[Tagging] hiking and foot route relations - is there any consistent difference?

Jo winfixit at gmail.com
Sat Jan 11 14:06:56 UTC 2020

If I remember well, there is also route=walking...

You are right that it doesn't make very much sense to make the distinction.
But now to get all mappers to choose for either hiking or foot will prove
to be an impossible task. As usual it will be status quo that wins, like
you saw in the result of the previous discussion about this.

Anyway, I wish you the best of luck with this, you'll obviously need it to
get anything to change.


On Sat, Jan 11, 2020 at 2:59 PM Joseph Eisenberg <joseph.eisenberg at gmail.com>

> Back in August there was a thread titled "Merging tagging scheme on
> wiki pages of Hiking, route=hiking, route=foot and Walking routes"
> which led to a new template
> https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Template:Tagging_scheme_for_hiking_and_foot_route_relations
> - used on route=hiking and route=foot pages.
> However, I'm disappointed that the text ended up claiming this:
> "route=foot is used for routes which are walkable without any
> limitations regarding fitness, equipment or weather conditions. As a
> guideline, you could say that walking shoes (at a pinch, even
> flip-flops) are adequate for this type of walking trail."
> This is all quite subjective. Folks here in Indonesia climb 3500 meter
> mountain passes in flip-flops.
> "route=hiking is used for routes that rather match Wikipedia's
> definition: "A long, vigorous walk, usually on trails, in the
> countryside"). As a guideline, you could say that a hiking trail needs
> hiking boots because you will encounter sharp rocks and/or heavy
> undergrowth and/or muddy terrain and/or have to wade through shallow
> streams."
> Again, very Western / European perspective to mention "needs hiking boots".
> I asked about this on the wiki talk page, and Brian de Ford said:
> "Google walking versus hiking and you will get many results agreeing
> that there is a distinction. No two of them entirely agree on what the
> differences are, but there is core agreement that hiking is more
> vigorous than walking. One insists that there must be a change in
> elevation (just about every road and sidewalk around here involves
> changes in elevation, so by that definition I hike to the shops).
> Several agree that equipment required makes a difference (style of
> footwear and need for a cane/stick). Many say that the nature of the
> surface makes the difference. Others say it's the terrain. There's a
> difference, but it may be hard to agree on definitions for OSM. BTW,
> parts of the UK also have "hillwalking" (which appears to be hiking
> where hills are involved) and rambling (essentially unmappable because
> there is no route)."
> It sounds like there is no verifiable difference between route=foot
> and route=hiking, so database users should not expect these tags to be
> used in a consistent way. Each mapper has there own idea of what they
> mean.
> - Joseph Eisenberg
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