[OSM-talk] stop deleting abandoned railroads

Frederik Ramm frederik at remote.org
Tue Aug 11 10:07:05 UTC 2015


On 08/11/2015 07:09 AM, Russ Nelson wrote:
> 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? 

Errr... you are looking for a trail that follows an abandoned railway
line, and you complain that the abandoned railway line is missing from OSM?

If you were complaining that the trail isn't there then I'd understand,
and you'd have my full support for adding it. But complaining instead
that the abandoned railway isn't there...?

> 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.

Yes, and therefore it is totally ok to map the buildings as they are,
the bent driveways, and other stuff that is there. This is not an excuse
to map an abandoned railway that isn't there.

I can understand that mapping historical railway lines is of interest to
some. I find it a very interesting topic myself, and I'd love to have a
project where I can simply say "give me the railway landscape as it was
in 1915". People who come up with a project to make that happen have my
respect. OpenStreetMap, however, is not that project.

> 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.

No, surely not, if there are actual rails on the ground then I'd say
they should be mapped. An abandoned railway line having some rails in
some places is not, however, sufficient reason to map the whole
abandoned railway line even where tracks are removed.

> 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.

I see nothing against mapping this "rail-trail" as a proper track on OSM
if that's what it is today. Just not as an abandoned railway.

Anyone who maps the trail as an abandoned railway with an intended "side
meaning" of there also being a trail will risk this information to be
removed; map it as what it is, instead of what it was, and you'll be fine.

> And the railroad way that would be the trail got deleted. 

Yes, the trail should have been mapped as a trail, not as a railroad.

> 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!

Delete things you don't see (with some notable exceptions, abandoned
railways not being among them).


Frederik Ramm  ##  eMail frederik at remote.org  ##  N49°00'09" E008°23'33"

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