[Tagging] Proposed rewrite Of highway=track wiki page

Graeme Fitzpatrick graemefitz1 at gmail.com
Tue Mar 9 03:43:45 UTC 2021

Thanks Bert for two very good explanations - starting at track & working
upwards & also your tree analogy!

Both very good, clear explanations :-)



On Tue, 9 Mar 2021 at 13:05, Zeke Farwell <ezekielf at gmail.com> wrote:

> Thank you for the feedback so far.  To keep down traffic on this list I'm
> going to reply to each of you individually with follow up questions.  I
> want to gather as much information as I can and incorporate it into a
> revised draft.  If you feel your reply is worth everyone's time, of course
> feel free to send to the whole list.  For anyone just jumping into the
> thread, here is the first draft of the proposed rewrite I am gathering
> feedback on.
> Proposed rewrite:
> https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/User:Ezekielf/Tag:highway%3Dtrack
> Current wiki page:
> https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Tag:highway%3Dtrack
> On Mon, Mar 8, 2021 at 9:26 PM Bert -Araali- Van Opstal <
> bert.araali.afritastic at gmail.com> wrote:
>> 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> 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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