[Tagging] Help explain the difference between path and track

Tod Fitch tod at fitchfamily.org
Wed Jun 10 19:45:58 UTC 2020

> On Jun 10, 2020, at 12:19 PM, Mateusz Konieczny via Tagging <tagging at openstreetmap.org> wrote:
> Jun 10, 2020, 19:40 by tod at fitchfamily.org <mailto:tod at fitchfamily.org>:
>> On Jun 10, 2020, at 12:31 AM, Volker Schmidt <voschix at gmail.com <mailto:voschix at gmail.com>> wrote:
>> Two points to get this thread back on track:
>> 1) The highway=track tag has always been wider than agriculture and forestry. There is an often overlooked "etc." in the description on the wiki, and it has been there from the very first version of 26 May 2008. (see also Duck_tagging <https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Duck_tagging>)
>> 2) "In my rendering of hiking maps I currently have to look at 13 tags and their values to make a decision ..."
>> "I think we need some more values for the highway tag..."
>> These two statements together (made in the same message in this thread)  highlight the basic problem of this and other discussions:
>> If we need to look at X tags and values now, adding new values only makes the list longer - there's no way around this.
> My hope would be that addition of more highway=* values that better match what people are trying to map would be a short term pain (data consumers need to add one more check) but long term benefit.
> For example, as mappers discover they can map a voie verte in France or a “Rails to Trails” in the USA as highway=greenway and not as arbitrary choice of track, path, cycleway or bridle path differentiated by a bunch of foot=designated, bicycle=designated, etc. tags they are likely to migrate to the simpler tagging. At some time in the future data consumers could begin to be more restrictive on their logic.
> While not categorically opposed - it would need a solid proposal. highway=via_ferrata seems one
> that is most viable
> and highway=greenway seems to not be a real improvement and its meaning is utterly unclear for me

“Greenway” [1] was a term unknown to me too until I started reading a bit about voie verte [2] in France. I probably would have considered them to be “rail trails” [3] prior to reading about them.

But I am not wedded to a particular set of words for new highway values, just that we should consider the possibility of them and maybe have a discussion on what highway=* features seem to be hard for mappers to tag consistently. There are no via ferrata paths that I am aware of in my immediate area, but reading wikipedia about them I can see where that could be hard to map using our current tagging so that could certainly be one of the new highway values.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenway_(landscape)
[2] https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voie_verte
[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rail_trail

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