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I have mostly done mapping in areas I've never been to (just about everywhere I've ever been is already well mapped).

I know that even if I don't know the name of something marking out the area is still putting in data and helpful, but I worry that I'm just making extra work for people.

What if I'm unsure if a line I'm entering a path or a road? I can tell it's a made path of some kind (and not a powerline or dried up river), but on the satellite pictures I'm not confident of my ability to tell if something is a footpath or a narrow road. Is just picking one ok or should I just call it "line" if I'm not sure?

Is putting polygons to indicate a river's width useful? I've seen other's do it sometimes, but I read some comments on here that seemed to indicate it isn't. In general a river's width would be useful to know if you need to cross it an there's no bridge, but is it useful for the sake of this project? If marking riverbeds is there a riverbed tag or do I just make one up?

asked 17 Apr '14, 07:43

Graqu's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

This is a fairly controversial topic.

My 2 cents:

  • in the days before we had high resolution aerial imagery it was common to use highway=road for ways that hadn't been surveyed in person, however that classification is not really useful over a marker that something is there. Today, if the imagery is of good quality I would use a reasonable classification that errs to "lower" values (aka I would not tag a road through a residential area as primary just from imagery).
  • as to extra work: one of the most annoying things you will come across on in OSM is arm chair mapping (aka tracing from imagery) that is not appropriate to the quality of the imagery avaiable. Vast expansives of houses with details that are simply wrong and offset dozen of meters, because they where traced from non-aligned and blurry imagery. So if you have aligned your imagery and it is of good quality please feel free to trace details from it, if it isn't and there is no overriding reasons to do so (HOT activiation or similar) please don't, down the road better imagery will be available.
  • river banks: it really depends in the size of the river, as a tendency I would simply tag with width if it is essentially a straightline and under 20-30 meters. But as I said above, often it is more useful to add an object roughly and generalised than to prematurely add detail.
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answered 17 Apr '14, 08:53

SimonPoole's gravatar image

SimonPoole ♦
accept rate: 18%

edited 17 Apr '14, 09:05


Thank you, that was helpful.

(20 Apr '14, 02:18) Graqu

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question asked: 17 Apr '14, 07:43

question was seen: 51,091 times

last updated: 20 Apr '14, 02:18

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