[Tagging] track smoothness/quality

Richard Fairhurst richard at systemed.net
Tue Jul 9 16:12:11 UTC 2019


brad wrote:
> I see tracktype as redundant with Surface, also very subjective, and 
> not useful.   Smoothness is very useful.

smoothness= is a horrible tag, please don't use it.

As a data consumer (for cycle.travel), I probably do more detailed parsing
of surface and related tags than any other consumer, and smoothness= is
almost always misleading and ambiguous. People use it to record their
arbitrary impressions of a path without any reference to an objective scale
whatsoever. There is no consensus as to whether the smoothness tags are
relative to the tagged/implicit surface or not: is it possible to have
smoothness=excellent for an excellently smooth gravel surface? What does
smoothness=good, highway=track actually mean? 

About the only circumstances in which it's useful are to record that a trail
is universally impassable. Otherwise it should die in a fire.

tracktype= isn't great but it has the advantage that it uses a clearly
arbitrary scale, so most people tag by reference to the photos on the wiki
rather than just because they think "this is horrible".

80% of the time surface= is all you need. We could do with more and better
documented values for it, especially for clarity around gravel. I could see
some virtue in another tag to be used _only_ when surface= is also present,
documenting how well the surface is maintained, so that you could
differentiate between (say) potholey, broken-up asphalt and immaculately
maintained asphalt.

Richard



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