[talk-au] Mapping "off track" hiking routes

Phil Wyatt phil at wyatt-family.com
Sat Oct 24 04:45:17 UTC 2020

Hi Folks,


For Tasmania all the tracks that are permitted on ‘public maps’ are available in the transport layer and tagged with the AS2156 walking track standard




The routes, pads, known walking destination data that is known to managing authorities is held by those agencies and supplied as restricted layers to search and rescue and emergency services agencies (and appears on their maps). This is to ensure that folks that head out to these areas understand the terminology – ie whilst there may be a line on the map no definition will be found on the ground…. Or …. This is a known route to Mountain XYZ.


Until recently many of these remote areas were also monitored, via high resolution imagery and field surveys, as part of research into walker (and horse and bike) impacts as part of the state parks and reserves management.


Crowd sourcing is fine, so long as those crowd sourcing also know the management prescriptions for the areas involved. This sort of stuff is regularly discussed on Australian bushwalking forums along with issues such as promotion of remote areas by photographers, instagrammers and guide book authors. Its an extremely complex subject, but also a fascinating insight into how some folks feel about their own impacts on wild lands.


I am happy to help with some words for the wiki that spell out why such restrictions might be in place and why some areas should not be mapped.


Cheers - Phil


From: Greg Lauer <gregory.lauer at gmail.com> 
Sent: Saturday, 24 October 2020 12:14 PM
To: Andrew Harvey <andrew.harvey4 at gmail.com>
Cc: talk-au <talk-au at openstreetmap.org>
Subject: Re: [talk-au] Mapping "off track" hiking routes


Within this group we are 'experienced' mappers and in most cases familiar with the various OSM mapping tools, and may even use these to plan a trip. Where is the general public use apps (such as MapsMe, Guru ect) that are really dependent on what the apps render displays. I have not seen any apps that, for example, display any attribute (or graphic) to show a track is closed.


So the tagging of trails is not visible to most users, and we have the issue of maintaining the tags as they are usually fluid (open, closed etc), 


The real world example for me is riding in the local forest in SE QLD and seeing other riders blindly following MapsMe on tracks that are closed (and tagged as such but not visible on the map).


I am not suggesting a 'tagging to render' regime but just tagging a trail as closed is not having the effect we think it does. Short of adding an attribution to the trail name I am not sure how we resolve? Example xyz trail [Closed]


It would be great to see our state land management agencies follow the lead of DoC in NZ (https://www.doc.govt.nz/our-work/maps-and-data/) or USGS (https://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/70192717) and make the relevant data open (and current!), and encourage crowd sourcing.







On Sat, Oct 24, 2020 at 8:37 AM Andrew Harvey <andrew.harvey4 at gmail.com <mailto:andrew.harvey4 at gmail.com> > wrote:

On Sat, 24 Oct 2020 at 07:24, <forster at ozonline.com.au <mailto:forster at ozonline.com.au> > wrote:

Hi Andrew
Trail closed signage will be rapidly destroyed, often in a few days.  
Placing trail closed signage at a trail start makes the start of  
illegal trails more visible and attracts traffic.


It's a catch-22 then, without the signage then it's per the law not illegal to use. To be honest I don't think placing a trail closed sign at the trail start makes it more visible and attracts traffic, many people will see that sign and choose not walk there, compared to no signage when they'd be like oh there's a track here, nothing to say it can't be used.


A park will often  
have signage at all entrances which says "keep to formed trails" which  
can be ambiguous especially to a mapper who believes in mapping  


"keep to formed trails" but those illegally constructed tracks look like formed trails to many users of the park, so keeping to the formed trails to me still allows me to walk on the illegally constructed tracks.


Parks will refer you to a copyright map of legal trails and have  
difficulty understanding why you can't use that as evidence.


I don't want to be the enemy here, I'm all for preserving sensitive landscapes to prevent damage and erosion, where a track has legally been closed then we should mark it as access=no which data consumers should treat that as no open to the public.


I can sympathise with the park operator, why should they have to be constantly monitoring for any signs of a track anywhere in the park and installing signage everywhere, why can't they say these are the areas we authorise everywhere else is not authorised, I guess they can install signage to that effect. I guess that's one use case there of OSM for park operators, it can help alert you of where tracks are forming that you might not have intentionally created.

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