[talk-au] Sidewalks in Australia

Andrew Harvey andrew.harvey4 at gmail.com
Tue Aug 10 04:20:04 UTC 2021

On Tue, 10 Aug 2021 at 13:00, Tom Brennan <website at ozultimate.com> wrote:

> I've been using the current lockdown to walk and cycle all of the
> streets of my LGA (Willoughby), and I've been checking back to OSM to
> see if there's anything needing updating. For the most part it's just
> minor edits here and there.

I've probably passed you without realising then.

At the moment there are a lot of separately mapped sidewalks in the
> Willoughby LGA, but it's patchy at best. There are streets with
> sidewalks mapped next to other unmapped streets, there are lots of
> connectivity issues, sidewalks end unexpectedly. I don't intend to put
> too much effort into cleaning it up, but where I do make changes, I'd
> prefer to make things better rather than worse!

Maybe some of those I added. I usually just add a bit at a time, there is a
lot left to do.

> I'm not much of a fan of separately mapped sidewalks, because there tend
> to be an infinite number of places you can walk/cross etc, and any
> mapping fails to capture this. But I'm not too concerned with opening a
> debate if it's already been prosecuted! Just with what the Australian
> "standard" is.

Our footpath (sidewalk) mapping is usually for where there is some kind of
facility or infrastructure for pedestrians, so separately mapped doesn't
mean that's the only place you can physically access.

I try to map footpath facilities as both separate highway=footway +
footway=sidewalk ways and on the roadway with sidewalk:left=separate +

Some data consumers (map renderers, routers) will prefer to use the
sidewalk tags to check if there is a footpath on the road here or not,
while other data consumers will prefer to have the exact path mapped

On Tue, 10 Aug 2021 at 13:53, Sam Wilson <sam at samwilson.id.au> wrote:

> I normally do separate ways, because it's easier to more accurately map
> the topology.
> I just pretend I'm pushing a wheelbarrow (or stroller or am using a
> wheelchair) and wonder what sort of connectivity and data I'd want to be
> able to navigate. For instance, it might be possible as you say for lots
> of people to cross a road from pavement to pavement anywhere along the
> road, but that's not true of everyone. Instead, I think we should map
> the crossings (highway=footway and footway=crossing), even better with
> tactile paving, curb ramp info, etc. — and that's harder when the
> pavements are included in the road's way (as sidewalk tags).

Love the wheelbarrow analogy!
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