[Talk-us] Dirt Roads (formerly: Abandoned railway)

Tod Fitch tod at fitchdesign.com
Sun Aug 31 17:03:42 UTC 2014

+1 to this. While mapping areas near my folks where I grew up there are lots of dirt roads and there are lots of tracks and they are different.

In that area, in my opinion, a dirt road will have regular maintenance sufficient for passage by a family car and, generally but not always, be wide enough for two vehicles to pass each other in all places. A track will typically be unmaintained and only be wide enough for one vehicle (though on a satellite view it could be tough to tell width as often they appear wider when people extend the width to get around wash outs or rough spots).

Another item that helps tell is if there is an official name assigned to the way but, since sign posting is often rare in those locations it could be difficult to tell that in the field.

If I am trying to clean up the Tiger desert in those area by arm chair mapping, I go by width. Sometimes the transition from unclassified, unpaved to track, unpaved is difficult to tell from Bing though.

On Aug 30, 2014, at 1:52 PM, Russell Deffner wrote:

> Um, you lost me Paul J
> Back to the original point that drew me into the conversation – I do not agree with switching every road that has surface=dirt to highway=track.  Using highway=track with tracktype=* would not fully describe the significance of roads around here because there are some ‘residential’ roads – those being roads that only have the function of reaching residences – that get washed out, are very steep, etc. and would probably earn a higher grade than some of the 4WD/OHV ‘tracks’ in the National Forest around here – those being roads only used for recreation or timber harvesting, but sometimes are very smooth and easy to travel.
> In conclusion, I don’t think any one feature (surface, smoothness, tracktype, lanes, speed, etc.) can be used to define or redefine the importance/significance of a road and sometimes only local knowledge can tell you that.
> Happy Mapping!

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