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I the UK we can check "Rights of Way" on our local county council web site or look at "The Definitive Map" in some council offices.If we walk and trace a path that we know exists but as no marker posts of status ,maybe they have been torn out or fallen down. Can we confirm the status of ways and tag the ways on OSM accordingly or not.what is the Definitive answer?

asked 09 Feb '11, 08:13

andy%20mackey's gravatar image

andy mackey
accept rate: 4%

There's been a lot of discussion on the GB mailing lists about this, and the answer (although generally "no") isn't straightforward:

The "definitive map" is usually (always?) based on an underlying OS map and therefore the problem arises "is that a suitable source to derive from?". Probably not - although the rights of way data have of course come from the council in the first place.

However, if you can get hold of a "definitive statement" expressed in terms that don't depend on an OS map, then you may be able to use that - but as with any source of external data check its provenance and accuracy.

A quick web search of: "definitive map" "definitive statement" turns up a few local authorities which might be helpful.

A search of the talk-GB list such as: "definitive statement" should find previous discussions, including contributions from people who deal with rights of way every day.

Finally, thanks for saying that you're actually walking these paths - as a walker myself knowing that someone has actually been down there and mapped e.g. fences and stiles is far more useful than a line traced from (say) and old NPE map.

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answered 09 Feb '11, 09:45

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SomeoneElse ♦
accept rate: 16%


The paths can be tagged as highway=footway whether the signs are there or not. If they are signed, it is increasingly common that they are also tagged designation=public_footpath. The wiki is a mess on this topic, but there is a bit on under Copyright Issues which relates.

(09 Feb '11, 10:57) EdLoach ♦

A good point - I always use "designation" for e.g. public_footpath, restricted_byway etc. It's nicely orthogonal to other access tagging and makes it much easier when looking at a map made from OSM data to work out what's a public footpath and what isn't.

(09 Feb '11, 11:20) SomeoneElse ♦

As a general comment, we don't have any right to the information. So saying "the sign had fallen down" is no excuse for copying from a map: it's just tough luck on us.

The correct way is to badger the council into putting the signs back up, or to get the information from them directly with explicit permission to use it in OSM.

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answered 09 Feb '11, 11:18

Richard's gravatar image

Richard ♦
accept rate: 18%

perhaps a telephone call or email to the council asking is TL 123456 to TL 234567 a foot path or what ever, should be ok but I'm sure they would refer us to the Definitive Map. I can't help thinking that it like reading a reference book but don't use the info or tell anyone what you've leart

(09 Feb '11, 12:52) andy mackey

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question asked: 09 Feb '11, 08:13

question was seen: 4,756 times

last updated: 09 Feb '11, 12:52

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