[OSM-talk] stop deleting abandoned railroads

Russ Nelson nelson at crynwr.com
Tue Aug 11 05:09:17 UTC 2015

Okay, this has to stop. It just has to stop. Whoever is saying "Yes,
go ahead and delete abandoned railroads wherever you don't see a
railroad" has to stop it. They just HAVE to stop it, because people
are using that advice to vandalize the map.

Now, you might think "Goddamnit, does Russell have to start again?"
Yes, I have to start again. I was in north-western Pennsylvania last
weekend looking for the Corry Junction Rail Trail. Problem: it hasn't
been entered into OSM yet. But that's not a problem, right? Because OF
COURSE the railway is there, marked as abandoned, right? It isn't. And
I couldn't find the damned trail because the Traillink description is
inadequate. I finally just drove around where the trail HAD to be, and
found it.

This is unacceptable because:

1) on the bing aerials you can see where the railroad went perfectly
fine. It's a line that goes through people's yards, there is a node
from the TIGER data where it used to cross the roads, there is a tree
line the whole way, buildings are aligned to the railbed, people's
driveways bend out of the way of the railbed, etc.

This is crazy stuff, it's just crazy. Yes, they're not very long, but
they're still connected to the national railroad network. How can
somebody legitimately delete that's obviously there? Answer: they

and worst:

3) The majority of it is a rail-trail. And not y'know, two weedy ruts
from an ATV trespassing. No, this rail-trail has a stone dust base,
permissive gates (with a hole not big enough for an ATV), and tactile
crossings. This is a *serious* rail-trail.

And the railroad way that would be the trail got deleted. If you have
ever said "delete things you don't see", then you need to shut the
hell up, because you are making the map worse. Just stop!

When is it okay to delete things you can't see? Only if it's untouched
TIGER data and you've been there and didn't see it. That's the only
time. Otherwise somebody put that thing into OSM, and they probably
know something you don't.

--my blog is at    http://blog.russnelson.com
Crynwr supports open source software
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