[Tagging] traffic_signals:direction=* vs. direction=*

Dave Swarthout daveswarthout at gmail.com
Tue Mar 21 10:46:26 UTC 2017

This is embarrassing but relevant to this conversation. I've been mapping
intensely for several years but adding stop signs was something I rarely
did. There's so much else that needs attention that I wasn't even following
this thread. Then today I was using Osmose to correct errors in Alaska and
kept seeing this persistent error about missing direction tags on
highway=stop objects, the ones I added! After thinking about that for a
moment it finally dawned on me that, unless the stop is a 4-way stop,
the directionality and placement of the sign is important. Time to check
this thread, I thought, and immediately.

In hindsight, it's perfectly obvious when one considers routing engines
that any highway=stop node must affect traffic in both directions unless
made explicit in some fashion, or else ignored as OSMand seems to do. So
far, I've only added 45 highway=stop nodes in Alaska and 18 in Thailand.
I'll be revisiting them to add the appropriate direction tags in the not
too distant future.

As to an opinion about how to implement their tagging, I would tend to go
with the ones that resemble the directionality tags already in use for
lanes, i.e., lanes:forward=* and lanes:backward=* except that it's awfully
verbose. I automate much of my tagging with custom presets in JOSM so
adding complicated, long tags to them isn't difficult but asking casual
mappers to enter these very long tags like
"traffic_signals:direction=forward" is going to be problematical IMO.
Consequently, I would lean towards keeping it simple and
using direction:forward/backward to indicate directionality, at least for

There is also the other case where one uses the direction tag to indicate
the compass direction an adit or cave opening faces. I don't see a problem
with using direction=* for both situations because the values used in
either case are different, for example, S,N SSE, on the one hand and
forward, backward, on the other.



On Tue, Mar 21, 2017 at 3:31 PM, Jean-Marc Liotier <jm at liotier.org> wrote:

> On Mon, 20 Mar 2017 18:46:17 +0100
> LeTopographeFou <letopographefou at gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > I think that both stop, give way and traffic signals shall have a
> > consistent definition of direction and shall be consistent in which
> > key to encourage. As soon as direction=* is valid I would encourage
> > it as the primary method, would not deprecate the second one but
> > explain it is one way of avoiding ambiguities in some cases.
> I agree with that line of thinking: traffic_signals:direction=* is not
> harmful so, while consistent universal use of direction=* would be
> nice, there is no need to hurry anything or anyone.
> Anyone else with an opinion ? Two of us might be the very beginning of a
> consensus but we need a little more before even putting a proposal
> page up on the wiki...
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Dave Swarthout
Homer, Alaska
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Travel Blog at http://dswarthout.blogspot.com
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