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

John Willis johnw at mac.com
Fri Aug 7 00:07:47 UTC 2015

I know its long, but hear me out. 

Im not as good as the other poster...

> On Aug 7, 2015, at 1:59 AM, Martin Koppenhoefer <dieterdreist at gmail.com> wrote:
> Now the actual physical appearance will vary a lot between primaries according to the context, true,

This is what we are referencing - some ways follow legal designations, and some are determined by access/usage, and some are determined by built conditions, or a mixture of the three. 

The difference between a cycleway, a footway, and a trail can be access rules, but mostly its *the built condition of the way* and that *will* vary from a 1st world to 3rd would country - and from continent to continent. 

Tagging implies the built condition - and assumptions made from that tagging affect rendering - which therefore affects routing decisions or user choice of ways. 

And representing the "duckiness" of the way is extremely important in the top key : is it a trail through the forest (where you could walk or bike), a narrow sidewalk covered with poles and driveway entrances (but can still legally bike on as you go to the market) or a nice cycleway along the river (that you can also walk on as you go from village to village)? Is the only difference surface, width, and legality? *Absolutely not!* 

Putting path, then the access tags, then the width and surface tags to try to capture the "duckiness" that is easily described in =cycleway =footway and =trail (or currently =path in Japan) immediately tells me what i can expect - not the legal access - but the expected way build quality (even though it my vary from country to country).

That is what I want to capture: the "duckiness" in the non-foot ways in a single tag - what we currently already do for car-ways with the residential-trunk road tag set. 

Some people say that there is too much variance in non-car ways - and I think that is wrong. Given a proper set of values for highway=*, we don't have to throw everything in one big unorganized bag (=path) and sort it out later with access, width, and surface - those are merely attributes of the top level item we are tagging - *not* the definition of the value! We are so close with the foot/cycle/bridle/track/via_ferrata tag values.  

Access tells me the legality of usage. access=designated tells me it is legally designated for that type of traffic. It does *nothing* to tell me what is the "duckiness" of the way. People conflate =path + bicycle=designated as being the same as =cycleway. It is not when everything else is also thrown into =path. 

In places where almost every footway is for bicycle and foot, and horses are non-existent (they are more concerned about motor_scooter=no [or whatever scooter access is]), trying to show its usage with surface (all are paved in urban settings), width (footway can vary greatly in just 100m, so no help there) - the duckiness has to be found in the top tag - as it is for road values - which =path is *useless* for. 


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