[Tagging] Proposed rewrite Of highway=track wiki page

Bert -Araali- Van Opstal bert.araali.afritastic at gmail.com
Tue Mar 9 02:23:59 UTC 2021

On 09/03/2021 03:43, Kevin Kenny wrote:
> On Mon, Mar 8, 2021 at 6:10 PM Bert -Araali- Van Opstal 
> <bert.araali.afritastic at gmail.com 
> <mailto:bert.araali.afritastic at gmail.com>> wrote:
>     Why do we need unclassified ? Look at it from the point of view
>     from an ant, walking on the tree.  The ant only knows that it
>     walks on a road, it can't see that far to see if that road is a
>     minor branch or a major branch, or even a shallow trunk.  It does
>     however know that it is something that belongs to one of these,
>     because sap runs through it.  It's like a mapper in the field
>     without a satellite imagery. The ant can only find out what the
>     road exactly is, by walking all the way from one end to the other,
>     or by asking other ants who already acquired that knowledge.  In
>     case they are not there, it should call it unclassified, to
>     indicate it needs more information to assign a final judgement.
> That's not how it's used in OSM.  What you described is tagged in OSM 
> as `highway=road`.  `highway=unclassified`, misleadingly, is a formal 
> read classification in the UK - the road is classified as an 
> 'unclassified road'.  What 'unclassified' means is that the road has a 
> lower importance than 'tertiary', but is not 'residential', either 
> because it is more important than the residential roads or because it 
> serves another purpose such as accessing an industrial district. (If 
> we were to start from a non-UK-centric perspective, we'd have probably 
> chosen a tag like 'quaternary' to describe this in a more neutral 
> fashion.)
Maybe that's the most common way how it is interpreted in the West, 
having it's roots in the UK.  In Africa, it's not. We generally have 
very few or no highway=road. It also isn't considered a valid 
classification in Highway Tag Africa guidelines.  It also doesn't fit in 
the more academic models where socio-economic classification is mostly 
done using the major classes strategic (trunk or primary) / collector / 
feeder / local / service.
> A service road, at least as they are tagged around here, can serve 
> more than one dwelling. `highway=service` is routine for driveways in 
> apartment complexes, and for shared driveways that serve multiple 
> rural establishments but are not public highways.
True, also here. My explanation with the tree model isn't perfect. I 
mailed it as a simplified explanation of the previous mail (should have 
chnaged the title slightly).  Please take a look at it or this is the copy:
> Every road is a track, every modification of a natural environment by 
> living creatures to move from one place to another is a track.
> So start your mental journey with highway=track.
> Now you identified a track. First question: Can I add a social or 
> economic importance to it (for humans but might as well work for animals).
> If yes, find a suitable socio-economic tag, you end up with 
> highway=trunk(= all strategic tracks), primary(strategic bt not 
> crossing international borders), secondary (=collector), 
> tertiary(=feeder), residential (=local, any local importance, can be 
> industrial) ,service or unclassified if you do mean it has a 
> socio-economic importance but you couldn't determine which 
> specifically or a single key, then highway=unclassified (room for 
> considering combining multiple values).
> You can't or don't want to add a socio-economic importance, you remain 
> with highway=track.
> Can I use a tag to specify if it is modified by humans to improve the 
> throughput of the road. (by access restrictions, physical 
> modifications like solting it from crossing roads, making it wider or 
> narrower).  If yes, use highway=motorway, path. Possible additional 
> tags like express can be used.
> Ask yourself the same question if you used one of the socio-economic 
> keys, so any highway from the above socio-economic classes can be a 
> motorway or a path. (also room for improvement, our current tagging 

> guidelines don't allow multiple values in the highway key), but as far 
> as I am concerned might be highway=primary;motorway or might as well 
> be highway=primary;path).
> Possible additional values: alley etc...
> No clear answer ? You still are with highway=track.
> You remain with highway=track.
> Missing in OSM: highway top level values to indicate how it is 
> managed, however these should not be on the top level, because the 
> tracks from the above can be managed by humans, taking in 
> consideration values for names given worldwide.
> So we need a subkey for the highway tagging to describe it's 
> management, often reflected in specific names.
> This could be highway:name_managed=highway, interstate, freeway, 
> motorway, trunk, bypass, ringway... with additional tags for the 
> operator=* and or translation so it can be understood worldwide: f.i. 
> highway:name_managed:nl= snelweg, express weg, ringweg ... or 
> highway:name_managed:de= Autobahn or highway:name_managed:fr= 
> route_nationale, autoroute ... or highway:name_managed:hi=हाईवे... or 
> highway:name_managed:zh-hant= 高速公路... or 
> highway:name_managed:ru=автомагистраль... ) etc...? Add an admin_level.
> Finally, ask yourself if you would like to add tagging to describe 
> physical restrictions or improvements that support one of the above 
> classifications, like paved/unpaved or specific surface, smoothness, 
> seasonal or weather condition aspects ?
> But it remains a highway=track or one of the highway=* tags above.  
> This doesn't change the top-level highway key.
> In the end it remains a track, like all roads do, like all highway=* 
> do. You remain with highway=track through the elimination process 
> described above.
> Works everywhere, globally, in every language, simple and shows how 
> the mess is actually not a mess if we all think in the same way.... 
> which we do, we are all living beings.

>     Remains, what are tracks: all roads that have no specific
>     socio-economic purpose and where no intervention has taken place
>     to separate traffic that moves at significant different speeds.
> Most tracks have very specific economic purposes. They serve forestry, 
> agriculture, possibly access to wilderness trailheads, possibly 
> combating wildfires, possibly prospecting, Or they may be ways that 
> were originally planned for something else, have outlived their 
> purpose, and fallen into disrepair (but remain passable to wheeled 
> vehicles).   NB: The only non controversial interpretations in this 
> paragraph are agriculture and forestry. Those who interpret 'the 
> rules' most rigidly reject the 'track' classification if the road 
> serves any other purpose (even if the primary purpose is agriculture 
> or forestry), or the mapper has been unable to discern the purpose. 
> The presence of a hiking trailhead, a small gravel pit, or a cabin has 
> been held to be sufficient to make the way something other than a track.
Also here i agree, same answer as above. Better could be:"Remains, what 
are tracks: all roads that have no specific socio-economic 
classification (=trunk / Primary / secondary / tertiary...) and where no 
intervention has taken place to separate traffic that moves at 
significant different speeds.
> I personally do not construe 'track' as narrowly, but I also don't 
> believe that I should have to use 'highway=road' for a road that I 
> personally have traveled _part_ of, and observed the characteristics, 
> merely because I don't have complete information - and perhaps have no 
> way to obtain complete information about what's at the other end. If 
> it has 'access', 'surface', 'smoothness' and 'tracktype' catalogued, 
> the differences to rendering or routing among 'track', 'service' and 
> 'unclassified' will be trivial; for the roads that consist of two ruts 
> disappearing out of sight into the forest beyond where I stopped 
> walking, 'track' is as good a classification as any.
> -- 
> 73 de ke9tv/2, Kevin
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