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

Warin 61sundowner at gmail.com
Tue Jun 9 01:38:47 UTC 2020

On 8/6/20 10:57 pm, Volker Schmidt wrote:
> 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,

The point is they are no longer 'in our environment' .. they are gone, 
no longer here, vanished.

The one I am thinking of has visible things at one end and a few bits 
elsewhere, those I would leave on OSM as they 'exist'.

But to map it where there is nothing left.. to me that is deceptive. The 
other mapper has extended one of the things I left mapped so that an 
embankment runs over roads, through car-parks, a building and a playing 
field. That does not exist now, it may have decades ago ... but not 
today and not for quite a few years.

> 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.

Agreed - because they exist. I know there is an underground railway near 
me because I use it, it is not viable 'on the ground'. There is a 
drainage channel near me that I can see as entry and exit places .. its 
precise route I don't know so I use the est sources to estimate its 
route. I do my best to map things that exist. I don't think OSM is the 
place for things that no longer exist in any physical way.

> 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..

If there is something to see there .. then map that. I would not map a 
railway as a railway if all that can be seen is a board that has 
information about the old railway, I would map it as a tourist sign only 
- not a railway.

Similar for Roamn and Saxon sites, if there is something present today, 
map it... nothing there then nothing on OSM, put it in OHM.

> 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 
> <mailto: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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