[OSM-talk] stop deleting abandoned railroads

Andrew Wiseman awiseman at gmail.com
Tue Aug 11 06:37:20 UTC 2015

Hi Russ,

I would suggest you contact who is saying that or deleting it (if you can see who that is,) and talk to them, nicely, about your concerns. I bet it's just that people probably aren't familiar with the concept of abandoned railroads as a tag. If they don't see a railroad track where there's a railroad tag, they probably just delete it, thinking that's what you do. The unused: tag (or whatever you use) is not super well known, in my opinion.

From reading your message I am guessing you are quite familiar with railroads, but most people aren't. I've had a similar problem where people delete new buildings that are still empty lots on Bing. Not vandalism, just a
lack of understanding.


Sent from my iTelegraph

On Aug 11, 2015, at 1:09 AM, Russ Nelson <nelson at crynwr.com> wrote:

> 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
> can't.
> 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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