[Tagging] 'Unknown' value.

Kevin Kenny kevin.b.kenny+osm at gmail.com
Mon Feb 5 22:36:48 UTC 2018

On Mon, Feb 5, 2018 at 4:28 PM, Andy Townsend <ajt1047 at gmail.com> wrote:
> I use fixmes a lot (I even wrote something to extract them from OSM for
> survey - https://github.com/SomeoneElseOSM/Notes01 ).  Where I've used e.g.
> foot=unknown it usually means "I've been there, I don't know what the access
> rights are, and there's really nothing that I can suggest surveying to find
> out what they are".

'access=unknown' (and the corresponding tags for transportation modes)
really seem to be a special case and have been called out on the Wiki.
I have at least contemplated using it for similar reasons to Andy's.
(I'd actually have to check to see if I've done it.)

An example in my area is the snowmobile trails. The numbered corridor
and secondary routes, I know, are open to all snowmobilists who have
paid the tax. These trails, in summer, are often at least physically usable
as hiking and ATV trails. Whether they're lawful depends on the
landowner - the snowmobile easement (for which the landowner is paid)
doesn't necessarily extend to hiking, mountain biking or ATV riding.
I know that blazed trails that appear in a guidebook have at least
permission, if not an easement, negotiated by the hiking clubs, and
that posted ones are off limits. But there are a lot of landowners who
don't trouble to post. Since, if they haven't posted, all they really
can do if they catch me trespassing is ask me to leave, I feel
comfortable hiking many of these trails, but I'm not about to mark them
"foot=yes" or "foot=permissive" without stronger evidence, and unless
I happen to encounter one of the owners, I really have little way to
acquire the information.

(Even stranger are the cases where there are public
rights-of-way across posted lands that the landowners would prefer
to have forgotten. They're 'foot=designated' when the clubs encourage
hikers to ignore the posted warnings and use the old carriage
roads openly and notoriously, since in many cases they are and
remain public highways.)

Few areas are as messy as mine, though.

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