[Tagging] highway=footway - Advanced definition: Distinction footway vs path

geow ksgeo at web.de
Thu Aug 6 20:35:56 UTC 2015

dieterdreist wrote
> While duck tagging works very good within the same culture and region, it
> bears at the same time the risk that mappers in different regions have
> different assumptions of what is implied by certain words. 


On first sight, descriptive keys like footway or cycleway seem to give a
clear indication of the type of a path. Actually that’s only true, if you
provide - in addition to the highway tag - other decent attributes, like
surface, width, smoothness, incline etc. So either way an equal number of
tags are usually required to describe a way equally.

The main reason why I propose to change 

„…used mainly or exclusively by pedestrians“ to

"highway=footway is used for pathways designated for pedestrians.“

is, that on most of the planet (outside of the UK;) there are only few sign
posted or otherwise designated footpaths out of urban/residential or
otherwise popular/crowded areas. Rural and wilderness paths globally may be
used by all kinds of non 4-wheel traffic, including stock, mule, yaks,
motorcycles etc. and are rarely exclusively footways.

The actual usage of footway vs path in the UK is significantly different
from most of the rest of the world, partly because of national access
restrictions, partly because of  the "duck tagging" mapping tradition, which
is understandable and historically determined.

The proportion of path:footway 

globally is 1:1.4, 
in France it's 1:1, 
in Poland 1:3 and 
in UK 1:5! 

In the UK especially England and Wales a highway with
designation=public_footpath is mainly attributed as footway (even if it's
physically a track).


View this message in context: http://gis.19327.n5.nabble.com/highway-footway-Advanced-definition-Distinction-footway-vs-path-tp5851506p5851854.html
Sent from the Tagging mailing list archive at Nabble.com.

More information about the Tagging mailing list