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

Ilpo Järvinen ilpo.jarvinen at helsinki.fi
Fri Aug 28 21:02:51 UTC 2015

On Fri, 28 Aug 2015, Warin wrote:

> On 28/08/2015 9:47 AM, Martin Koppenhoefer wrote:
> >
> > My suggestion is to not assume any access defaults but rather 
> > explicitly tag everything, and surface as well. Everything you assume 
> > will be questioned and taken from you in a few years ;-) what is there 
> > explicitly will likely remain...
> Unless highway=trail can be made exclusive of any other tag (including their
> sub tags) then it will only add to confusion and abuse of its use.
> As 'footway' can be sub tagged to any thing I can conceive of at a 'trail' I
> see little hope of this occurring.

For those who would want to have a separate tag for 'trails', it's 
exclusive but obviously those who would want to tag everything with 
highway=path+subtags will disagree :-).

I see there are three main sides in this, those who would want...

  1. ...highway=path == highway=footway
  2. ...highway=path only
  3. ...to have additional highway=trail (or similar value) that is 
     distinct from path/footway

For those in group 1 adding =trail shouldn't matter very much, it's just 
another value and as they usually talk about "using the other tags", the 
actual value of highway=* shouldn't even matter that much to them 
(unless they would want to do some defaults but most of people who 
advocate for this seem to also dislike defaults).

I suspect that for those in the group 3. it would be agreeable that 
highway=path == highway=footway if a real trail/path highway value
exists. So instead of "confusion and abuse", I see that a bit more
convincing consensus might be possible with it than the current lack
of consensus.

The only real downside from introducing highway=trail for real that
I can think of is that (some) data users might need to support that
new value, some of the people in the group 2 might be affected (and 
perhaps in the group 1 too). But then they really need to care about
the highway=* value in the first place for it to be meaningful for
them! I know some people seem to unfortunately play with two cards
with this: on the other hard they say that subtags are the ones that 
matter but then they oppose hard adding a particular main tag value,
which makes no sense to me.


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