I'm about too add logging roads to OSM. I understand I need to tag them as "track" and specify the grade, but how do I tag the old logging roads? Those roads are not accessible with any vehicle and vegetation is growing on them (by vegetation, I mean trees), On the other hand, they are still visible and you could use them again with a little work...

Here's an example

Thanks in advance.

asked 25 Feb '14, 02:37

operationivy12's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

edited 25 Feb '14, 14:37

aseerel4c26's gravatar image

aseerel4c26 ♦

Note: A very similar question in German: zugewachsenen-weg-lieber-löschen

(25 Feb '14, 11:31) aseerel4c26 ♦

  • If the "roads" are "not accessible with any vehicle" then it should not be a track. Is it accessible by foot/bicycle? Then highway=path may be an (additional) appropriate tag.
  • Add tags with the keys surface and smoothness for a physical description.
  • In addition you could tag the trail_visibility. example.
  • Use man_made = cutline (see the wiki page for a description and make your judgement if it fits). example.
  • Add the disused: or even abandoned: key prefix. So, instead of the previous (if it was one a track) highway=track use this: abandoned:highway=track (already existing some times in our database). This way it is easy for mappers to see what it once was. And potentially it also has some information for users (could be rendered on maps).
  • Using a description could make it clear to mappers (and users) what this way really is. Use a note tag if your message should only be directed at mappers.

Disclaimer: all that is not law but personal opinion / judgement.

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answered 25 Feb '14, 11:17

aseerel4c26's gravatar image

aseerel4c26 ♦
accept rate: 18%

edited 25 Feb '14, 13:53


First, thank you for your answer. Yes they are accessible by foot and they are use mostly by hunters, fishermen and forester. Therefore, they should be visible on the map. Base on your suggestions, I propose the following tags:

  • abandoned:highway=track (based on the description for disused "For features which can only be returned to use with significant repair efforts, use Key:abandoned");
  • bicycle = no;
  • foot = yes;
  • horse = no;
  • motor_vehicle = no;
  • smoothness = very_horrible;
  • surface = till (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Till);
  • trail_visibility = bad;
  • note = Old logging road only accessible by foot.

Any further suggestion to improve tagging?

(25 Feb '14, 13:38) operationivy12

If they are usable by foot and are used, the I would add highway=path.

Regarding "should be visible on the map": well, we do not map for "the map" (since there is no "the" map - there are many) but for correct data.

I would not use access restrictions (legal!) if those are not present in reality. It seems you want to add "bicycle = no" because you think the path is not usable by bike. This is already covered in smoothness and surface.

"till" is not even used once (currently). I would try to stay in the established broader classifications. Used values. Isn't that fine_gravel?

Your note sounds like a general description which I would add as "description" but not as a "note".

So in essence:

  • highway = path
  • abandoned:highway = track
  • smoothness = very_horrible
  • surface = fine_gravel
  • trail_visibility = bad
  • description = Old logging road only accessible by foot.
(25 Feb '14, 13:49) aseerel4c26 ♦

I wouldn't use "till" for the surface unless it's important that it's glacial rubbish as opposed to some other sort of dirt. Perhaps one of the normal surface tags would work better?:


If you really can't get even a logging tractor up it, then it's probably not a track any more, as you say.

"trail_visibility = bad;" implies that you can't see on foot where the old logging road used to go. Is that definitely the case? Obviously you'll need to ground-survey each one to find that out. Much the same applies to smoothness.

I'd also add "highway=footway" if it's only accessible on foot.

(25 Feb '14, 13:53) SomeoneElse ♦

Ok, I agree with you for the tagging them as "path" and "abandoned track".

If I understand correctly, a restriction is use if there is really a restriction of some sort (legal, etc.) in real life.

I'm not sure about "fine_gravel", this is not quite the same material. Till is a mix of material of all dimensions left there during and after the glaciation. It contains gravel, but is not limited to. The closest approximation would be "dirt" I think.

(25 Feb '14, 14:10) operationivy12

Yes, it need work if you want to use it again with logging machinery or other vehicles. Usually, we use a dozer or an excavator to remove young trees and repair them. As I said, the track is still there but covered by vegetation. I guess it's open for interpretation...

(25 Feb '14, 14:25) operationivy12

@operationivy: For "surface": also look at the description on the wiki page (I have added a link in my text above). Some classification is needed here to make "surface" a bit useful (to automatic processing, e.g. for a map rendering or routing). I do not really know this surface myself, sorry. You may use two tags: surface=dirt and description:surface=till.

Oh, and, regarding footway vs. path, I would also look out for regional tagging conventions. There are used in a somewhat different meaning depending on the region.

(25 Feb '14, 14:33) aseerel4c26 ♦

I'm not sure about "footway" or "path", we are a french speaking region... I'll make inquiries for the exact translation of the french word before uploading to OSM.

Thanks for your help.

(25 Feb '14, 14:42) operationivy12

@operationivy: you do not need to translate, but ... hmmm ... use the tag in the meaning as it is usually used. However, not that important. Also see the French explanation about path vs. footway in our wiki.

(25 Feb '14, 14:49) aseerel4c26 ♦

"Path" it is.

(25 Feb '14, 14:55) operationivy12

... and there's more discussion of footway vs path here - but you're already asking exactly the right questions.

(25 Feb '14, 14:59) SomeoneElse ♦
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question asked: 25 Feb '14, 02:37

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last updated: 25 Feb '14, 14:59

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