Www.Trailforks.com allows their trail data to be saved in .OSM file to make it easy to import into OSM. But all the OSM help warns about importing being a complex task. Is there an easy way to save a Trailforks trail in OSM? I just want to copy one trail at a time...

asked 11 Sep '17, 07:04

pbcnp's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

edited 13 Sep '17, 05:00


What do you mean by "import" - what's the end result you're trying to achieve?

(13 Sep '17, 08:55) Richard ♦

A trail (path) that is not currently on the OSM would be there. Ideally i could do that with a number of trails at once. I managed to download the .osm file from www.trailforks.com . Now how do i upload (import?) It into OSM?

(13 Sep '17, 09:41) pbcnp

What you intend to do is not recommended. It's much better to upload the gpx version of those trails to our gps layer and then manually trace the trail.

(13 Sep '17, 10:31) Hjart

I can't do that... if I download the .gpx version it has no <time> tag. OSM won't let me upload it.

(13 Sep '17, 16:53) pbcnp

I will fix the Trailforks GPX download for trails to contain blank < time > info so GPX files can be uploaded. Update should be pushed this evening.

OSM is frankly a mess for consistency of proper mountain bike trail tagging. We try and use the tags to filter out ways that are mtb trails on our custom basemap but we have to cast a broad net and end up hiding more than we want. So recently I've instead started scanning the entire OSM database against our own trails database to find matches based on spatial match. About a 30m buffer around the length of the trail. We then hide OSM ways from our basemap if they have a match and include all other ways. We want to show hiking trails and dirt roads from OSM on our basemap.

You can also see the OSM way that matches a TF trail on the stats page for a trail, Strava segment as well. https://www.trailforks.com/trails/expresso/stats/

The nice thing about using the OSM export though is it already contains some of the OSM tags to properly designate the way as a mountain bike trail as well as a link back to Trailforks for more info on the trail.


< tag k="name" v="Big Bear Down"/>
< tag k="highway" v="path"/>
< tag k="bicycle" v="designated"/>
< tag k="surface" v="dirt"/>
< tag k="source:name" v="Trailforks.com"/>
< tag k="website" v="https://www.trailforks.com/trails/big-bear-down/"/>
< tag k="mtb:scale:imba" v="4"/>
permanent link

answered 20 Sep '17, 20:00

Trailforks's gravatar image

accept rate: 100%


@Trailforks: Are you able to clarify the license that this data is being made available under? As @SimonPoole mentioned above, there doesn't seem to be any licensing information on your website, so there's no way to know if the data is compatible with the OSM license.

(20 Sep '17, 20:43) alester

I agree OSM is a mess on mountain bike trail tagging. Is there any efforts to standardize that? @SimonPoole, @alester ? I am also not clear on what to do with a trail that gets progressively smaller - it starts as an access road / gravel road, turns into hiking/mountain biking trail and gets even narrower to hiking trail only. What is the right way to record that in OSM?

(20 Sep '17, 21:24) pbcnp

@pbcnp For a trail that changes as it goes along, I'd suggest tagging the measurable attributes as they change - things like surface, width, etc. It's a question that's perhaps more suited to one of the mailing lists / forums than here as it's not really a "question" with an easy "answer". A bunch of people (including me) could probably chip in on how they combine OSM data to match the thing they want to represent / route along.

(20 Sep '17, 21:31) SomeoneElse ♦

@Trailforks - FYI I just tried downloading a Trailforks trail and adding it as a trace into OSM but still didn't work:

failed to import. Here's the error: Found no good GPX points in the input data. At least 75% of the trackpoints lacked a <time> tag.

But I noticed that you did insert the <time>0</time> tags - Thanks! I think it will need more than a 0 put in there. is there a chance you could replace it with time of download in the following format: 2009-10-17T18:37:26Z ? That seems to do the trick.

(26 Sep '17, 05:40) pbcnp

Fixed the download, I guess having a 0 time is not accepted, so I just generate timestamps for each point 1 sec apart.

(26 Sep '17, 08:02) Trailforks

@pbcnp: Please don't try uploading any of these tracks until the licensing questions have been dealt with. If it's determined that this data is compatible with the OSM license, then the technical details can be figured out at that point.

(26 Sep '17, 16:47) alester
showing 5 of 6 show 1 more comments

Thank you in your interest in OpenStreetMap.

While I've not looked at it in detail, I believe there are at least the following points you need to consider:

  • legal: the information available on trailforks.com seems to be proprietary at least there is no indication that it is available on a licence that would allow its use in OSM
  • technical: "trails" in OSM tend not to be one simple "way", they tend to be collections of existing way segments, listed in a so called relation object. With other words you will need to check which parts of the trail are already present in OSM, add what is missing and then create a relation that contains all the segments (that last part is actually easy)
  • fitness for purpose/verifiability: OSM is not a repository for private favourite trails. With other words what you are adding should be verifiable in one way or the other, typically in the case of trails they should be signposted.
permanent link

answered 13 Sep '17, 12:33

SimonPoole's gravatar image

SimonPoole ♦
accept rate: 19%

edited 13 Sep '17, 14:41


I believe I have considered these: - Legal: excerpt from www.trailforks.com: "We have an open data policy, we don't think the trail data is something proprietary we need to protect. So you and others are free to take data out of our system for your own needs. If you want to develop your own app, go for it, use our API or get a KML data dump...." they make the data available in .osm format specifically to be shared on OpenStreetMap. - Technical: When I look at .gpx file I can download from trailforks it looks like a gps trace that i regularly upload to OSM. Except it doesn't have the <time> tag, so I can't upload it to OSM. I am not really sure I understand your point here. Can you please look at this .osm file and let me know it has the problem you are referring to? https://www.trailforks.com/region/pass-powderkeg/trails/osm/ - Fitness for purpose/verifiability: In the Crowsnest Pass, Alberta, Canada, Trailforks is the only place that has biking trails maps. This isn't just my personal favourite trail repository - the local club maintains this database of all trails they built, map and maintain. It is the most complete database there is, and most of the trails are signposted.

(13 Sep '17, 16:47) pbcnp

In the absence of being able to upload (import) the .osm my only other option is ride all these trails with my gps and collect the traces myself. It will take me a year to do that and seems really unnecessary... This is because I can't upload the .gpx trace into OSM - it has no <time> tag.:(

(13 Sep '17, 16:57) pbcnp

If you just need the geometry there are lots of ways to use the export in OSM format, for example you could load it in to a separate layer in JOSM.

Directly uploading is nearly never going to make sense since even in the absolutely simplest case you will need to connect the ways to existing OSM data.

As to legal: permission should be explicit and should be worldwide, non-revocable, for any purpose and not have any terms attached that we cannot provide (for example requiring downstream attibution).

(13 Sep '17, 17:48) SimonPoole ♦
Your answer
toggle preview

Follow this question

By Email:

Once you sign in you will be able to subscribe for any updates here



Answers and Comments

Markdown Basics

  • *italic* or _italic_
  • **bold** or __bold__
  • link:[text](http://url.com/ "title")
  • image?![alt text](/path/img.jpg "title")
  • numbered list: 1. Foo 2. Bar
  • to add a line break simply add two spaces to where you would like the new line to be.
  • basic HTML tags are also supported

Question tags:


question asked: 11 Sep '17, 07:04

question was seen: 1,507 times

last updated: 26 Sep '17, 16:47

Related questions

powered by OSQA