[Talk-us] I've been workin' on the railroad (in California)

stevea steveaOSM at softworkers.com
Fri Jan 16 06:43:52 UTC 2015

Paul Johnson replied:
>Break it down by county (possibly by county district, given some of 
>the really large ones like San Bernardino, or the real rail dense 
>ones along the coast).  Do the rail yards first, the rest becomes a 

I did, I do; thanks.  Rail yards first is a new concept for me.  As 
we initially sketch major arteries (macro), doing the capillaries 
(micro) is a welcome change in perspective, now that I put some 
effort into it.

>When in doubt, I move the TIGER-imported name to operator (since it 
>often is) and leave name blank if I don't know the lead or 
>subdivision or line.

Moving TIGER name to operator seems to be a more widely emerging 
consensus, thank you for chiming in once again "we seem to agree this 
is a good way to do this".  There is some usage of owner= in addition 
to operator=, explainable by sometimes complex trackage rights / 
leasing arrangements in US rail.  Yes, this will "emerge better" over 
time, yet we have now a good framework with TIGER, these tags and 

>There seems to be some confusion about this since I've noticed 
>people will rename segments of TriMet's MAX system to "Metropolitan 
>Area Express" after I've attempted to put the proper name of the 
>line (and not the whole system) on the lines...

Yes, even with light_rail, subway and tram "systems" it is correct 
for name= to be the line, not the system.

>Annoyingly, the Transit layer also seems to be exceptionally 
>bus-oriented and doesn't render routes on rail lines, as well.  This 
>has led to some locales, such as folks interested in mapping the IRT 
>and BRT in New York City, to tag for the renderer, putting routes in 
>parenthesis in the name tag on stations.

Specific issues with the Transport renderer are perhaps only 
tangentially germane to this discussion, but I appreciate and agree 
with your complaints.  OSM, its data and its renderers are built 
brick by brick, day by day, volunteer edit by volunteer edit.  "It 
gets better."  (THEY -- both data AND renderers -- get better).

>To some extent, given that signs, signals and speed orders, change 
>more often along rails than along roads, tends to be rather fluid, 
>and are often located in places where, unless you're a frequent 
>rider of a passenger service or work for the line, aren't readily 
>verifiable legally (trespassing on a railroad is srs bsns, both 
>legally and in terms of personal danger).

ORM tagging recommendations (excellent, and not to be ignored!) say 
this, also.  Again, I have seen data (e.g. KML files on railfan 
sites) which are at a high level of detail (near or at "current 
perfection,") so, "the data are out there" (obtainable).  However, 
please do follow good sense in getting them:  personal safety, no 
trespassing, don't violate copyright or license agreements, and so 
on.  Great discussion -- more?

Nicely developing in OSM and displaying well in ORM during the last 
30 days:  South Carolina, California, Kansas, Missouri, Washington, 
Idaho, Oregon, Montana, Georgia, Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland, 
Delaware, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Ohio.  And probably 
a few other places in these fifty states.  Yeah!


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