[OSM-talk] Sidewalks

Simon Poole simon at poole.ch
Sat Apr 25 11:20:27 UTC 2015

As somebody that has mapped a fair amount of sidewalks as separate ways
(for good reasons) I'm rather split on  the issue (and as a tendency
against adding names to objects that don't actually have them).

The adding a tag to the street in question is all fine and dandy, if

- it is actually a classical sidewalk with just a kerb or a thin strip
of grass,

- you don't need to model a route over the sidewalk or are only
interested in automatic routing,

- you are not adding extra tags for surface, width etc.

In reality classical sidewalks might be the norm in suburbia where in
turn detailed mapping is not such hot topic, but in urban areas (at
least here) you will find easily find on -one- blocks length a
combination, of classical sidewalk, separated by a flowerbed, a wall,
being covered arcade and a couple of things I've likely forgotten.

I don't believe splitting a sidewalk in to 10 different pieces just to
model it to a very impractical doctrine makes any sense.

A further problem is that we currently don't have any other way (than
seperate ways) to model using sidewalks in route relations, which is
particularly an issue if changing sides of the street in question is a
problem (traffic, surface, other issues).

Janko has already pointed out that mapping details of the sidewalks
becomes rather cumbersome (both for mapper and consumer) for physical
details and similar.

In summary I don't quite see why we can't leave it up to the mapper to
choose the appropriate solution. And a properly tagged sidewalk
(highway=footway, footway=sidewalk) can always be ignored if the
application is question is not interested.


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