[Tagging] Problems in the English wiki page Highway=footway

nathan case nathancase at outlook.com
Mon Apr 19 14:10:52 UTC 2021


> what's the difference between foot=yes and foot-designated?  As https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:access
makes clear, "Access values describe legal permissions/restrictions".

Perhaps naively, my understanding was:

yes = default access by general law/convention, e.g., local authority "sidewalks".
designated = access given by a specific law.  

Afterall being "designated" means being "assigned" something in particular - in this case being assigned a special legal status.  So foot=designated works best for public footpaths in England and Wales, but perhaps there are examples elsewhere in the world.

My understanding matches up with the designated value Wiki page (https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Tag:access%3Ddesignated). However, in the table in the Wiki access page (https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:access), "yes" has seemingly swallowed up both meanings. 

My personal opinion is that highway=footway implies foot=yes, unless another access is explicitly stated (e.g. foot=permissive).

Cheers.

-----Original Message-----
From: Andy Townsend <ajt1047 at gmail.com> 
Sent: Monday, April 19, 2021 12:15 PM
To: tagging at openstreetmap.org
Subject: Re: [Tagging] Problems in the English wiki page Highway=footway


On 19/04/2021 11:09, Ture Pålsson via Tagging wrote:
>
>> 19 apr. 2021 kl. 11:47 skrev nathan case <nathancase at outlook.com>:
>>
>>> foot=designated on highway=footway is redundant (compare with the statement in the side box "implies foot=designated"
>> Just to note that in England and Wales, foot=designated has a very 
>> specific meaning. It is used for public rights of way which have an 
>> explicit legal provision for access (higher than simply foot=yes). 
>> See 
>> https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Access_provisions_in_the_United_K
>> ingdom#Public_Rights_of_Way
> But if highway=footway implies foot=designated (as the side box of the Wiki entry at https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Tag:highway%3Dfootway) currently states, then adding foot=designated is redundant by definition!
>
> At least one of the following statements must be wrong:
>
> 1. highway=footway implies foot=designated.
>
> 2. foot=designated is used in England and Wales to indicate a public right of way.
>
> 3. highway=footway can be used to map things in England and Wales which are not public rights of way.
>
> Which one is it?

I think that
https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Access_provisions_in_the_United_Kingdom#Public_Rights_of_Way
is at the very least misleading.

(as mentioned above it's not a UK-wide thing but instead applies to England and Wales)

It implies three tags on all "public footpaths".  Of those, "designation=public_footpath" I hope we can all agree on. 
https://taginfo.geofabrik.de/europe/great-britain/england/search?q=designation
suggests ~300k in England. 
https://taginfo.geofabrik.de/europe/great-britain/england/search?q=prow_ref
is great to have if you know it; ~150k in England.

"foot=designated" was used to indicate "this is a public footpath" prior to be widespread adoption of "designation=public_footpath".  I can think of plenty of rights of way across the countryside that are designated "public footpath" where "foot=designated" would be at very least misleading.  For example, a farm track might have an ancient legal right of foot access over it, or similarly a path over open moorland. Arguably that fits the "by a law" part of "by a law or by the rules of traffic" on https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Tag:access%3Ddesignated
, but if that's the case, what's the difference between foot=yes and foot-designated?  As https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:access
makes clear, "Access values describe legal permissions/restrictions".

To directly address the points at the top:

 > 1. highway=footway implies foot=designated.

No.  Some highway=footway do not correspond to a legal right of access, and foot=yes (and by extension =designated) would be inappropriate there.  The access might be permissive, no, private, or something else. See https://taginfo.geofabrik.de/europe/great-britain/england/keys/foot#values .

 > 2. foot=designated is used in England and Wales to indicate a public right of way.

There is some usage of this in England and Wales, but it's mostly historic.  I certainly don't rely on it for anything more than meaning "yes". 
https://taginfo.geofabrik.de/europe/great-britain/england/keys/foot#values
suggests ~300k "yes" vs ~200k "designated".

 > 3. highway=footway can be used to map things in England and Wales which are not public rights of way.

Yes (permissive, no, private etc., as noted above)


Just to throw another complication into the mix, there are also places where there _is_ legal access on foot that don't correspond to one of the legally enshrined rights-of-way types "public footpath", "public bridleway", "restricted byway" or "byway open to all traffic".  The CRoW act https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Countryside_and_Rights_of_Way_Act_2000
means that some areas legally allow foot access anywhere across them, and this obviously includes footpaths that cross them too, like for example https://www.openstreetmap.org/way/859817345 . Where things get tricky is that mapping the entire area of CRoW act land is difficult because there are usually few signposts around.  In that area there are some "access land" signs on the main road and around to the west, but not nearly enough to add the whole area.

However it does mean that it's really important to leave "foot=yes" (or
=designated) on highway=footway etc. as that does convey extra information that isn't implicit in the "highway=footway" tag.  Recently some mappers have sort to "tidy up" these tags, not realising that they are removing useful information from OSM.

More about this at
https://www.openstreetmap.org/user/SomeoneElse/diary/391053 .

Cheers,

Andy





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