[OSM-talk] amenity=doctor or amenity=doctors ? [tagging]
mikh43 at googlemail.com
Tue Feb 24 09:46:54 GMT 2009
> The tag page:
> refers to the
> page that you mentioned.
This then would seem to make foot=yes unavailable as a description of the
physical nature of the way and to duplicate foot=designated. What would we
then use to describe the physical nature? Similarly if bicycle=yes (even if
we already have an option of bicycle=designated) means that bicycles are
legally allowed on a way then how do we say whether a way is suitable for
bicycles? Do we resort to using surface= or even smoothness= ?
Although custom seems to dictate that foot=yes etc. are legal descriptors,
consistency and avoidance of duplication would still suggest =yes for
physical and = designated for legal.
Perhaps the answer is to continue to use access=designated rather than
foot=designated - see
Bottom line still seems to be that confusion reigns!
> Things are further complicated by landowners diverting paths (sometimes
legally, sometimes not) and new trails such as
> former railway lines for which "who is currently invited to use the trail"
is clear, but the permanent legal status
Where the diverted route is legal I will tag that foot=yes ((as I am so far
sticking to the custom of this having legal status meaning) and add a note
for information if this differs from what is shown on the OS map; if the
original route is still walkable I will tag that foot=path and perhaps add a
Where the diversion is illegal I will tag the diversion as foot=path and add
a note; if the correct route is walkable I will tag that foot=yes and
perhaps add a note; if the correct route is obstructed I will map the route
up to the obstruction, map and tag the obstruction and add a note.
We have several converted former railway lines in Cheshire and I have been
in discussion with colleagues on these as all are multi-use although
priorities differ. In one case the county council has designated the old
railway as a route for riders - but cyclists and walkers have also adopted
the route; legally the use is only permissive for every class of user as it
is not a right of way; here I would recommend tagging as highway=track plus
tracktype=grade1 plus foot / bicycle / horse = permissive; cyclists tend to
prefer to tag as highway=cycleway but riders and walkers don't like this
very much (!) so I prefer my solution as less judgmental! By contrast, in
another case SusTrans has fully paved the track and designated it as part of
a national cycleway; again the legal status if permissive for cyclists and
walkers (don't know about riders on this one); my first inclination was to
tag as highway=track, tracktype=grade1, surface=paved, foot / bicycle = yes;
I have been persuaded by the cycling community to tag as highway=cycleway,
foot / bicycle = yes.
The bottom line is that confusion reigns!
> Finally - a question. How widespread is the use of the yellow / blue /
red scheme described on UK_public_rights_of_way? > I've seen it southwest
of London and maybe parts of Oxfordshire, but don't recall it elsewhere.
Excellent question - I had not thought of it because I am so familiar with
the scheme (as one of those who actually put the waymarks in place!) - but
it does give clear information as to legal status in England and Wales.
The scheme is a recommended one that extends over the whole of England and
Wales and, in my experience at least, is quite widely and fairly
consistently used. Two broad types of waymark are concerned:
1. Formal quasi-legal waymarks that are fully authorised by the Highway
Authority (e.g. the County Council). These usually (but not always) carry
the name of the Highway Authority (e.g. Essex County Council); they may (but
usually do not) carry words describing the legal status (e.g. "Public
Footpath"); they should not carry other wording that indicates a named or
lettered trail. Precise designs vary a bit.
2. Informal waymarks with no legal standing but are 'permitted'. These
should never obscure Type 1 waymarks. They normally carry a letter ("B" for
paths recommended and maintained in parish B), acronym (NCW for the North
Cheshire Way) or trail name (Delamere Way).
In both cases the colour scheme should be the same (although Type 2 waymarks
can be rather inconsistent).
The colour scheme indicates legal status; any colour other than white
implies a public right of way (though yellow is often misused on Type 2
waymarks even where the way is not a public right of way).
White: permissive route - should carry the word "permissive" somewhere -
not a public right of way. Unfortunately yellow weathers to white - so some
"white" waymarks are really yellow! Look for the word permissive.
Yellow: public footpath - i.e. a public right of way on foot but not for
higher classes of user.
Blue: public bridleway - i.e. a public right of way on horseback and on
foot but not for higher classes of user. Cyclists also have (but only since
1968) a legal right of use unless this has been removed by local over-riding
regulation (local regulation can only over-ride for cyclists), but they must
give way to walkers and riders.
Red: "byway open to all traffic" (aka "BOAT") - a misleading term but
the correct legal one. This is a "carriageway" and thus a right of way for
"vehicular traffic" but one that is used primarily for the purposes for
which footpaths and bridleways are used (i.e. by walkers and horse-riders).
There are clear rights for walkers, horse-riders and probably cyclists.
However, the type of vehicular traffic and the conditions of use are defined
on an ad hoc basis for each BOAT and it cannot be assumed that any vehicle
can use the way at any time and in any manner!
Plum: "restricted byway" - a new term that replaces the former
(ill-defined and no longer extant) "road used as public path" or RUPP). A
public right of way on foot, on horseback or leading a horse and for
vehicles that are NOT mechanically propelled (i.e. pedal cyclists and
horse-drawn vehicles but NOT motor cars, motor cycles, quad bikes, motorised
Like anything else that is created and managed by humans the scheme is not
always applied perfectly (!) A common failing is the use of yellow waymarks
where another colour should be used - simply because stocks of yellow ones
tend to be larger and more readily available!
Waymarking problems should be reported to your local Highway Authority
and/or to your local walking group.
Hope this helps. Should I add an abbreviated form to the wiki - perhaps on
the mis-named UK Public Rights of Way page?
From: Someoneelse [mailto:lists at mail.atownsend.org.uk]
Sent: 23 February 2009 19:55
To: Mike Harris
Cc: talk at openstreetmap.org
Subject: Re: [OSM-talk] amenity=doctor or amenity=doctors ? [tagging]
Either my memory is playing up (entirely possible) or the Wiki, although
still confusing*, is actually clearer than it used to be on this. The tag
refers to the
page that you mentioned.
which makes it clear that it's about the legal right of access rather than
the physical possibility of doing so.
Unfortunately, UK_public_rights_of_way doesn't refer to either of these or
make it clear what the "yes" in "foot=yes; highway=footway" actually means
(although "UK_Countryside_mapping" does explain "yes").
A significant minority of the footpaths that I add are actually
"foot=unknown" since although it's a path that "everyone uses"
there's actually nothing on the ground that says that it is a public
footpath - just a hole in a hedge and a muddy track across a field.
Things are further complicated by landowners diverting paths (sometimes
legally, sometimes not) and new trails such as former railway lines for
which "who is currently invited to use the trail" is clear, but the
permanent legal status isn't.
*thinking about it, read without the UK- (actually England and Wales-)
specific pages, and approached from the perspective of adding what's on the
ground first, and then adding what is known about access rights, it actually
makes much more sense.
Finally - a question. How widespread is the use of the yellow / blue / red
scheme described on UK_public_rights_of_way? I've seen it southwest of
London and maybe parts of Oxfordshire, but don't recall it elsewhere.
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