[OSM-talk] amenity=doctor or amenity=doctors ? [tagging]

Mike Harris mikh43 at googlemail.com
Mon Feb 23 17:26:00 GMT 2009


I guessed it was a little t-i-c (:>) but as it raised an issue I was
interested in, I took the opportunity to post!

You have returned the compliment!

As what might be described as a "footpath worker" (and getting very involved
outside of OSM in all sorts of footpath issues), when I was a complete OSM
newbie (as opposed to having 'P' plates) I read the wiki avidly and was a
bit surprised to find that the recommendation for UK (should be England and
Wales anyway!) public footpaths (i.e. public rights of way on foot) was
highway=footway plus foot=yes. Whereas imho it should be foot=designated.
But as a newbie I didn't then dare to rock the boat and have now tagged
hundreds of ways with foot=yes! But your first thought seems eminently
sensible - foot=designated where there is a public 'right' of way and
foot=yes where a path is physically capable of being walked on foot. By the
same token, imho, a public bridleway (with 'bridleway' as defined in rights
of way law) should be highway=track plus foot=yes and horse=designated and
(usually - this is a more complex legal issue) bicycle=yes. But the wiki
recommends foot=yes plus horse=yes etc. In short, the wiki
http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/UK_public_rights_of_way doesn't seem to
know about x=designated at all.

There is a little sentence on the same page that reads:

"It would be ideal (to ensure your data shows up in renderers) to use the
following combinations of tags."

So maybe that was why =designated was not used (as I have never used it
myself, I haven't checked the rendering - but then there is the old saw
about not tagging for the renderers!).

Yet another take on all this is found on
http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:access !

If we were starting from scratch I would strongly recommend the use of
=designated for public rights of way but, unless someone wants to set up a
new bot, this would require a huge amount of re-tagging (and a bot for the
change would be hard to program unless one had knowledge of the rights of
way status of each and every footway etc.).

In an ideal and consistent logical world (i.e. not a wiki?!) we would
perhaps use =designated, =permissive and =no for legality, reserving =yes
for physical characteristics enabling the specified type of use (and perhaps
implying permissive). This would also help with the problem of multi-user
paths that are not public rights of way, such as most cycleways forming part
of the regional and national networks - foot=permissive, bicycle=permissive,
motorcar=no, motorcycle=no, horse=??? - as opposed to the cycleways that are
specifically for cyclists alongside major roads (sometimes split only by a
painted line from a parallel footway) - foot=no, bicycle=designated, etc.

Where I would really like to see the "old hands" at osm chiming in on this
whole nexus of issues is to provide advice as to how to be logical and
consistent - and yet avoid massive retrospective changes to tagging!

Where do we go from here!


-----Original Message-----
From: Ed Loach [mailto:ed at loach.me.uk] 
Sent: 23 February 2009 14:12
To: 'Mike Harris'
Cc: talk at openstreetmap.org
Subject: RE: [OSM-talk] amenity=doctor or amenity=doctors ? [tagging]

Mike wrote:

> I don't like highway=path very much either - but there are 
> circumstances when I do fall back on using it. Perhaps Ed or someone 
> can advise what a better option would be?

My comment was rather tongue in cheek, but I do personally feel that path is
overused. Part of my problem with it is that everyone seems to use it
slightly differently. I believe it is common in Germany to use it in
preference to either highway=footway/bicycle=yes or whatever other
combinations it might reflect. I've used it once or twice to reflect an
obvious way through a grassy area which also has a grass surface (the
difference being the obvious lengths of grass). These days I am more likely
to use highway=footway/surface=grass (although that latter gets highlighted
as not in Map Features by maplint which is a bit of a shame).

Having said that I don't tend to tag the local (Essex, UK) public footpaths
differently to any other footpaths between two places. I'm sure I will at
some point, but never could get my head around the wiki page suggestions
(though have it bookmarked to reread when I have a little more time). Is it
highway=footway/foot=designated for the public ones? I'll have to check, but
that sounds sensible.
Actually, it seems not. 
They seem to suggest use foot=yes, which seems a bit silly if the way is
already tagged as a footway as I would assume yes. Or perhaps that's why it
is suggested - use an unnecessary tag to indicate "public" rather than any
other sort? Perhaps that is why I don't try and separately tag public
footpaths from say the paths that join cul-de-sacs on housing estates at the


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