[Talk-ca] Highways in Yukon

James Ewen ve6srv at gmail.com
Fri Mar 12 01:30:55 GMT 2010

On Thu, Mar 11, 2010 at 10:43 AM, Tim Francois <sk1ppy14 at yahoo.co.uk> wrote:

> I'm currently working on the Dempster highway with a tracklog I created
> in the summer, hoping to extend it further north into NWT. The road
> connecting to the Dempster in the south is the Klondike Highway.
> However, this paved 'highway' is tagged as a secondary road, whilst the
> unpaved Dempster is tagged as a primary road.
> I think the Klondike Highway, and other similar roads in this part of
> Canada, should be tagged as primary roads. What do others think?

This is a problem with the way that highways are tagged in my opinion.
The OSM features page sometimes uses physical attributes to describe
the roadways.

The roadway needs to be tagged for the usage it is designed for. The
Dempster Highway is a primary highway linking major centers. (Okay,
relatively major centers, relative to barren land...) In OSM terms
though, it could probably even be tagged as a trunk as it is a very
important road in the area.

One has to think about how the final map is going to be displayed.
Most of the rendering engines use the classification of the road to
determine at what level to display the way. If you classify the
Dempster Highway as a track (to fit the description "gravel roads in
the forest"), it will only show up once you have zoomed in so close,
that you can't make any use of the map information.

I have this type of problem with my GPS. I travel the highway to Fort
McMurray quite often. The TeleAtlas database has the primary highway
classified as a major road. If I zoom out far enough to see where I am
heading, the map screen goes blank. Pretty hard to decide which roads
to take when there are none depicted. Once I zoom in close enough to
see the roads, I can no longer see my destination, so it is difficult
to determine which road I should take to get to my desired

Our northern territories don't have a lot of roads, and have a lot of
territory. You need to be zoomed well out to be able to see where you
are and where you want to be in most cases. The roads between those
locations are of major importance if you are attempting to drive
between the locales, and as such should be tagged as such. Even if the
classification description for the UK suggests that that road
classification should be paved with striped lines, and a hard
shoulder, in the Yukon, that same classification of road might only be
a gravel surface.

If it were up to me, classification would denote the importance of the
road in the road network, and surface, number of lanes, and other tags
would describe the physical attributes of the roadway.

My two bits, and then some!


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