[OSM-talk] Highway tagging in general around the world

Tom Hughes tom at compton.nu
Wed Aug 15 08:42:02 BST 2007

In message <bf60a2e10708142325q767d7317xc5fdacaebdcde7d6 at mail.gmail.com>
        Jeffrey Martin <dogshed at gmail.com> wrote:

> I think it's obvious that we need to plan for a system that will
> work for every highway system around the world.

There is a system called STAGS that Blackadder is working on for a
more formal way of describing these things.

> Am I correct in assuming that the OSM definition of highway means
> everything from a rabbit trail to a ten lane limited access highway?

Pretty much.

> 1. Traffic capacity and use. A general idea of how important the road is.

This is largely covered by highway=, plus people sometimes add things
like lanes=, maxspeed= etc.

> 2. Legal category. This comes down to how the road is represented on
> the sign and may not be directly related to what the physical road is.
> I'm thinking about the route numbers and various shields and shapes
> used in Australia, the US, Canada, and Korea.

This isn't something we're particularly good at recording currently
although it is usually fairly closely related to highway= - it should
be possible to record physical and legal characteristics separately
with STAGS though.

> 3. What is allowed legally. Are motorcycles allowed? Are pedestrians?
> Do you need permission from the landowner?

This is things horse=yes, foot=permissive, car=no.

> 4. What the path can physically handle if there are no police around
> to enforce the law. I've driven my motor scooter on "no motorcycle"
> expressways.
> I drove my scooter on a 5m footpath to avoid traveling about 2km. I've
> walked on private walkways without permission. I've traveled on paths
> that I really don't know the legal status of.

See above - this is the no/private/permissive/yes distinction for
different types of traffic.

> 5. The physical condition of the path. Is it gravel? Is it a 2km staircase?
> There are some roads that might be legal to go on that you may not want
> to travel on.

This is an active area of discussion in the last week or so.

> We can tag for each category, or we can try to imply information from
> other categories. For example all Interstates in the US do not allow walking
> animals or pedestrians. This would mean some kind of rule set. Tagging
> for each category means more work.

Currently we tend to assume certain defaults - so highway=motorway
will tend to imply certain things for each country (like no cycles
or pedestrians etc).


Tom Hughes (tom at compton.nu)

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