[OSM-talk] Edit war on the wiki "map features"

Alex Mauer hawke at hawkesnest.net
Mon Dec 1 17:25:20 GMT 2008

Douglas Furlong wrote:
> My biggest issues is that smoothness varies depending on the vehicle in
> question, and as such it's just to vague to really be of use.

No it doesn't.  It's not like a paving machine runs just ahead of every
off-road vehicle, making the road smoother for them.  The smoothness of
the way is the same, whether you're using inline skates, or a tank.

The vehicle is just a tool for measuring the smoothness.

At one end of the scale, you have a perfectly smooth ride (or at least
the best the vehicle can give), no matter what vehicle you're in.

At the other end, you have total unsuitability for all but a few vehicles.

> If you tag a road with smoothness valid for a car user (what type of car?
> 4wd big effin thing, or a lotus elise?),

Did you even read the smoothness key page?  It clearly defines different
values for each of them.  If it's usable in the former, it's at worst
smoothness=horrible.  If it's usable in the latter, it's at worst

There is no smoothness "valid for a car user".  "bad" is usable by a
"normal car", intermediate is usable by a "sports car".  (I consider the
Elise a sports car).

> then what about a cyclist (and lets
> not even start looking at the different types of cyclists!). I just perceive
> it to be far to vague to cover the average users of that way, it's got
> nothing to do with fringe cases at all.

There is no generic "cyclist".  It depends on type of bicycle they're
using.  And smoothness takes that into account.  A mountain bike (and a
suitably skilled rider, presumably) can use routes that a racing bike

> specialist tagging for those who care to do it in
> those area's

That's not what the smoothness key attempts to accomplish.  What it
attempts to do is give a simple, single-key estimate of how rough/smooth
a road or path is.  The various vehicle types are there only to give
examples of what sort of vehicles can be expected to tolerate a given
class of road (and to say how a road which can be tolerated by a given
vehicle should be classified).

Are there perhaps two different sets of expectations for the smoothness
key?  On the one hand, there are people who expect something like
mtb:scale and sac_scale, where it defines the quality or difficulty of a
given route for a given vehicle type.  And on the other hand, there are
people who just want to know how smooth the route is (based on what
vehicles can handle it), and can judge from there whether they're
willing to take their vehicle down it.  I think the smoothness key is
currently based around the latter, and that the objections come from the

-Alex Mauer "hawke"

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