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As a newbie mapper I'm checking and updating footpaths and cycle paths in my local area, and I'd like to check what the policy is regarding cartographic accuracy versus readability. As an example the following page:

has a cycle path parallel to the main East-West road, which is directly next to the road as it crosses the river. However because the original mapper has accurately placed the path in that area, it seems to disappear underneath the road, making the map less useful. Is it reasonable to move the path slightly away from the road so that it can be clearly seen?

asked 11 Jul '12, 14:58

poggie's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%


It's perhaps worth mentioning that the Cycle Map renders the cycle path "on top of" the road:

(11 Jul '12, 15:50) SomeoneElse ♦

Of course for 'making the map less useful', one asks which map?

It may have been better if OpenStreetMap was called something like OpenGeoData, then it may be slightly more obvious that mapnik is not the one 'True Map'

I might have joined the project earlier, originally thinking it was only roads...

(11 Jul '12, 23:18) robbieonsea

No, you shouldn't move the features just to make the map look nicer. Your point about readability is valid, but you don't solve the problem by making the data inaccurate, but by building better tools to cope with the situation. For example, a renderer could realise the two features were colliding and put a user-defined amount of separation between them.

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answered 11 Jul '12, 15:28

Jonathan%20Bennett's gravatar image

Jonathan Ben...
accept rate: 18%

Don't move a path just so it looks better on the map: that's just a variation of tagging for the renderer. If the map isn't as clear as it ought to be at the chosen zoom level, a better way of fixing that is to file a bug on the map style, or perhaps even the renderer code.

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answered 11 Jul '12, 15:12

Vincent%20de%20Phily's gravatar image

Vincent de P... ♦
accept rate: 19%


That said, looking at the Bing imagery of the area you mention, improving the accuracy (the osm way should be positioned in the middle of the physical road) will probably also improve the readability. And there's probably no need to file a renderer bug.

(11 Jul '12, 15:18) Vincent de P... ♦

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question asked: 11 Jul '12, 14:58

question was seen: 3,456 times

last updated: 11 Jul '12, 23:18

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