[Talk-GB] Footway to Sidewalk?

Andy Robinson ajrlists at gmail.com
Tue Aug 21 16:07:09 BST 2012

The problem with "path" is that it doesn't convey any meaning. The original
idea behind "footway" was that it was a way that you traversed on foot. Over
the years others have wanted to segregate this blanket idea into different
fractions to denote the diffident types of footway. I can name a few
examples that apply in some locations but not others (and I'm sure I've not
been exhaustive in the list below)


A designated alignment only for walkers (in the UK we have various
designations, some are seen elsewhere as well)

A line on the ground that is used (mostly) buy those on foot though it might
be a sheep or goat too! It may move a bit season to season.

The part of a highway that is used for walking (and sometimes cycling) -
what is generally called a sidewalk in the US and a pavement in the UK.

A pedestrian way that links buildings or other facilities. Generally paved
and may vary in width substantially


So, when we talk about tagging the above we could stick with the quick and
easy method and call them all footway (if that they are for foot traffic) or
we could be smarter and change the main tag, or we could be even smarter
still and keep the blanket tag as originally intended and add other tags to
properly describe our feature like we do with highways, railways and almost
every other root way we have.







From: Adam Hoyle [mailto:adam.lists at dotankstudios.com] 
Sent: 21 August 2012 15:47
To: Andy Allan
Cc: talk-gb at openstreetmap.org
Subject: Re: [Talk-GB] Footway to Sidewalk?



On 21 Aug 2012, at 14:47, Andy Allan wrote:

On 21 August 2012 13:27, SomeoneElse <lists at mail.atownsend.org.uk> wrote:

Although I'd usually oppose such Americanisms, in this case "sidewalk" is

unambiguous in a way that "footway" (or "pavement") isn't, and on the forum

thread (and several years ago on a mailing list, when this was previously

discussed) I said that I wouldn't object to someone changing a

"footway=left" that I had mapped to "sidewalk=left".  Not everyone agreed

with me, though...

I'm entirely supportive of using "sidewalk" when discussing pavements
in the context of OSM. "footway" is even more confusing to OSMers than
even "pavement" would be! For years now I've been using the term
"sidewalk", and explaining why that's the best word for it, whenever
I've discussed the topic.


I agree - from the wiki
<http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Tag:highway=footway>  a footway seems
unambiguously to be what americans call a sidewalk.


It's totally confused me, so in the bit of UK countryside I edit I have
added tons of ways with highway=footway tags through woods, fields etc, when
in fact I am pretty sure they should really be highway=path tags. I realised
this a little while ago, so this thread is timely.


Do please correct me if I'm still confused as I'm slowly going through the
process of re-tagging them from footway to path.

However, don't let that mean that I support a poorly documented and
poorly executed bulk edit.





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