[Talk-us] Starting OSM Trail Map Initiative In US

Greg Troxel gdt at ir.bbn.com
Sun Jul 22 21:01:06 BST 2012

Kevin Kenny <kkenny2 at nycap.rr.com> writes:

> I agree 100%.  I have a good bit of data from New York State on trails
> that is surely incomplete and imperfect but better than anything we
> have in OSM.  I've not uploaded any of it because I've not convinced
> myself that it's "doing no harm". But most of it would slot into areas
> of the map that today are nearly blank.  I don't foresee any real
> difficulties with conflation; the chief technical difficulty I'd
> see is managing a repeat upload as the government files are updated.
> (I still haven't opened discussions with the state agencies about
> redistributing the data; there are some licensing hurdles to overcome.)

If the govt data really is good, then that mitigates a lot of the
concerns, especially if a local mapper meets with a park manager and
talks about data quality.
>> The other issue that was technical in nature that I have also been
>> thinking about was mentioned by Brett and that is coding of trails for
>> different uses. From what I can see this is pretty lacking and not
>> very standardized and that really limits the usefulness of the data. I
>> would really like to get a discussion going on this issue and hear
>> peoples recommendations. My general thoughts are that it Brett's
>> suggestion that there needs to be both classifications for activities
>> and difficulty (or quality) is what is needed. I know that there are
>> some classifications for activities but they don't seem to be widely
>> used or very standardized. The other associated issue in my mind is a
>> better trail head feature type.
> The problem that I see with classifications for difficulty is that there
> are few standards. Trails that are called 'moderate' or even 'easy'
> in New Hampshire might be called 'strenuous' or 'difficult' in
> Virginia.

I am almost always in favor of OSM finding the relevant professional
community or stewardship organization and adopting existing standards.
OSM already has sac_scale but I'm not sure how useful that is in the US.
For rock climbing there is certainly a classification system.

> For most of the trails that I have data on, I do have basic
> regulatory information as well: "foot=yes horse=yes bicycle=yes
> ski=yes atv=no snowmobile=no" or similar fields. For many of them,
> I also have waymark information - either the principal blaze colour,
> or else a description "red horizontal dash on white", "yellow triangle
> on black", "blue disc", "green-and-white Finger Lakes Trail logo",
> and so on, which should also be considered for a map.
> How much does "trailhead" differ from "parking"? I've usually just
> shown trailheads as parking areas - they usually have space for at
> least a few cars.

In my view, parking is parking, and should be tagged as such.  trailhead
is a designation of cultural importance within the hiking community,
meaning a place were a trail can be accessed from roads that is notable
as a place to begin or end.   Basically, if there were a local club, and
they wrote a map and guidebook, it's a trailhead if they would talk
about it as such.   That said, trailheads tend to have parking.  Or are
places where parking is banned but there are shuttle buses (e.g. parts
of Grand Canyon and Yosemite, at least seasonally).
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