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

Tom Hughes tom at compton.nu
Wed Aug 15 09:51:37 BST 2007

In message <bf60a2e10708150119q6db3ff6cmdbf5a2c3ec854b42 at mail.gmail.com>
        Jeffrey Martin <dogshed at gmail.com> wrote:

> 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
> development
> level of the road. The UK centric descriptions on wiki confuse me.

Well the legal classification and physical development level of the
road are usually fairly closely related. I realise that isn't quite
as true in all countries as it is in most western european countries

You are right that currently both those things are conflated in a
single tag to a large degree - that is the sort of thing that I hope
that STAGS will help to address. Andy's SOTM slides don't seem to be
on the wiki but there is an audio recording of his talk linked to


> 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
> stoplights?

That's what highway is for - motorway is better than trunk which is
better than primary etc. Like I said you can also tag the number of
lanes and indeed any traffic lights or other junction types.

I'm not sure why you think all that needs to be conflated in some
sort of "score" for the road.

> 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.

I slightly misunderstood 4 because you then started talking about
legal access again. It's going to get tricky if we're going to start
trying to guess what sort of vehicles could physically drive across
something and then record that...


Tom Hughes (tom at compton.nu)

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