[OSM-talk] A new highway tagging scheme

Alex Mauer hawke at hawkesnest.net
Mon Aug 27 18:27:24 BST 2007

Andrew MacKinnon wrote:
> For this reason, I propose a new tagging scheme which separates the
> physical quality of a road and its administrative status. It replaces
> the current highway tag with two tags, a tag which reflects the
> highway's quality of construction and one which displays its official
> administrative status. Currently, footpaths, cyclepaths and bridleways
> will be unaffected by this reform. Here is an example of how it could work:
> * Highway tag - provides basic information about the type of road
> (ignoring all administrative classifications)

I see a need for distinguishing between tracks which are "4wd" and ones
which aren't.  Those that are slightly risky for normal cars, and ones
which you absolutely need 4wd and high ground clearance (the latter
seems generally more important on these sorts of roads)

It would also be good to have a classification for "wider-than-minor"
2-lane roads (without markings) -- These are the roads I would generally
classify "tertiary" since it's not a clearly-defined level (around here).

And driveways would be very good to have as well.

Aside from that, these seem nearly perfect; certainly as good as
anything I could come up with.

> Note that there are no direct equivalents to primary, secondary, or
> tertiary here. These tags will be gradually retired, replaced with the
> new tagging scheme, because they do not provide enough information. It
> may be possible to use a script to convert primary, secondary, tertiary
> to the new scheme in an area where these tags have specific, known
> meanings.
> * Administrative tag - provides information about a road's
> administrative classification. The specific meaning of these highway
> tags can be determined by checking which region a highway is located in.
> Alternatively, some sort of jurisdiction tag could be used.

I'd like to find something better than "regional2" -- but the idea is
sound.  Also, doesn't China have even more levels?  Wikipedia claims:
national, province, prefecture, county, township
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Province_(China)) I don't know that all of
those administer roads, but it's something to consider.

> * Admin_type - provides information about a road's administrative class,
> if multiple classifications exist. This is not needed for motorways, if
> they are tagged as highway=motorway or highway=two_lane_motorway, and
> primary two-lane highways, if tagged as highway=two_lane or
> highway=dual_carriageway.

What's the difference between admin_type and administrative (ideally,
some examples would be good)

On the whole, I love this proposal.  It clearly defines the fuzzy mess
of whether highway is a physical or administrative definition, and
finally provides enough information on the physical side (where the
current highway= is sorely lacking.)

-Alex Mauer "hawke"

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