[Tagging] [OSM-talk] Should we map things that do not exist?

Volker Schmidt voschix at gmail.com
Mon Jun 8 12:57:29 UTC 2020

Warin, Jack,

your comments are really off my main point.
We have an unfinished mailing-list thread where we have different opinions
on whether a razed (on the ground) railway can be mapped in OSM. In the
middle of that discussion the abandoned railway wiku page gets completely
rewritten by one of the participants in the thread explicitly stating that
razed railways should be *removed* from OSM.
This is basically against good practice in OSM.
In addition the statement that where roads trace razed/dismantled railways,
the reference to the fact that they do, should be removed is clearly wrong.
Worldwide there are many thousands of km of roads and cycle routes that
retrace exactly former railway lines . what is wrong with adding
railway=dismantled (orrazed)  to the ways that make up the road or the
cycle route.

Railway installations are major sites present in our environment, and there
is no good reason to remove them from the map, whether they are actively
used or only indirectly "visible".
Just two other observations to put this in context:
We have plenty of underground water courses, oil or gas pipelines where
only few objects on the surface indicate their underground existence -
no-one would object to having them in the map data, including the
underground parts.
Another completely different indication that old stuff could be of interest
to tourists: when I moved to the UK from continental Europe in 1978 I was
positively surprised to see, on the standard OS maps for hikers, references
to Roamn and Saxon sites galore, tyipiclley in the form of "site of ..."
and of many country paths and tracks labeled with their Roman or Saxon
names, even though the present-day structure is much younger - they only
retrace the Roman way like the present-day street in the first example on
the wiki page retraces a former railway..

BTW I am not saying that OSM map data are incomplete without mapping old
raylways, I am only asking to not remove those that are mapped, and to not
write in the wiki that they should be removed.
BTW 2: wiki pages in general should not invite mappers to remove already
mapped objects, but only correct mapping errors.

On Sat, 6 Jun 2020 at 05:03, Warin <61sundowner at gmail.com> wrote:

> On 6/6/20 8:02 am, Volker Schmidt wrote:
> > I need to reopen this thread.
> >
> >  I do object strongly to the invitation to remove the
> > razed/dismantled-railway tag in the case of railway tracks have been
> > replaced by roads with the same geometry. To the contrary this is one
> > of the more fortunate cases where the original route has been
> > conserved, and it is easy to travel along a historical railroad.
> > I admit that I have a faible for industrial archeology (like former
> > railways, watermills, old canals) but they do have touristic value and
> > for that reason should be in OSM.
> As a general tourist I would have no interest in traveling along a
> railway route here nothing remains of the railway.
> If something remains then map the remains, not the bits that no longer
> exist.
> Where an old railway route passes through private residential houses,
> commercial buildings, car parking area .. I don't think that should be
> in OSM yet people map it...
> A historian/archeologist may have interest in documenting the old
> railway route and facilities, they can and should use OHM.
> .
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