I have been looking into why OpenStreetMap based routing software cannot find a route from the N1 to the N5 across the no mans land border post in the South of Western Sahara. I signed up as an OpenStreetMap user and used the web editing software to identify exactly where it goes wrong and it appears to be the border post at the Northern end of no mans land. No route can be found from the N1 to the track through the border post.

I have never edited OSM data before and would like help/guidance in identifying the exact cause and applying a fix.

Thanks John

asked 08 Feb '15, 11:35

MrBassMan's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

edited 09 Feb '15, 19:56

SomeoneElse's gravatar image

SomeoneElse ♦


Hi John, welcome! Do you mean this location shown there OSRM/graphopper/the "track" between the border controls on osm.org?

In fact, this seems to be tagged not correct for a connection between two border controls. This may be why your OSM-based routing software (which?) could not find this route: because you may have set it up to not route over "tracks" (small roads for agricultural use). Or your software avoid borders …

(08 Feb '15, 11:48) aseerel4c26 ♦

slightly off topic: just while we are at it, country borders at this country generate interesting results in routing: rather takes the ferry out and back again, found a whatever track. I do not know how reality is there.

(08 Feb '15, 11:58) aseerel4c26 ♦

Yes thats the place. Using navigator 14 trying to route down West africa. Yes i am using bycycle mode on that which should use tracks. I can route song a start point on the track just south of the border post but not route if the start is before the payout and end after. Its as if there is a gap in the road at the border. Help please.

(08 Feb '15, 19:56) MrBassMan

Just for reference: Who is the manufacturer of the software? The name is very unspecific.

(08 Feb '15, 22:52) aseerel4c26 ♦

Yes Mapfactor Navigator 14 - using their latest map data which is updated regularly.

(09 Feb '15, 02:38) MrBassMan

With those two routing engines OSRM/graphopper I see no problem. Both usually have very current data (not older than a week). Please could you have a look if your data is up to date? However, the last edit there is from 2014-11-06 and it did not change anything which would be relevant here, if I see correctly. I now have checked with yournavigation (select bicycle and click "find route"): also no problem, even with its data being from 2014-09-02.

I see no connection problem in our data at the northern border control (you mean this one, don't you?): it is the connection between the "unclassified" road towards the north and the track towards the south.

Other options would be that it does not send you over tracks with special settings (which this track here has currently – you can click them on the linked way page for explanations):

  • access=permissive
  • smoothness=horrible
  • surface=sand

Or your software simply avoid to cross borders. Please check at other border controls.

Or your software has maps cut into separated countries and cannot route between different countries.

Of course it could just be a software bug. Ask the application developers.

permanent link

answered 08 Feb '15, 22:23

aseerel4c26's gravatar image

aseerel4c26 ♦
accept rate: 18%

edited 08 Feb '15, 22:35


Border crossing is supported by the software.

Routing across countries is fine normally with Mapfactor Navigator

Software bug - I have raised the issue on their forums as well http://forum.mapfactor.com/discussion/6324/western-sahara-border-routing-using-osm-data

(09 Feb '15, 02:40) MrBassMan
(09 Feb '15, 12:55) aseerel4c26 ♦

I also don't think that my change fixed the routing problem. Nevertheless the back and forth was an error that had to be fixed.

(09 Feb '15, 19:40) Jojo4u

@jojo4u: ah, okay, I misunderstood you then, thanks Yes, of course, that zig-zag likely was wrong.

(09 Feb '15, 21:19) aseerel4c26 ♦
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question asked: 08 Feb '15, 11:35

question was seen: 3,477 times

last updated: 09 Feb '15, 21:19

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