[talk-au] "Removing closed or illegal trails." (in Nerang National Park)

forster at ozonline.com.au forster at ozonline.com.au
Fri Oct 29 10:33:55 UTC 2021

Hi Frederik, Thorsten

1. "a park manager would prefer them not to, and therefore deletes the  
track in order to keep people from exercising their rights".

Does this happen, has it ever happened? I would be surprised if it  
happened here. Anyway its not what I thought we were talking about,  
illegal trails.

2. 3. and 4. "knowing which informal trails they might have taken can  
be helpful, might even save lives" possible but very unlikely. I could  
equally argue that the types of illegal trails that I am seeing, the  
"I rode my mountain bike down this way" type of trail (see #951362516  
later) can reduce map utility, they are often barely visible but are  
rendered the same as the type of trail a lost person would follow.  
Neither Frederik's nor my argument is particularly strong.

I mentioned women's refuges earlier. Its irrelevant that we map the  
polygon but not the label. Its not because they are not verifiable, I  
could ground truth them by knocking on the front door and asking. We  
do not map women's refuges because that is the right thing to do. We  
search for justifications later.

Finally Frederik and Thorsten stress the importance of lifecycle  
tagging, access tagging and rendering by the data users. I agree with  

We at OSM are not doing a great job of rendering. Go to  
There are 3 trails,
Way: 476219417 which is access=no
Way: Granite Track (56176535) which is legal
These 2 tracks are rendered similarly, very few map users would notice  
that one of them was closed

We are not doing a great job on tagging either
The third track Path #951362516
is illegal but not tagged as such. The editor should know that it is illegal
they say "Probably unofficial but reasonably well used" there is a  
good chance they knew. It was clearly signed at every entrance to  
"stay on formed trails" and there are lots of maps on sign boards  
showing all the legal trails.

Now this trail is mapped, it is going to attract lots of traffic. Its  
never going to save a lost walker's life. Its going to take many many  
hours of volunteer labour to keep it closed for long enough to  
revegetate and get deleted from the map. That's the consequence of the  
Parks Service respecting OSM's consensus policy.

I support OSM's consensus form of government and as a consequence  
support the consensus position on illegal tracks. But it causes others  
a lot of problems and I think we can be more responsible and nuanced  
within the consensus position.


> Hi,
> On 29.10.21 09:08, forster at ozonline.com.au wrote:
>> You could map a track under the "if it exists then map it" rule but you
>> don't have to. We do not map women's refuges and they exist. We don't
>> have to map every informal trail.
> This is true, and we shouldn't go out of our way to thwart the efforts
> of park managers. Having said that,
> 1. Sometimes the matter can be a civil rights issue - depending on the
> legal situation, people might have the *right* to use a path but a park
> manager would prefer them not to, and therefore deletes the track in
> order to keep people from exercising their rights. In that situation,
> while the park manager might want the best for the environment, the park
> manager would have to work to change the legal situation instead of
> trying to mislead people about what they are allowed to do.
> 2. In similar discussions we had people working with search and rescue
> teams say that they prefer to use OSM maps because those show the
> informal trails, and if you're searching for someone who got lost,
> knowing which informal trails they might have taken can be helpful -
> might even save lives.
> 3. If you have an emergency out in the wild, knowledge about informal or
> even prohibited/closed tracks can be helpful and again, might even save
> lives.
> 4. If you are navigating without a GPS, you might use trails for
> orientation ("take the second left after entering the forest" or
> whatever). In these cases if there's a trail that exists and is visible
> but is not shown on the map, you will mis-count.
> Therefore I would like to agree with Paul and Thorsten, and stress that
> we should (a) map access tags properly, and (b) lobby web sites and apps
> using OSM data to properly process these access tags, by not including
> access-restricted trails in routing or route suggestions, and by clearly
> marking these restrictions on maps.
> Bye
> Frederik
> --
> Frederik Ramm  ##  eMail frederik at remote.org  ##  N49°00'09" E008°23'33"
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