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

Jeffrey Martin dogshed at gmail.com
Wed Aug 15 09:19:50 BST 2007

I'm not sure what the Highway= tag does. It seems to me to be the British
version of my class number 2 where the route type doesn't exactly match the
level of the road. The UK centric descriptions on wiki confuse me.

There certainly is an urge to classify roads in some kind of
scale from major to minor, but I'm not sure exactly how to do this.
Maybe a formula. So many points for each lane? Deduct points for

You seem to be saying that class 3 and 4 are the same. They are not.
If a landowner gives me permission to walk across his frozen pond that
doesn't mean it will support my weight. My motor scooter had no problem
keeping up with traffic on "no motorcycle" roads in Seoul.

Information for class 4 could be derived from class 5 if we collect some
additional data. If I want to take my horse on a road I not only need to
know if the road can support the weight of the horse, but also the chances
the horse will be hit by a truck or twist his leg in a hole. If I try to
class 4 information using class 5 information then I would need to know
the kind of traffic and overhead clearance in addition to the pavement type.

It's true that we can derive information for one class from information
in the others but we need a method to do that and that method
will influence what data we need collect for the other classes.

I'm not planning on walking on thin ice or taking a horse on a major
expressway. I'm just trying to illustrate that the categories are different
and why we need to be clear about what these tags are saying.

On 8/15/07, Tom Hughes <tom at compton.nu> wrote:
> 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
> --
> Tom Hughes (tom at compton.nu)
> http://www.compton.nu/
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