[Tagging] Proposed rewrite Of highway=track wiki page

Christoph Hormann osm at imagico.de
Mon Mar 8 11:34:45 UTC 2021

On Monday 08 March 2021, Zeke Farwell wrote:
>  There have been a number of discussions on various channels recently
> about the highway=track tag.  I've taken some time to consolidate the
> feedback from these discussions into a proposed rewrite of the
> highway=track wiki page.  I think it offers a clearer and more
> globally applicable description of what we use this tag for. Let me
> know what you think.

It seems you are trying essentially to re-define a tag with more than 20 
million uses.  Past experience tells that this is not going to work.

Independent of that you are framing highway=track as a residual tag 
closing the OSM tagging system for two-track roads.  According to your 
writing any rural road that does dot qualify as 
highway=service/residential/unclassified is to be tagged as 
highway=track independent of physical characteristics or function.  
That collides with OSMs general approach of having an open tagging 
system with positively defined tags.

You also seem to have removed almost all of the information from the 
current documentation explicitly describing the delineation towards 
other tags in "highway=track versus other classes of highway=*" 
and "Regional usage" - those are the most important parts of the 
current documentation.

Without doubt the documentation of highway=track has a lot of room for 
improvement.  But i'd suggest to focus on better documenting how the 
tag is actually used in a differentiated and detailed fashion.

The main issue with the current documentation of highway=track is that 
it is centered around the agricultural/forestry use concept and that 
practical use of the tag evidently goes beyond that in many parts of 
the world (in particular those where due to climate 
agriculture/forestry have little significance).  In such areas use of 
the tag has been extended - but mostly this happened in analogy, for 
roads that serve similar functions to agriculture/forestry tracks but 
not for agriculture/forestry.  A fitting generic definition would be 
roads that primarily serve as access to the land itself in contrast to 
roads that serve for people to access specific objects on the land or 
to move between objects.

Christoph Hormann

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