[Talk-GB] Gates open/closed by default

Stephen Colebourne scolebourne at joda.org
Fri Jul 26 11:57:34 UTC 2019

On Fri, 26 Jul 2019 at 11:59, Colin Smale <colin.smale at xs4all.nl> wrote:
> On 2019-07-26 12:26, Gareth L wrote:
> This was discussed on the wiki https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Talk:Tag:barrier%3Dgate with the suggestion of using a status tag. And was also discussed (9 years ago?!) https://lists.openstreetmap.org/pipermail/talk-gb/2010-May/thread.html

Thanks for the links. Unfortunately, there was no resolution to the
discussion AFAICT.

> Access=* denotes the legal position, not the presence or absence of physical obstacles. Access=permissive is just as wrong as access=private as a proxy for gate=normally_open etc. Don't tag incorrectly for the renderer (or router!)

I get that might be the official rule, but in many cases you can't
determine the *legal* position without being a lawyer and doing lots
of research. When doing ground surveys like I am, all I can say is
"can I go here", unless there is an explicit "private" sign. I
strongly suspect that most mappers use the access tag to mean "can I
go here" to some degree. I'd also suggest that it is much more
interesting to users of the data than the legal status.

I'd prefer to see a legal_access tag for those cases where the legal
position is clear (public footpath or "private" sign), with the access
tag treated as the more practical "can I go here". WIth that approach,
access=permissive vs access=private would cover open gates vs ones
where you have to buzz to go in. It would also cover an open
pedestrian gate alongside a closed vehicle gate without the need for a
second pedestrian-only highway/gate. I see legal_access as a little
like the designation=public_footpath tag, useful when you really know
the legal status. eg something like:

- legal_access=private, access=private: privately owned, can't get in,
eg gated/locked
- legal_access=private, access=permissive: privately owned but nothing
stops you going in (refined by foot/bicycle etc)
- access=yes: you can freely access it
- legal_access=public, access=yes: can freely access it and legally
public, eg public footpath or park

The previous thread suggested:
- status=open
- status=unlocked (to mean closed but unlocked)
- staus= locked
which isn't terrible, although it would need agreement to make it
worth tagging. (I don't personally buy into Warin's need to document a
locked open gate, but if it was needed, the status scheme would be

Otherwise, I guess opening_hours is a possibility, but doesn't feel quite right.


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