[Tagging] surface=gravel problems

Adam Franco adamfranco at gmail.com
Fri Apr 16 21:15:00 UTC 2021

On Fri, Apr 16, 2021 at 2:46 AM Volker Schmidt <voschix at gmail.com> wrote:

> I acknowledge there is a problem. I started out putting "gravel" on many
> maintained unpaved roads, only to look up the wiki some years later. I know
> use "fine_gravel" (taginfo 170k uses), which broadly corrisponds to the
> "gravel" of "gravel bikes".
> So, yes,  most of my "gravel" roads are really "fine_gravel", but I have
> no idea how widespread it is, and also how much it depends of the mapper's
> mother tongue.
> I would not redefine the value "gravel", rather put a warning on the page,
> pointing out that we have this wide spread confusion, and invite mappers to
> consider "fine_gravel".

I did the same thing -- tagged *many* roads with surface=gravel early on
and since then have been using surface=compacted for graded and shaped
roads made of fine gravel, surface=fine_gravel for roads where the fine
gravel was just dumped and and spread around without a lot of roadbed
preparation (many driveways and pedestrian walkways), and surface=unpaved
everywhere else.

*Some larger-gravel examples:*
Just last week I was exploring some agricultural tracks and encountered
some very large gravel that was quite challenging to ride on, not quite
13cm track ballast, but much bigger than most of the gravel used on roads,
maybe 5-7cm. (images
I tagged this way <https://www.openstreetmap.org/way/19677175> as
surface=gravel based on the wiki definition, but would like to characterize
it differently from the other roads also tagged surface=gravel that use
much finer stone.

I also recently surveyed this forest track
<https://www.openstreetmap.org/way/362871403> that has even larger stones,
a mixture from about 10cm-25cm. (images
I tagged this track as surface=gravel.

*Paths forward:*
I think surface=gravel alone has far too much mixed-usage to definitively
say anything other than the surface is made up of random stones that aren't
individually laid.

(A) More surface values: surface=fine_gravel could be augmented with
surface=medium_gravel and surface=large_gravel with guidelines suggesting
size ranges.

(B) Additional tags: Keep using surface=gravel as the general category and
supplement with gravel=fine, gravel=medium, or gravel=large or similar
tagging scheme with size guidelines. Maybe add compacted=yes/no where
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