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I have noticed a continual increase of sidewalks (pavements) being mapped as highway=footway adjacent to streets, whereby no increase in content is gained and the map therefore gets more cluttered, etc. and more connection errors are made.

The sidewalk attribute is more than adequate in most cases and IMHO sidewalks should only be mapped separately (as highway=path) if they are combined with bicycle lanes either segregated yes or no.

This leads to the following question: Should one remove these redundant ways and add the sidewalk attribute to the pertinent street? This would lead to some bitterness between some contributors and we don't want that, do we?. As contacting every perpetrator is not an option I just leave things as they are. Anyway I am not sure that I am right!

If not then every parallel sidewalk should be connected to highway=crossing which again is just means more redundant information.

What, then, is the preferred way?

If the sidewalk attribute is preferred then shouldn't OSMI indicate this and report redundant ways under "routing"?

asked 09 Jan '14, 16:07

dcp's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

closed 10 Jan '14, 06:34


Perhaps this question might be better suited to one of the mailing lists, since there's not really one "correct" answer?

(09 Jan '14, 16:30) SomeoneElse ♦

Which mailing list would you recommend?

(09 Jan '14, 16:42) dcp

If related to a particular country, that country's mailing list (I'd say that that's relevant because the way that sidewalks are arranged varies hugely from country to country. In parts of e.g. Helsinki it makes sense to map sidewalks as separate because they form a complementary network to roads, and often "go off and do their own thing". In much of the UK, the opposite is true).

If not related to a particular country, then the "tagging" list might be the best place (although discussions there are sometimes more theoretical and less practical than might be useful).

(09 Jan '14, 16:49) SomeoneElse ♦

Thank you all for your useful comments. I can see the pros/cons quiet clearly and leave things as they are. I'll now close this question that is not a question.

(10 Jan '14, 06:33) dcp

I disagree with closing it. Yes the StackOverflow motto is to not ask controversial questions and those which have an answer. But it makes no sense in OSM since most things being dealt with are convention, they are important questions to ask. You'll get more views if you go to a mailing list, but you won't get a better answer. The technology behind slant is probably more appropriate than SE:

(10 Jan '14, 17:58) he_the_great

The question has been closed for the following reason "Too subjective and argumentative" by dcp 10 Jan '14, 06:34

Mapping sidewalks is great because you can get into the nitty gritty details about where you can cross, the grade of the sidewalk, if it is wheelchair friendly (based on type of wheelchair).

But when you don't get into the nitty gritty, then it is a pain. Did you connect every road you crossed (I think highway=crossing is redundant and probably should be looked into).

I'd recommend not mapping sidewalks which are along side the road. If it deviates greatly then map the deviation. Don't try to get into details unless you really want to. If mapping a large network of paths which happen to travel along a road for only small portions, then continue to map the path separate. If it is uncommon in your country for a sidewalk to accompany a road then do prefer mapping a new path over using the tag on the highway.

Finally, don't remove what others have mapped if it is correct. I wish I could say that you can delete it if it is wrong, causing you problems, and not easily fixed, but that isn't in the OSM spirit to my knowledge.

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answered 10 Jan '14, 05:20

he_the_great's gravatar image

accept rate: 14%

I think it is good to indicate sidewalks separately. When I open a map I can see immediately that there are sidewalks and where they lead to. Also, often you have adjacent green areas/parks that have a network of footpaths and these are connected with sidewalks along the streets. If there were no sidewalks indicated along the streets then it would be confusing how to end a footpath where it joins the sidewalk. But it depends on the situation. As there is no strict rule, I would leave what others did as is, unless there is some obvious error.

In Europe sidewalks are very common, not so in the US suburbs, for example, so in US it is beneficial to show them, usually they are also suitable as bike paths.

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answered 09 Jan '14, 19:39

slover98's gravatar image

accept rate: 5%

A partly opposing comment to this answer to this not-really-a-question-question…

Sadly most maps I know do not show sidewalks which are tagged on roads. I think I had seen one (blue line beneath the road when there is a sidewalk), but cannot remember its name currently. If you would "open a map" which rendered sidewalks on roads then you would "see immediately that there are sidewalks and where they lead to". I think that is a useful method (among the other which has pros and cons) for mapping sidewalks if they are directly connected to a road.

(09 Jan '14, 21:36) aseerel4c26 ♦

IMO sidewalks should be mapped via sidewalk tags at least in situations whith no physical separation except a kerb. This is a logical extension of our existing "physical separation" rule for separate highways. Conceptually, those sidewalks are similar to lanes of the road (which we also map as tags).

Conveniently, this also avoids the unsolved problem how an application is supposed to find out which road a separately mapped sidewalk belongs to.

(10 Jan '14, 09:40) Tordanik

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question asked: 09 Jan '14, 16:07

question was seen: 5,866 times

last updated: 10 Jan '14, 17:58

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