[Tagging] Reviving the path discussion - the increasing, importance of trails in OSM

Andy Townsend ajt1047 at gmail.com
Tue Jun 2 13:14:40 UTC 2020

On 02/06/2020 13:48, Volker Schmidt wrote:
> On Tue, 2 Jun 2020 at 09:04, Daniel Westergren <westis at gmail.com 
> <mailto:westis at gmail.com>> wrote:
>         I think the reason that this is so messed up because of the
>         desire to tag according to function.   A trail/path can have
>         many users/functions, but it's still a dirt path.
>     Right. But is there another way? Can we tag dirt paths/wilderness
>     paths/forest paths/mountain paths with another main tag?
> No you cannot inroduce another main tag, because of the existing stock 
> of "path" 8.7 million and "track".(18.7 million). This would only add 
> additional confusion with mappers and an enormous burden on renderers 
> and routers
>     Can we somehow "enforce" additional tags for physical
>     characteristics that will tell what this path|footway|cycleway
>     actually looks like?
> We have no way to "enforce" anything in OSM. But, as we do have the 
> necessary tags (maybe to many different ones, but they all are in 
> use.and we need to reamin backaward compatible in view of the 
> enourmous numbers). What we can do and need to do is to improve the 
> description of the various existing tagging options in the wiki 
> (without touching their definition)

To be honest, I'd expect that most OSM contributors (new and old) don't 
look at the wiki at all.  If you want to influence how people tag 
things, it'd be more effective to try and ensure that editor presets in 
the commonly-used editors match whatever the community consensus is 
(although after 116 messages about this last month on the tagging list, 
I'm not sure that there is a consensus about even what the problem is).

Best Regards,


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