By scenic route, I mean a DRIVING Scenic Route as designated by signs, for example, a Virginia Byway, or something like the Lariat Loop in Colorado. I can't find any way at this time to designate such in OSM, which is kind of surprising.

asked 15 Aug '13, 02:26

yourvillagemaps's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

I had the same question some months ago. The answer from the powers that be was that there was no such option. The answerer expressed a surprise too and indicated that perhaps someone from the programmers would look into, but nothing happened. It is a major omission. Martin

(15 Aug '13, 03:09) slover98

There are no "powers that be" in OpenStreetMap, nor is there a team called "the programmers". OpenStreetMap is an open, collaborative project that has many members in different countries who all work on areas (both geographic and topical) that interest them. They're just like you and don't have any special powers or authority. Things get done through discussion, experimentation, cooperation and most of all enthusiasm. If you'd like to see something happen in the project, the best way it's to find others to might want the same things and come up with a plan of how you'll achieve it.

(15 Aug '13, 07:20) Jonathan Ben...

At the risk of duplicating information in existing answers, here's my take.

The major hint is in the name Scenic Route, which suggests consulting route on the wiki, also the relevant wikipedia page is useful.

I generally use a similar approach to that of he_the_great, but look for a well-known feature which is similar on OpenStreetMap. The candidates I chose for a scenic route were : the Romantic Road, the German Alpine Road, and the Blue Ridge Parkway. In France there are many Routes du Vin, but I'm not so familiar with them, whereas I have driven on my three main candidates.

  • The Romantic Road is mapped with a relation route=road and tourism=yes tags.
  • The Alpine road does not appear to be mapped.
  • Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive are mapped but not using a relation because they were actually built and named as single entities. Route relations would enable all the separate ways sharing the name to be accessed together and information such as their membership of the National Park System to be noted.

Searching the OSM Wiki for Romantische Strasse links to a page on Tourist Routes (Ferienstrasse) for Germany. This contains a list of such routes, how much of a route has been mapped, and advice on mapping such routes including recommended tags. (It is always a good idea to check if something has been mapped in Germany because of the larger size of the mapping community).

There is another type of scenic road, notably indicated on Michelin maps, but this depends entirely on subjective judgement and is therefore not suitable for mapping on OSM. This is a good job as many sections of so-called scenic routes are in my, subjective, opinion not very scenic.

So in summary. Start looking for something specific which is similar to what you want to map either using a search engine or directly on OSM. Once you find something you are likely to discover that someone else has already mapped something, and that there may be a reasonable amount of documentation. Don't believe people who talk about the 'powers that be', as they clearly are poorly informed.

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answered 15 Aug '13, 12:05

SK53's gravatar image

SK53 ♦
accept rate: 20%

In regard to "programmers" what I had in mind was a group of people referred to in another discussion group lovingly as a 'few crazy old men':

Many "commercial" road atlases use - a green shadow for scenic roads or scenic byways - A yellow-highlighted (caption) background for city/town names with a certain density of cultural POIs - A framed yellow-highlighte background box for city/town names extremely worth seeing (I think there is a UNESCO scale)

I could code this in our "Touring view" map style, that would be the perfect place for that.

But if there is no OSM tag, I guess we are bust ... :-( Andre Oid
Jun 11

Indeed Hardy,

Very nice idea, make me think about the old Michelin maps!. But if it is not in the osm data (as a tag ) nothing can be done by Osmand. So it has to be posted on Osm discussion group (s) (again), hoping a few crazy old men driving in 60 years old cabriolets and having a lot of spare time pick up the idea!

The issue for the user is not whether there is a tag for scenic roads but whether OSM can render them differently from other types of roads, so as a user I can clearly see where such roads are. IN the US, there is a list of state and federal roads designated as scenic routes, so these would not be subject to personal interpretation.

It seems that OSM does not have the capability to graphically distinguish such roads.

(15 Aug '13, 12:37) slover98

Do please provide a link to this dicussion: it looks as if it is not directly related to the original question.

Note my second last paragraph, the Michelin Map scenic road is not suitable for OSM as it is down to individual preferences. Michelin probably do have criteria, but many such things are actually not much more than marketing scams.

(15 Aug '13, 12:54) SK53 ♦

FWIW the "other discussion" is an osmand one:!msg/osmand/hYqed7vX6kc/L9la2VN1LY4J

Presumably the developers in that discussion are far too busy behind their keyboards to get out and map stuff :)

(15 Aug '13, 13:10) SomeoneElse ♦

In regard to the scenic routes they are established by the Department (=Ministry) of transportation, so there would not be an issue as raised above in regard to the subjectivity of Michelin maps:

I can locate the link about the "crazy men in their 60s" but I think it just diverts the discussion from the real issues, among them whether OSM can graphically distinguish scenic routes from other types of roads. If it cannot, it is a major omission and drawback.

(15 Aug '13, 13:23) slover98

OSM is NOT any one map - it's the data. OSM can contain any data that people (i.e. you) add to it.

The osmand folks were saying that there's no point in adding support for any kinds of "scenic routes" because they don't see it in the data. It's not in the data because no-one (well, relatively few people - see @SK53's link above for real examples) are mapping driving "scenic routes").

Solution - get out and map!

(15 Aug '13, 13:30) SomeoneElse ♦

Wow, 'a major omission'. I think it's on the marginal end of nice to have for certain use-cases. A major omission would be something like not having New York on the map. It's useful to have a sense of perspective on these matters: then people will take your comments more seriously.

(15 Aug '13, 13:41) SK53 ♦

That's what I have been doing since April 11 with 1,308 edits as you can see.


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Mapper since: April 11, 2013 | Contributor terms: Accepted 4 months ago

If you have an example of your rendering of a scenic route, I would be happy to examine it and adopt your approach. As can be seen from the above comments, there is a tag to use highway= scenic

QUESTION: Can OSM render this type of road (i.e highway=scenic) differently (in color, graphic, etc.)?

(15 Aug '13, 13:49) slover98
showing 5 of 7 show 2 more comments

My general approach for find how to tag something has been to google: osm [thing I want to do]

In this case: osm scenic route

I've found a page on key:scenic which appears to be what you want. I also found a mapping of Northern Scenic Route. You likely can use the tag on relations if the route travels several roads.

However I don't know of software that could show such routes.

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answered 15 Aug '13, 05:32

he_the_great's gravatar image

accept rate: 14%

You could have a look at Kurviger which generates scenic motorcycle routes, which can be also used by car. Kurviger avoids cities and highways, while preferring curves and slopes, which will result in a pretty scenic drive. More information can be found in the OSM Wiki.

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answered 24 Nov '17, 03:44

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accept rate: 0%


The question was about how to tag an official/designated scenic route, not how to create a personal route.

(24 Nov '17, 17:42) alester
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question asked: 15 Aug '13, 02:26

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last updated: 24 Nov '17, 17:42

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