[Tagging] How to tag shared waterway highway

Tod Fitch tod at fitchdesign.com
Sat Dec 8 15:50:02 UTC 2018

> On Dec 8, 2018, at 2:31 AM, Joseph Eisenberg <joseph.eisenberg at gmail.com> wrote:
> I would recommend drawing a separate “way” for the highway. I imagine that the route taken by vehicles or people walking is a few meters off of the center of the waterway, and perhaps a little straighter. If you are coarsest tracing the waterway and road, then the two ways might share most of their nodes.

As soon as I got to your “I imagine that” I decided you’ve no experience in this and I should discount anything that follows.

In the desert southwest of the United States where I was raised they call the usually dry water courses a “wash”. And they are often used for vehicle travel when dry which is almost all of the time. In hilly or mountainous areas the width of the waterway is often no wider than most vehicles so there is no place “a few meters off the center of the waterway”. And my experience in walking/hiking along them is you are often in the middle of the most recent route of flood waters as the walking is easier there (less debris, etc.).

 I don’t like the OSM mapping options but what I’ve settled on is a single way tagged as:


Some of the washes have names. Some of the tracks have names. Sometimes they both have names and occasionally the two names differ. I haven’t a solution for that.

It would be nice if there was a way to tag the intermittent flow as ephemeral but that has been “bike shedded” to death here before. I know/hope that anyone local will have a pretty good idea about whether or not there is likely to be water in the drainage (a summer cloudburst locally or in the adjacent higher ground) and be smart enough not to enter it for the couple of hours that a water event is likely to last.


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