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These are not official paths, by definition. In addition, many of them cross features (e.g. railroad tracks) that make their use illegal. Yet, they are used. Are there any existing examples of a tagged desire path?

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asked 14 Jun '16, 20:13

lwburk's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

edited 14 Jun '16, 20:14

We map what is there, not what should be there. You should tag the legal access as additional information, though.

So, for I would go for

  • highway=path
  • surface=ground
  • smoothness=bad (just a guess from the image)
  • width=0.4 (if I would have measured/guessed it from reality)
  • if needed: access tags depending on the legal situation and signage. If a sign forbids use officially (whyever it is there) but no one (including the owner) cares, then I possibly would tag it access=permissive + access:legal=private (or something similar … I am not sure if we have an established tag here) + access:description=officially forbidden by a sign which no one including the owner cares about (a tag describing the access to make it clear to users and mappers). Similarly, if a sign forbids use by all vehicles, but clearly only motor vehicles are meant (just the wrong sign was put up) I would not use vehicle=no. Note the suggested default access assumptions.

Somewhat questionable is a "desire path" which crosses a railway line. Is there a path for the 5 metres across the railway line? Likely you cannot see it, you can just assume some use, but there is no real-world feature. In this special case (also influenced by the danger) I would tend to not map the part which is across the railway line.

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answered 14 Jun '16, 20:42

aseerel4c26's gravatar image

aseerel4c26 ♦
accept rate: 18%

edited 14 Jun '16, 20:49


There's also the "informal=" tag, to distinguish evolved paths from constructed ones:

(17 Jun '16, 08:14) Carnildo

We map what is on the ground.
If there is a trodden path, map


Some mappers recommend to split/disconnect/delete such paths on railway landuses so that routers won't route along there.

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answered 14 Jun '16, 20:27

malenki's gravatar image

accept rate: 6%

And what about an desire path making a short cut down a slope, through a fence which is demolished to get through ? Accees=no ?

(14 Jun '16, 22:14) Leeuw

@Leeuw: in my opinion it is quite clear that in that case (without knowing more details) no one is allowed to walk there. access=no or =private. Or was the fence an accident and everybody (including the owner) agrees that it should be removed soon?

It may be good to map the fence as a barrier too.

(14 Jun '16, 22:52) aseerel4c26 ♦

@Leeuw: first and foremost the path exists, thus it should be mapped.
Adding any access tag doesn't prevent people walking it in RL.

(15 Jun '16, 14:39) malenki

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question asked: 14 Jun '16, 20:13

question was seen: 3,565 times

last updated: 17 Jun '16, 08:14

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