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

Steve Bennett stevagewp at gmail.com
Sun Feb 28 03:25:31 GMT 2010

On Sun, Feb 28, 2010 at 1:40 PM, Jim Croft <jim.croft at gmail.com> wrote:
> I would argue, from an insular point of view, as long as you do not
> call the .au standard the same name or use the same terms, none at
> all.

And if you do? What if we tag our longest hiking trails "IWN", in
complete defiance of the "standard"? What's the worst thing that could
possibly happen? A thought experiment, if you will...

>The caveat because sooner or later someone will is sure to want
> to attempt international harmony and if we have used the same
> terminology for different things, they will curse us.

If we precisely define how we use the keys, and if it possible to
readily distinguish our scheme from theirs (geographically, in this
case), then I see no reason for cursing.

In fact, if we use the four layers (IWN/NWN/RWN/LWN), then logically
that gives us more flexibility for adapting to any later scheme, than
if we only used two (RWN/LWN).

> The question should be, does the European convention make sense in the
> Australian context. If it sort of does then it would be sensible to
> use it rather than invent a new one.  If it doesn't, go for it... and
> deal with the headache of sorting out the international compromises
> later.

The European scheme of four levels of hiking route, based on
significance, is fine. It only breaks down if you insist that
"significance" is defined by the level of boundaries being crossed. If
you determine significance primarily by length, it works ok. If you
determine significance with rules like "the three or four longest,
most significant trails are IWN, then there can be a dozen or so NWN",
then you might get a better result.

Just as a cycleway in Germany doesn't allow pedestrians, but an
Australian one does, it seems ok to me to have a German NWN cover a
significant proportion of the country, but an Australian NWN be

Anyway, my current position: show me a genuine international standard,
and we should not abuse it. Or show me harm that could arise from not
quite following the xWN convention. Failing these two things, we
should do what is most pragmatic for our own needs.


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