[talk-au] Hiking tracks: foot=yes or foot=designated?

John Henderson snowgum at gmx.com
Fri Feb 26 14:33:32 GMT 2010

Steve Bennett wrote:

> That's basically how I see your position: the value of sticking to a
> strict reading of "national" and "international" is much lower than
> the practical benefits of using the four layers of network in a way
> that is comparable with other countries. I see it as similar to the
> "café" debate we had a while ago: do we define a term like
> "amenity=cafe" in terms of absolutes (serves coffee and sit down
> meals, but little or no alcohol), or in culturally relative terms
> (what do locals understand by "café"). If you stick with absolute
> definitions, you get wild imbalances - maybe France has no "cafés"
> while Portugal has tens of thousands or something. And in the same
> way, Australia has almost no IWN/NWN walking routes by the absolute
> definition, but if the relative definition is "the country's most
> significant and longest trails", then we have something more useful.
> Your position is certainly not without merit, but let me ask you a
> couple of questions:
> 1) What are the tangible benefits of NWN meaning the same thing in
> Austria as in Australia?

A major advantage I see is little or no inconsistency in the way 
different people tag routes.  There will inevitably be disagreement 
about the RWN/LWN decision point, but that's better than having 
confusion about NWN/RWN as well.

> 2) Given that you are essentially proposing that all hiking trails
> (bar two) in Australia be marked either LWN/RWN, do you not think it's
> a disadvantage to only have two levels rather than four?

That's two levels for the rest.

No, I thought this through carefully months ago, and didn't think 
there'd be any disadvantage whatsoever.

It's not that we're out of balance in some important way by having our 
trail numbers stacked heavily on the RWN and LWN side.

In fact, a lot of those eyeing Aussie walking tracks online will be 
European backpackers, and they'll surely expect to see what I'm proposing.

> 3) Under your preferred option, lonvia.de would only render two trails
> when viewing a map of the whole of Australia. Do you see that as an
> implementation detail (ie, lonvia should be fixed), an unfortunate
> reflection of reality, or something different?

Frankly, I see this as no problem at all.  When I first visited the 
site, It took be about two seconds flat to twig to that aspect.  I think 
it's fine like it is.  You've got to zoom in considerably to see the 
LCNs anyway - not that there are many yet.

Overall, a similar situation arises with bicycle networks, and here NCN, 
RCN and LCN tags seem to have been applied largely on whimsy.  Canberra 
has (in my opinion) no NCNs, one or two RCNs, and lots of LCNs.  But 
have a look at the rendering on www.opencyclemap.org  It's a dog's 

In fact, most of the LCNs on the north side of the lake are ways I've 
tagged as such.  I haven't changed anyone's NCN or RCN tags.

John H

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