[OSM-talk] Deprecation/move of incorrect tags

Ian Sergeant isergean at hih.com.au
Tue Jul 17 06:11:11 BST 2007

Matthias Julius wrote:

> You can tag it
> highway=footway
> foot=no
> route=ski

Alex Mauer <hawke at hawkesnest.net> writes:

> That falls under "ugly hack", and is at best a workaround.  It doesn't
> solve the problem raised, that there's no way to tag a generic or
> shared-use path, particularly one that's not a legally a UK highway.

Alex, I think what you are saying is that "highway=" tag was probably not
the best choice to indicate a path for bikes, pedestrians, horses or
skiers, because strictly speaking these things aren't highways.

In Australia a highway is a certain type of arterial road.  A freeway is
not a highway.  So highway=motorway, makes no sense really in an Australian
context, since a motorway isn't a highway, just as highway=cycleway may not
make sense since a cycleway is not a highway.

It all still works, because it isn't a data problem as much as a naming
problem.  Highway is just the tag used to indicate a through way in OSM,
and it really doesn't have to mean it is a highway in the legal sense.

GDF uses "road" as roughly equivalent to the OSM "highway", and allows
bicycle only roads, and pedestrian only roads.  No mention of ski trails
that I have seen though.

To be consistent with the current OSM philosphy, I would argue that:

highway=ski_trail - as a through way for skiiers.

if people are also allowed to traverse it should also have


I notice that the route=ski has already been accepted as a tag for a way.
As far as I'm concerned that is slightly inconsistent usage between route
and highway, but its easy to understand why it evolved that way, as ski
trails in most parts of the world aren't usually seen as through ways.
However, I can see how in parts of Canada they may well be.


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