incorrect (in terms of what the user expects) navigation when, for example, the *surface* is set to some value that describes an unpaved road, not recognized by the navigation software – if the software assumes that all *highway*s are paved, unless explicitly stated otherwise (by recognized values of known keys), then, in consequence, it assumes that the road in question is paved.
If the *paved* key was widely used, then the navigation software would have a simple and clear way of checking whether a given road is paved or not. The default value of the *paved* key for *highway*s could be /yes/, so that it would be consistent with the assumption that *highway*s in general are paved.
I don't mean that we should stop using the /paved/ and /unpaved/ values for the *surface* key – I'm sure those generic values are useful in some cases. However, using the *paved* key would be also very useful. Also, the *surface*=/paved/ could also implicate *paved*=/yes/ and similarly *surface*=/unpaved/ could implicate *paved*=/no/, so that duplication of the information could be avoided when the generic /paved/ and /unpaved/ values are set for the *surface* key.
I believe that adding an article for the *paved* key to the Wiki would encourage people to use this tag, and navigation software makers to implement support for it in their applications.
What do you think about that? 


[1] http://forum.openstreetmap.org/viewtopic.php?pid=451593
[2] http://taginfo.openstreetmap.org/keys/paved#values
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