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What is the reason behind the rule that highway=footway and footway=sidewalk tags should be used together? Why not to use sidewalk=something (and have enough values even for standalone sidewalk etc.) only? I must say the tagging system is complicated and often even chaotic. There is even some evidence this is not working very well.

asked 05 Mar '17, 23:41

Kozuch's gravatar image

accept rate: 8%

edited 06 Mar '17, 00:04


I must say the tagging system is complicated and often even chaotic

No, you mustn't. This is a site for asking and answering questions, not for polemics.

(06 Mar '17, 10:28) Richard ♦

A simple map can just check for highway=footway and show them all the same.

Then a more specialized or detailed map can look at further tags and show things differently.

So having a general tag and specific tag can be useful.

Note that there is a specific meaning for footway=sidewalk in OpenStreetMap, it is meant to indicate a footway that is on the side of a street. So for example a nice paved walk through a park would be highway=footway but not have a footway=sidewalk tag.

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answered 06 Mar '17, 01:11

maxerickson's gravatar image

accept rate: 32%


In other words, tagging for some objects may involve several levels. A general or top level and, optionally, more levels below that involving ever more specific tags. Let's say you're tagging a footway. Fine. Tag it and you're done. But let's say you want to add more details.

What sort of footway is it? Because this particular footway runs alongside a bigger highway, it's commonly called a sidewalk. So we can tag it this way:



If you want to add even more detail you can keep going, becoming more specific as you go:



Actually, OSM tagging is evolving towards this tagging method which some of us call a tagging hierarchy. It's far from chaotic. However, because OSM allows people to use any tag they see fit, the overall result can appear chaotic because they refuse to use, or aren't aware of, this more structured approach.

(06 Mar '17, 03:09) AlaskaDave
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question asked: 05 Mar '17, 23:41

question was seen: 3,059 times

last updated: 06 Mar '17, 10:28

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