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What is the correct way of tagging hiking trails?

asked 21 Jul '10, 17:11

Sven%20L's gravatar image

Sven L
accept rate: 0%

If you are refering to the actual physical trail, then you first have to select the appropriate highway tag (please refer to the linked wiki pages for more detailed definitions and discussion):

In addition to highway, there are some hiking-specific tags:

More tags and information on hiking-related mapping can be found on the Hiking wiki page.

If you are refering to a hiking route (not the actual way itself, but rather a collection of ways that form a route), you may want to look into Route Relations.

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answered 21 Jul '10, 20:52

driver2's gravatar image

accept rate: 57%

edited 21 Jul '10, 20:53

how do you tell if you are hiking in an urban area or in the wild? I'm still not clear on the footway vs path distinction for hiking trails.

(22 Jul '10, 04:11) David Dean

I don't think that there can be a definitive answer to that. There are different opinions. Some don't like path at all and prefer to use footway everywhere, others use footway for paved and path for unpaved ways.

(22 Jul '10, 12:04) driver2

footway, if not combined with other tags, doesn't allow other usages than foot. That is, even cycling will be forbidden. So use footway only if it is a designated footway or specify an additional bicycle=yes. There is also a lot of discussion in the wiki about when to use footway and when to use path, because the names of the tags are quite confusing.

(02 Aug '10, 12:55) scai ♦

I would add, that if you use sac_scale, make sure that it is exactly one of the valid values for a way. If, for example, you have two ways and merge them into one, one was sac_scale=hiking, the other sac_scale=mountain_hiking, the merge operation will label the joined way as sac_scale=hiking;mountain_hiking. This is bad, because most tools (graphhopper for example) don't support multiple values. When faced with unknown values, graphhopper at least, will not allow the way to be used by the route. This affected me because a way was incorrectly labeled as sac_scale=yes (invalid), and the mapping tool would completely refuse to use that way segment when planning a route.

(15 Sep '15, 15:48) Elerius

I use a test I saw in some other comment-- can someone comfortably walk this trail in high heels? Yes on paved and wide, hardened dirt footways, no on most hiking paths.

(25 Jan '16, 15:44) ChrisMendez

@ChrisMendez, to be clear, the surface/smoothness/sac_scale are completely unrelated to the footway/path distinction. highway=path is simply a generic trail of some sort, whereas highway=footway is a path designated as legally-usable by foot traffic. "highway=path" + "foot=designated" = "highway=footway". The only difference between footway and path is the default access=* levels.

(26 Jan '16, 18:33) alester
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question asked: 21 Jul '10, 17:11

question was seen: 9,374 times

last updated: 26 Jan '16, 18:33

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