[Tagging] Walking & Cycling Node Network tagging: undoing the hijacking of rcn and rwn

Richard Fairhurst richard at systemed.net
Wed Sep 4 16:42:57 UTC 2019

Peter Elderson wrote:
> The network values identify transport mode and scope of routes, and 
> these "dimensions" also apply to node networks. We do not want to 
> add another dimension (configuration type) to the network=*  
> values of routes.
> Instead, we are thnking about just adding a tag to identify segment 
> routes as parts of a node network. The nodes themselves do not need 
> this, since they ARE nodes and have a xxn_ref tag.
> In short, we are thinking to simply add the tag network_type=
> node_network (or network:type=node_network) to the node2node 
> network routes.

I have a strong interest in this proposal. :) [1]

If I understand you rightly, a route like
https://www.openstreetmap.org/relation/1844941 would get an extra
network_type=node_network tag. Nothing else would change. (Correct me if I'm

You say "we don't want to add another dimension" but you are effectively
doing that; you're just doing it by adding a new tag rather than adding a
value. That's not _necessarily_ a problem but it would be better done in an
extensible way that might be useful for other tagging scenarios, rather than
special-casing this one scenario.

We currently have the "network=ncn|rcn|lcn" tag which broadly identifies the
_importance_ of the route.

What we do not have is a tag to identify the _character_ and _purpose_ of
the route. All bicycle routes (except MTB) get lumped together as a generic
route=bicycle. This is increasingly a problem as routes are devised and
signposted for performance cycling, bikepacking, and so on. For example,
there are two new performance cycling routes in Wales which I'd like to map
(https://www.visitsnowdonia.info/ffordd-brailsford-way), but which would be
misleading if tagged in the same way as other NCN/RCN/LCN routes in Britain.

You're proposing a tag called "network_type", but it's a tag for the route,
and what you're using it to describe is the character and purpose of the
route. (The network is already mapped in the network super-relation.)

So I'd suggest that instead of network_type=, you add route_type= .

This would achieve the same purpose; be semantically more appropriate; and
be extensible to other routes where "route=bicycle" alone does not
adequately capture the character and purpose of the route.


[1] I believe cycle.travel is the only OSM-based router that includes nodes
in its turn-by-turn instructions, e.g.
https://cycle.travel/map?from=51.0623,2.8582&to=51.0913,2.8531 .
cycle.travel also has a few localised rules for rendering in the Netherlands
and Belgium to cope with the sheer density of the node network.

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