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I have had a cordial disagreeement with another mapper about the proper philosophy for tagging ways. When I encounter a fire road I tag it as a footway if there is a barrier that physically prevents vehicles from accessing it legally. The reason I do this is because I use OSM data extensively for vehicle navigation and would not want to be directed onto a way that I could not use. The disagreeing mapper stated that I should tag it as a track if it is large enough to admit a vehicle, even if such navigation is prohibited and/or requires 4 wheel drive to access. Which is the generally accepted philosophy?

asked 29 May '12, 21:23

ras_oscar's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%


Related question: How to tag a fire department-controlled gate?

You probably want to use access=no , emergency=yes .

(30 May '12, 08:45) sleske

If it is something that I would normally map as a track, then I would map it as a track, add the barriers and add access tags - maybe something like "access=no,foot=yes".

If your vehicle navigator still directs you into roads with access=no or access=private then your navigator is broken, but that should not be fixed by trying to map things as something else.

This sound like a variant of the golden rule "Don't map for the renderer".

One may also think about the case that someone could actually write a navigator for fire vehicles. If you have tagged your tracks as footways in order to fit your own needs in your broken navigator, then the navigator in the fire vehicle may get into problems navigating the fire roads.

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answered 29 May '12, 22:46

gnurk's gravatar image

accept rate: 15%

In general, we'd like OSM data to closely depict the reality on the ground, for various, even "unexpected", uses.

We know for sure that emergency services in some parts of the world are already using OSM data - perhaps not relying on OSM exclusively but at least using it as an auxiliary source of information. So even if conventional vehicles aren't allowed, it would be better to tag the way so that a potential emergency services routing system could use it (e.g. by applying one of the access tags).

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answered 29 May '12, 22:50

Frederik%20Ramm's gravatar image

Frederik Ramm ♦
accept rate: 23%

ok. I understand. However, if I tag it as track and put barriers at the ends(which most closeley represents the ground truth) how would I differentiate between barriers can open for emergency vehicles with the proper key, as opposed to an immobile barrier such as a guard rail or large rocks? I have encountered both.

(30 May '12, 00:28) ras_oscar

You have a lot of barriers to chose from at and most of them implies access=no. But if you look at for example or you will see that the combination with the access tag is considered useful. So you could tag your locked barrier with something like "barrier=gate,access=private,foot=yes,bicycle=no" and the blocks maybe are something like "barrier=block,foot=yes,bicycle=yes".

(30 May '12, 00:48) gnurk

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question asked: 29 May '12, 21:23

question was seen: 3,079 times

last updated: 30 May '12, 08:47

NOTICE: is no longer in use from 1st March 2024. Please use the OpenStreetMap Community Forum