[Talk-us] Bike route network levels: East Coast Greenway

stevea steveaOSM at softworkers.com
Thu May 9 18:09:25 UTC 2013

I agree with Greg.  Numbering systems having hierarchical levels 
appear to be designed so that both numbers don't clash, as well as 
"longer routes should be in higher levels."  For the latter reason, 
Greg gives excellent examples.  I had a similar question regarding a 
not-short (but not long, 39 km Skyline To The Sea) hiking trail and 
didn't know whether to put it into the local or regional level. 
Seeing as it connects two counties (while it somewhat rides the 
boundary of those two counties) to the ocean I decided the correct 
level was "regional."

Yes, these are quite frequently judgement calls, but I think using 
the wisdom of length ("geographic extent") and adding an operator tag 
(if appropriate or known) can guide us properly.  It is not always 
just federal, state and local governments that fit into a strict 
hierarchy, as private/NGO/volunteer routes certainly do exist.  We 
simply must do our best effort at harmonizing these together, and I 
think we are on the right track by applying simple, sane guidelines 
like these.

Is this "coding for the renderer?"  Maybe it leans in that direction, 
but it is more like "coding for the semantics of our map" as because 
we really do have hierarchical levels for (hiking, biking...) routes, 
that makes it OK in my mind:  consumers of OSM data have come to 
expect these levels, so let's continue to respect them even when we 
must coin something that isn't strictly defined or doesn't fit into 
the shackles of government-defined hierarchy.  If some de-tangling 
might posit a better, richer set of semantics, let that discussion 
live in the future when reasons and ideas are forthcoming and answers 
can emerge and flourish.


>James Umbanhowar <jumbanho at gmail.com> writes:
>>  The question is what network level should it, if at all, be tagged.
>  > Currently, there are three network levels, local/regional/national
>>  that have been used.  In other countries, these apply to different
>>  levels of government that officially sanction the cycle route. In the
>>  US there are several bicycle routes that are sanctioned by AASHTO.  In
>>  contrast, an analagous tag for hiking networks applies these levels
>>  simply according to the spatial extent of the hiking trail and
>>  optionally adds a operator tag for the organization that plans and
>  > maintains the trail.

Greg Troxel <gdt at ir.bbn.com> answers:
>As long as network level denotes a degree of spatial extent rather than
>a specific naming scheme, I'd say East Coast Greenway should be
>national.   (In contrast, "Interstate" is both a notion of scale and a
>specific numbering authority.)
>My take on network levels for bike/hiking/etc. kinds of routes is that
>they are clues as to the geographic extent and thus the area from which
>people might care.  So in the US
>   local: a few towns (Minuteman Bikeway, Cape Cod Rail Trail), not of
>   interest to those not thinking about the state
>   regional: covering most of a state (Midstate Trail (MA), Long Trail
>   (VT)), and notable to those thinking about a multi-state region, but
>   not really notable on the national scale
>   national: covering enough area to be notable at national scale
>      Appalachian Trail
>      Pacific Coast Trail
>      EC Greenway

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