In Bolivia, a huge amount of roads are tagged with maxspeed, where the value isn't the legal speed limit, but more like a practical speed. This is mostly one mappers choice, who told me he did this for better routing quality (there are only a few very active mappers there, giving each of us an abnormally large individual influence over the map). The difference in road quality between the (mostly) paved trunk roads and unpaved other roads is so vast, that even huge shortcuts would take longer in practice. The lower speed limits forces the router to keep you on the better roads. This does help to give routing advice.

In my opinion, this data should be retagged as maxspeed:practical . The only downside is that this is a tag that, although widely used, has been voted out. It is not fun choosing between a disapproved tag and improper use of a tag :) The mapper has asked me if I see any other alternatives. I don't, so I would like your opinions. I also asked the opinion of the Bolivian community.

asked 18 Sep '15, 13:45

joost%20schouppe's gravatar image

joost schouppe
3.2k214683
accept rate: 12%


I would suggest putting the legal speed limit in the maxspeed tag, since that's what it's for, and mapping the surface of the roads and any other objective attributes (lanes, width or whatever) to give routers the right hints. We can't build a success based on personal opinions, nor misuse of established tags.

I'm also a fan of fixing the real world, so either getting the local government to change the speed limits on the affected roads, or improving the roads to match the speed limits! Unfortunately most people think this is too hard to attempt, but governments are just collections of people, like OSM.

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answered 18 Sep '15, 15:10

Andy%20Allan's gravatar image

Andy Allan
11.7k23121142
accept rate: 30%

Using the tags for what they were built for sounds reasonable :) I guess tagging surface=unpaved and smoothness=bad would be a good default setting for Bolivian back roads.

Of course, you can expect mappers to "hack" the map into something that works, since so little of ours tools are built for Southern realities.

Do I read it correctly that you would suggest simply removing the speed data?

As for changing realities: some serious progress has been made in Bolivia over the last ten years. Of course, as main roads are improved, more and more new minor roads are carved into the mountains.

(18 Sep '15, 18:19) joost schouppe
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question asked: 18 Sep '15, 13:45

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last updated: 18 Sep '15, 18:19

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