[Tagging] Is it possible to have highway=unclassified with ref tag?

Tod Fitch tod at fitchdesign.com
Tue May 8 04:33:00 UTC 2018

Reminds me of an earlier career where I sometime had to deal with sensitive documents. All documents had to classified: “Top Secret”, “Secret”, “Confidential”, etc. But if a document did not require clearance to access it was classified as “unclassified”. Basically anything that was not classified as something else was classified as unclassified. Bureaucrats are wonderful at coming up with that type of thing.

I view the OSM/UK highway classification scheme the same way: “Unclassified” is a bucket to put things into that don’t meet the criteria for the other classifications. Perhaps it would have been better if they had used the word “other” but they didn’t. So just look up the code word “unclassified” in your OSM to American English code book and read out “other”. Not a motorway, trunk, primary, secondary, residential, service, track, etc.? Then it must be classified as “unclassified” (i.e. “other”).

> On May 7, 2018, at 5:19 PM, Greg Troxel <gdt at lexort.com> wrote:
> Dave Swarthout <daveswarthout at gmail.com> writes:
>> But when a highway has an officially assigned ref doesn't that define it as
>> "classified"? I don't have a large stake in this discussion but it would
> You would think.  But no.
> In the UK, there is a notion of A/B/C roads, and then unclassified.  I
> gather this means they are part of the network but not declared one of
> A/B/C.
> I was in Scotland (in the highlands just off Skye) in 2016, and saw a
> road that was U, and signed as UXXXX (a real number, but I don't
> remember it).  It was even more minor than the nearby C road.
>> seem to me that any road so ranked by the authorities should not be tagged
>> as unclassified.
> If you think of it as A/B/C/D where A is the most important
> (non-Interstate) roads and D the least, where D roads are just barely
> worthy of being numbered, but that we call D as U instead because that's
> what they do in the UK, I think you are not that far off.
> Around me, unclassified is typically used for roads that are somewhat
> more important than others, but not to the level of being numbered.

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