[Tagging] Current status of the key smoothness=*

Jan van Bekkum jan.vanbekkum at gmail.com
Thu Mar 12 11:17:48 UTC 2015

There are two fundamental approaches to this and I believe that in this
discussion the two are mixed:

   1. The physical status of the road is described as well as possible and
   it is left to the receiver of this information to judge if he/she can use
   the road. This is quite complex as many parameter play a role: on gravel
   and rock roads smoothness is important, on sand roads how soft the sand is,
   for fords how deep the water is, but also the bottom structure etc.
   Furthermore it is season dependent: a road may be perfectly OK in the dry
   season and hardly passable in the rainy season
   2. The tagger determines how hard it will be to use the road,
   irrespective of the reasons why it is hard or easy: there can be different
   reasons why a road is horrible. This approach requires a distinction
   between different types of vehicles: I have driven the Turkana route in
   north Kenya in a small convoy with motorcycles and 4WD cars. Some parts of
   the road had boulders as big as children's heads and were relatively easy
   for the 4WD's, but very hard for the motorcycles. However, crossing a small
   stream with a very steep decline/incline was relatively easy for the
   motorcycles and very hard for the cars.

I would favour the second approach as the judgement is made by someone who
was there and has seen it; I admit this is subjective. The approach does
require an attribute describing the road per type of vehicle, and sometimes
also per season. I share the opinion that grading in words is better than
in numbers: in case of hotels 5 stars is the best, for the tracks grade 5
is the worst. So in its most extensive form you would get something like

On Thu, Mar 12, 2015 at 11:36 AM Martin Koppenhoefer <dieterdreist at gmail.com>

> 2015-03-12 11:21 GMT+01:00 Martin Vonwald <imagic.osm at gmail.com>:
>> Is grade1 now excellent or horrible?
>> No, numeric values are not a good choice - really not. I also don't like
>> the values much, but at least it's clear that "good" is better than "bad".
> it really doesn't help you a lot to know whether "good" is better than
> "bad", you have to know if "good" or "bad" are sufficient for your current
> means of transport.
> I'd use grade1 etc. because this is an established scale from tracktype,
> and should be understandable therefor. To use these values you'll have to
> look them up, and this can be seen as an advantage: unlike "good" or "bad"
> (which do have precise meaning according to the wiki, but are often used by
> the expectation the user has of their meaning) it will improve consistency
> (hopefully).
> cheers,
> Martin
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