[talk-latam] paved/unpaved roads

joost schouppe joost.schouppe at gmail.com
Sun Dec 14 21:01:11 UTC 2014

Hello Latin America,

There were a lot of reactions to my earlier post about mapping the quality
of roads in Latin America. I hoped we could talk about this at SOTM, but
that didn't happen. So here I'd like to revive the discussion. I learned a
lot since then, mostly thanks to Marco Antonio. Estoy escribiendo en inglés
como parece más fácil para los brasileños. Puedo traducir si le hace falta
a alguien.

What I'd like us to do now:
- As a Latin community we keep mapping surface and show off the progress we
make. I'll try to make some statistics about the progess we make (and
publish them on global.swing.eu )

- As a Latin community we try to get surface included in the standard
mapnik map. I made a simple mock-up:
>From the reactions, it seems that they will only consider a proposal which
is already almost ready for inclusion in the main code. So that means we
have to get a Tilemill running and play around with the stylesheet
ourselves. I've got the History Renderer installed, and I'll try to play a
bit with the xml stylesheet that uses... We would have to work out most of
the details, and maybe even make changes to the style of tunnels or planned
roads. If this proposal is rejected (which I have a feeling is quite
possible), we might have to start playing it politically. Maybe trying to
get Mapbox and HOT involved.

Anyone have some experience with Tilemill? Or another tool to make nice
mockups with OSM data, based on standard Mapnik style?

In the longer term:

- Develop an Afro-Latin tagging scheme. Now there are many different
national interpretations of road tagging. That's not a good idea, as a lot
of our data users are international. The African tagging scheme is good and
simple: basically a road is classified higher if it is more important.
Quality of the road does not count. So a terrible dirt road is still
primary if it is the only connection between major cities. But this tagging
scheme does not use the trunk road classification. My proposal would be to
use this trunk road tag, but only for the most important roads that are not
freeways, that are paved and that are at least two lanes wide. With this
slight adaptation, I think we could happily map Latin America. And it would
stick very close to current practice and the African practice, making it
easy to have a common Afro-Latino scheme. In turn, that should make it
easier to push for changes relevant to our community. Anyway, most people
seem to agree that the only valid reason to map a road in a higher
classification is that the road is more important (see eg

- Even if after over six years, we do manage to get mapnik to show road
quality, I still see a use for a Latin mapview. I think the Mapa Ecologico
is a great example. Here rivers and roads get mapped much more prominently
at higher zoom levels, which for the much less populated continent makes a
lot of sense. I talked to Linhares and he would like to share his
stylesheet. How about we make a Latin OSM portal with our own map style and
maybe even a more pronouncable name, like www.MapaMundiAbierto.org or
www.OtroServiciodeMapas.org?  That would allow us to highlight things which
are more important in this part of the world. After a presentation in
Bolivia, I got the idea that they really did get the point when someone
asked if we could make a mapa de las fiestas! Why not : )

So, who wants in?

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