[Talk-GB] Great North Trail MTB Route

Richard Fairhurst richard at systemed.net
Mon Jul 13 22:30:30 UTC 2020

[apologies for broken threading, Nabble appears to have fallen over]

Chris Fleming wrote:
> We also have copyright of the route itself, Cycling UK do seem
> to assert copyright and therefore we probably do need them to
> ask them.

I did ask that very question at a recent Facebook webchat with CUK about the Great North Trail and King Alfred's Way (more with a cycle.travel hat on than an OSM one). They chose not to answer. ;)

It's certainly worth pressing them on it, but I suspect the situation is the same as with the (also unsigned) Adventure Cycling routes in the US - they don't want to give explicit blanket permission because that could potentially remove one of their USPs as an organisation, particularly with regard to selling maps/guidebooks, but in practice they'll tolerate it.

Andy Allan wrote:
> Signed, or it should not be in our database.

So much this. People often think in terms of "oh, I'll tag it as NCN/RCN/whatever so that it shows up nicely on OCM/WaymarkedTrails/whatever" and forget that there are routers out there, not just renderers. Routers use relations like this as a crucial component in their turn-by-turn directions. They tell people to "turn right onto route 5", which is no use if there are no signs here or anywhere for route 5.

In extremis, if you were to follow the same algorithm that Google Maps uses for its turn-by-turn directions (follow route numbers above all else), then the directions would start at Wirksworth and say "Follow Great North Trail for 825 miles". That isn't helpful.

> So please don't read too much into the "ncn" tag. The same
> tag is used throughout the world for national cycling
> routes in OSM. It's not entirely a coincidence that the tag
> and the concept of Sustrans' National Cycling Network are
> very similar

…but don't break common expectations for the standard of a route.

In other words, network=ncn routes in Britain are largely homogenous. They will be 95% low-traffic and 95% rideable on an average hybrid bike.

If you tag the Great North Trail (or, at the other end of the scale, the Dave Brailsford routes in Snowdonia) as network=ncn, that breaks those common expectations. Someone will see the route and expect an "NCN" experience. That "someone" might be a human planning their route manually, or it might be a router that is using the presence of a route relation as a flag that the route is low-traffic and rideable.

There will no doubt be someone at this point who says "but it's still a NATIONAL CYCLE route", to which I say (a) you are very boring, (b) fine, go tag all the Sustrans NCN routes with a distinct Sustrans tag and your preferred route with a non-Sustrans tag and report back what you've done, (c) personally... I don't actually mind, because I watch these things sufficiently closely that cycle.travel will only ever be one profile update behind whatever change in tagging there is. But bear in mind that no-one apart from me and CycleStreets takes this much interest in tagging subtleties, so you've just broken routing for Strava and Komoot and Mapbox and whatever. Actually, wait, you should totally do that.

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