[OSM-talk] [tagging] RFC :left/:right (asymmetrical roadside features)

Andrew Chadwick (email lists) andrewc-email-lists at piffle.org
Tue Feb 17 12:22:53 GMT 2009

Dave Stubbs wrote:

> The only way of avoiding this issue in some non-confusing way is to
> not use tagging as the answer. Some complex relation with a "this
> side" member which still needs editor support. Or just adding another
> way to the database for each left/right feature, which becomes hard
> when you try to connect things together.

Particularly when one of the side things you might want to tag is a
cycleway or a strip of parking between the vehicle carriageway (part of
our concept of a highway) and the foot sidewalk/pavement (also included
in our highways, as a sort of bonus feature). Sticking your fingers in
your ears and humming is a *fine* strategy to adopt when people begin
talking about relations for this sort of thing, particularly when you
can assume that there'd probably be a fairly reasonable, natural spatial
hierarchy to such things.

OSM simply doesn't tag to that degree of detail most of the time. If it
did, it'd be implemented as a full-on GIS system. I personally want a
system where I never need to tag things like
in any level of detail other than "cycleway=aaaargh! (on the left)"

But saying "has some things along the side of it" is something we can do
already. It'd be helpful sometimes to add "on the left" to that.

Andrew Chadwick

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