[talk-au] Tagging hiking path difficulty - Australian Walking Track Grading System (AWTGS)

Phil Wyatt phil at wyatt-family.com
Fri Sep 17 07:51:39 UTC 2021

Hi Folks.


Also be aware that there are also websites using their own ‘grading systems’ based on a combination of other systems (AWTGS and/or Australian Standards combinations or straight out their own gradings) so please ensure that they actually explicitly state that it’s the Australian Walking Track Grading system that they are using exclusively before tagging it as such.





All the systems are often misinterpreted by folks not in the land management field so please be careful. Officially signed classifications from the land management agency would be the only ones I would trust that have been applied correctly.


Like Andrew, I am not a fan of these classifications but tourism associations, promoters, some commercial guiding establishments and some walking clubs love them as a way to ‘guide people’ about the ‘general difficulty’ of the track.


Cheers - Phil


From: Andrew Harvey <andrew.harvey4 at gmail.com> 
Sent: Thursday, 16 September 2021 11:54 AM
To: Ian Steer <iansteer at iinet.net.au>
Cc: OSM Australian Talk List <talk-au at openstreetmap.org>
Subject: Re: [talk-au] Tagging hiking path difficulty - Australian Walking Track Grading System (AWTGS)


If it's signposted or we have compatible data for officially assigned classifications you use a new tag like awtgs=1-5. It would be a good idea to document this tag if used on the wiki so that others can understand how to apply it and use it.


We would need to decide if it should only be tagged for officially assigned classifications, or if every track we can assign a classification and tag that. I'm leaning towards only tagging those officially assigned.


Personally I'm not a fan of the grading system, but it does exist and so you can tag it.


The grading system (per descibed at https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/safety/bushwalking-safety/australian-walking-track-grading-system) is comprised of a few independent variables, like


- steepness (which data consumers can determine via external terrain data)

- length (can be calculated)

- surface (could be covered by the surface=* tag, smoothness=* tag, and highway=steps)


We already have in use and documented tags in OSM for:


1. trail_visibility=*, which as currently documented covers both how well signposted a route is and how visible/easy to follow the path is

2. sac_scale=* which is kind of tagging the technical difficulty (eg. do you need to use your hands and arms to climb up the track, is it highly exposed on cliff edges etc.)


Then we also have existing tags trailblazed=* and information=guidepost/route_marker.


I try to map all these specific variables and elements which provides richer data, but I would also support including officially assigned AWTGS via awtgs=*.


On Thu, 16 Sept 2021 at 11:00, <iansteer at iinet.net.au <mailto:iansteer at iinet.net.au> > wrote:

I’m unsure in how to apply the AWTGS to walking/hiking paths.


I followed through a very long OSM discussion thread from 2020, but didn’t see any resolution(I don’t think the discussion was Australian specific)


What are others doing ?



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