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

How should we map simple "footways" that connect different buildings inside a compound? Tracks? Service? Footway? Does it depend on the size? There are of course no "footway" signs as it is not a public area.

asked 06 Dec '12, 12:06

AddisMap_Alexander's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

If it's wide enough for vehicular traffic and the primary use is by people on foot I'd probably use highway=footway. However, I wouldn't obsess about getting the tagging "exactly right" for now - far better that it's added to the map as something that's nearly right than not added at all.

There has been lots of discussion of how to tag narrow or wide multi-use paths (search through the mailing lists and wiki edits for "highway=footway" and "highway=path" for more details). You're there (or at least are looking over the fence) and are in a better possition to judge than anyone else. If there are other local mappers, perhaps ask them too?

There's an article here that describes this "choose what best fits" approach. Unfortunately, "footway", "path" and "cycleway" mean different things to different people so you won't get general agreement here - so you, as the person "on the ground" gets to choose.

permanent link

answered 06 Dec '12, 14:22

SomeoneElse's gravatar image

SomeoneElse ♦
accept rate: 16%

For mapping footways (ways that are unsuitable or forbidden for vehicles) you can either choose between highway=footway or highway=path. Both tags can express the same when combined with certain access tags. See the default access values for details.

(Theoretically you could also use a completely different highway category and apply lots of access tags but you shouldn't do this as this is nonsense and most renderers and routing applications also use the highway class for additional implications).

If the ways you want to map are mainly for pedestrians and forbid bicycle usage, then go for footway. If they allow bicycles then you can either add the bicycle access tag when using footway or use path without any additional tagging.

If you are curious why there are two different tagging methods then I suggest reading these answer to related questions: one two.

Regarding tracks and services: A track is mainly for agricultural and forestry vehicles and thus often found outside of cities or at the border of them, but rarely inside. A driveway instead is a way for vehicles leading to a property. Both are unsuited for tagging pedestrian-only ways. Take a look at this question for more details on them.

permanent link

answered 06 Dec '12, 14:23

scai's gravatar image

scai ♦
accept rate: 23%

edited 06 Dec '12, 14:45

If the way is intended to be used as an emergency access (e.g. designed that an ambulance can access the building) but otherwise vehicles are not allowed, you can add the access-tag emergency=yes on the footway.

Emergency routing can make sense in large areas, e.g. university campusses or big city parks.

(10 Dec '12, 09:52) moszkva ter

Hi, are the footways paved or just a so called elephant path, between entrances in different buildings ? If it’s paved officially use footpath, but if not, I would go for track. Greetz

permanent link

answered 06 Dec '12, 13:12

Hendrikklaas's gravatar image

accept rate: 5%

A track is usually for agricultural and/or forestry vehicles and certainly wrong here.

(06 Dec '12, 13:31) scai ♦

What do you mean by footpath? highway=footway ?

(06 Dec '12, 14:05) AddisMap_Ale...

If anyone's wondering about "elephant paths" (not a term I'd heard before) they're more usually referred to as "desire lines" or "paths of desire".

(06 Dec '12, 14:24) SomeoneElse ♦

Follow this question

By Email:

Once you sign in you will be able to subscribe for any updates here



Answers and Comments

Markdown Basics

  • *italic* or _italic_
  • **bold** or __bold__
  • link:[text]( "title")
  • image?![alt text](/path/img.jpg "title")
  • numbered list: 1. Foo 2. Bar
  • to add a line break simply add two spaces to where you would like the new line to be.
  • basic HTML tags are also supported

Question tags:


question asked: 06 Dec '12, 12:06

question was seen: 3,955 times

last updated: 10 Dec '12, 09:52

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