[Tagging] surface=gravel problems

brad bradhaack at fastmail.com
Sat Apr 17 17:51:59 UTC 2021


I'm also one of those who has tagged many gravel roads as gravel.
The description on the wiki there now seems good to me:
"This tag has very large meaning range. Used for cases ranging from huge 
gravel pieces like track ballast used as surface, through small pieces 
of gravel to compacted surface."
I didn't see that it was changed recently?
It sounds like the tag is used consistently with the way most people 
think of a gravel road.   It sounds like this is true not just in my 
area, but worldwide?


On 4/16/21 1:44 AM, Mateusz Konieczny via Tagging wrote:
> The problem is that basically all surface=gravel mismatched supposed 
> definition.
>
> So pretending that surface=gravel is anything else except "any kind of 
> gravel, small
> or large" would be pointless.
>
> I would rather invent new values less likely to be misinterpreted
>
> Something like
> surface=track_ballast (?) / surface=huge_gravel (?) / surface=ballast 
> / surface=rubble (???)
> for 
> https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/File:%C5%A0t%C4%9Brkov%C3%A1_cesta_u_Pl%C3%A1%C5%A1t%C3%ADku.jpg 
> <https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/File:%C5%A0t%C4%9Brkov%C3%A1_cesta_u_Pl%C3%A1%C5%A1t%C3%ADku.jpg>
>
> And surface=small_gravel or something else for
> https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/File:Gravel_road,_car_in_viewfield_for_scale.jpg 
> <https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/File:Gravel_road,_car_in_viewfield_for_scale.jpg>
>
> And rersurvey, with retagging to more precise values (surface=gravel 
> is still useful,
> as surface=unpaved may be also for example surface=sand)
>
> Apr 16, 2021, 08:41 by voschix at gmail.com:
>
>     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".
>
>     Il Gio 15 Apr 2021, 10:00 Mateusz Konieczny via Tagging
>     <tagging at openstreetmap.org <mailto:tagging at openstreetmap.org>> ha
>     scritto:
>
>         For long time this tag was described at Key:surface page as
>         "Broken/crushed rock with sharp edges, known as ballast on
>         railways. Usually loosely arranged.
>         Typical size for road and surface construction range between 4
>         and 8 cm".
>
>         ( https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:surface
>         <https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:surface> )
>
>
>         But it turns out that surface=gravel is primarily used for
>         roads where far smaller
>         pieces of rocks are used.
>
>         ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
>         It is result of
>         - "gravel roads" term is often used in many countries for
>         something where far smaller pieces
>           of rock are used, some of such roads would qualify for
>         surface=compacted.
>           See https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/File:Gravelsign2.jpg
>         <https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/File:Gravelsign2.jpg>
>         - "gravel" and equivalent terms in other languages is often
>         used by people to refer to pieces
>           of rock far smaller than 4cm
>         - there was not good tag for roads with surface of small loose
>         gravel
>           (surface=fine_gravel at
>         https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:surface
>         <https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:surface> has
>           "A multilayer pavement with a stone or gravel basis and a
>         topmost surface of firm, granular grit,
>           basalt or quartz," what anyway excluded cases of some gravel
>         thrown on earth/mud/drt )
>         - surfaces matching old Wiki definitions are existing but
>         really rare
>         https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/File:%C5%A0t%C4%9Brkov%C3%A1_cesta_u_Pl%C3%A1%C5%A1t%C3%ADku.jpg
>         <https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/File:%C5%A0t%C4%9Brkov%C3%A1_cesta_u_Pl%C3%A1%C5%A1t%C3%ADku.jpg>
>
>         ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
>         How one may know that Wiki definition mismatches actual use?
>
>         assumption:
>         Surfacing roads/paths/etc with track ballast-sized pieces of
>         gravel is extremely rare
>         (though it happens)
>
>         but in actual use surface=gravel is extremely common, far more
>         common that
>         old Wiki definition.
>
>         So actual use clearly mismatches wiki definition.
>         In addition, many people using surface=gravel were unaware of
>         this definition and unaware
>         that such surfaces described in Wiki actually exist!
>
>         See
>         https://lists.openstreetmap.org/pipermail/talk-au/2021-March/014445.html
>         <https://lists.openstreetmap.org/pipermail/talk-au/2021-March/014445.html>
>
>
>         ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
>         So:
>
>         It turns out that surface=gravel is for anything from
>         "basically compacted" to
>         "basically track ballast".
>
>         I recommend checking
>         https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:surface
>         <https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:surface> in your language
>         and updating definition to match actual tag use.
>
>         It would be nice to find some good tagging for surfaces like
>         https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/File:%C5%A0t%C4%9Brkov%C3%A1_cesta_u_Pl%C3%A1%C5%A1t%C3%ADku.jpg
>         <https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/File:%C5%A0t%C4%9Brkov%C3%A1_cesta_u_Pl%C3%A1%C5%A1t%C3%ADku.jpg>
>
>         surface=track_ballast? surface=huge_gravel? surface=ballast?
>
>         It would be also nice to find some more specific values for
>         cases of small gravel thrown on mud/dirt/grass - as surface=gravel
>         turns out to be very unspecific ability to tag this in detail
>         would be great
>         (useful especially for cyclists)
>
>         surface=small_gravel? Something else?
>
>         ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
>         PS AAAARAGAGAHHA. Tag used over 1.5 million times had actual
>         use and OSM Wiki
>         definition completely and utterly mismatched.
>
>         And we need new tags and resurvey of 1 500 000 elements to
>         have useful information about surface.
>
>         Right now surface=gravel may be both
>         https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/File:%C5%A0t%C4%9Brkov%C3%A1_cesta_u_Pl%C3%A1%C5%A1t%C3%ADku.jpg
>         <https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/File:%C5%A0t%C4%9Brkov%C3%A1_cesta_u_Pl%C3%A1%C5%A1t%C3%ADku.jpg>
>         and
>         https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/File:Gravelsign2.jpg
>         <https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/File:Gravelsign2.jpg>
>         that for many purposes are worth distinguishing.
>
>
>         Arghhh.
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>
>
>
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