[Talk-us] Moving historic railroad ways from OSM to OpenHistoricalMap

Russ Nelson nelson at crynwr.com
Sat Apr 4 04:31:21 UTC 2015

Brad Neuhauser writes:
 > So, is the argument here that we should no longer delete features that no
 > longer exist, just retag them? Is the argument that we generally should
 > delete such features, but railways are a special case where we shouldn't?

Yes, they are, because railroads went continuously from point A to
point B, and they leave their mark on the world. Maybe you don't see
it. Maybe I don't see it when I add a railroad=dismantled. But maybe I
can USE THE MAP to do field work to find it. That's why I'm making a
fuss -- because having even dismantled railroads in OSM is
*useful*. It's useful to me, it's useful to railfans, it's useful to
rail-trail creators, it's useful to property managers, it's useful to

I don't understand why people are so eager to delete accurate and
useful data, that people have spent hours, days, weeks, months, years,
and decades adding. I have pre-OSM GPS tracks from mapping old
railroads that date from 2002. I've added them, painstakingly, one at
a time, and joined them into the existing data as appropriate. I've
been mapping railroads since before OSM was a gleam in Steve Coast's

If you want to know how serious abandonfans are, I've see people go
looking in farmer's fields with a metal detector looking for spikes,
and dig down 12" to find one. I've seen people go into a farmer's field
looking for chunks of coal that fell off coal trains. I've knocked on
people's doors to ask them if they know anything about the railroad in
their backyard.

The evidence of dismantled railroads is out there, and it should be in
OSM to help people find it.

--my blog is at    http://blog.russnelson.com
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