[Tagging] Subject: Feature Proposal - RFC - highway=social_path

John Willis johnw at mac.com
Wed Jun 15 14:03:34 UTC 2016

> On Jun 15, 2016, at 9:56 PM, Robert Whittaker (OSM lists) <robert.whittaker+osm at gmail.com> wrote:
> if two paths have identical surface and width
> characteristics

The issue I have is that they do not have similar characteristics, yet get rendered the same. It's like if all tracks were rendered as residential roads. Sure, there are residential roads bordering on tracks, but easily confusing them would be a nightmare. 

If they did that in OSM, a user would delete any App based on OSM in 3 minutes in Japan. Being tricked by a map into thinking you have a real "city road" to drive on  but are instead directed to a muddy 1.2m wide hole through the bamboo or some double-track along the top of a berm in a farming field would possibly get me stuck in the mud for hours. 
The exact same thing is true for "foot path" and "trail" - the assumed usage for a sidewalk and a "trail" are so different! 


Long story ahead, not vitally important. 

Speaking only through my experience, "trails", paved city walkways, and rural tracks are very different. The hundred or so old paper maps I have used - all old park maps and trail guides from many sources - all these maps reliably and consistently separate such types of routes. Ones that don't are less useful and are forgotten. OSM can easily show this information because it can show the nuanced detail (3 grades of roads in GoogleMaps vs a lot in OSM-carto). 

My ex girlfriend in a wheelchair made me look upon our sidewalk system in the US differently. Having a mother with numb toes from chemotherapy means any balancing out on uneven surfaces is dangerous. Coming to Japan and seeing a much larger - and much more drastic (and dangerous) separation between (boggy) trails and concrete walkways through a garden - and their insane incompleteness and carelessness in their creation and maintenance of regular footways means carefully mapping where sidewalks disappear abruptly into a wall and force people into narrow shoulders on trunk roads. all of this requires attention and consideration greater than the rendering the -carto is rendering now *if your goal is to navigate via looking at a rendered map, which o still want to do. 

It is weird to say, but some places can be defined with less tag values. I tell All my Japanese friends that everything in America  can have a "wide variance" - safety, food, cities, poverty, neighborhoods, etc compared to Japanese ones - but Japan has a wider variety of physical conditions mixed all together in very close proximity - roads drastically narrow, infrastructure piled on top of each other, land uses radically changing every 25 meters, it is a crazy complicated place. I know there are other places in the world probably even more complicated - but being able to define those differences through tagging (and rendering) seems to be a way to make a batter map. Local data providers already provide such detail because it is what has to be shown to let you properly imagine the conditions that exist. 

All of these things maybe can be replicated by combinations of tags about width and surface and wheelchair=* - but there is something so profoundly easy and understandable buy saying "this here is a city walkway" and "this here is a rough path" - they both imply so much. 

I understand that that must vary by country - but so does every country's implementation of "what is a primary road" - but that has not given rise to lumping all =trunk through =track  roads into the same group. 


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