[OSM-talk] Abandoned Rails

Blake Girardot bgirardot at gmail.com
Tue Aug 25 12:56:48 UTC 2015

On 8/21/2015 8:51 PM, Gregory Arenius wrote:
> The OSM community is what OSM is even more than it is a map.  People
> that are passionate about railways are a part of that community and they
> do contribute a lot, especially in the US where we don't have as many
> mappers.  They pour lots of time and love and passion into their
> efforts.  I don't think a policy of deleting that work just because what
> they're mapping isn't immediately visible on the ground is a good way of
> building and strengthening our community.  In fact, as it is easy to see
> in this thread, its actively doing the opposite.  And community is what
> makes OSM.
> I'd therefor like to propose that abandoned railways be treated like
> borders.  Even if you can't see it along a given stretch there are
> people who can and they have put a huge amount of effort into that
> work.  Lets respect that and strengthen the community rather than
> deleting it and doing the opposite.
> Cheers,
> Greg

I just want to add my voice to those who support the above approach.

I am not a railway enthusiast, but I do recognize the important role 
they play in the development and landscape of the US and probably other 

I really appreciate those who map in-use, disused and abandoned 
railways, thank you for adding important, rich and useful data to the map.

I think part of this conversation should be reprized: Abandoned railways 
are recognizable by people who know what they are looking at, they are 
in essence "there on the ground currently", just because I don't have 
the knowledge to recognize and map them, does not mean they do not exist.

All I understood Russ to be asking was to stop deleting and suggesting 
deletion of abandoned railways without checking with the person or 
people who know what they are doing in regards to mapping them and I 
agree that should stop.

As mentioned above, I see no harm to mapping an abandoned railway, even 
if it is based on two end points and knowledge of the railway system. No 
one has to render it, but people like me who print custom maps for 
hiking / exploring / geocaching might very well choose to render it for 
our activities as they are part of the landscape even if not obvious.

I would also like to see them in OHM just help OHM along, but not 
instead of in OSM.


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