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When adding ways either from a GPS plot or Bing, I often think it useful to plot the first kilometre of adjoining or intersecting ways. Naturally, these need to be completed later on, but for various reasons, will not happen in the current changeset.

What's the most popular way of showing that a way clearly needs continuation from the last node, and ideally one that shows a symbol that appears on the rendered image? I see some mappers use the tags fixme=* or note=*, but these aren't rendered on the map. Others add two small ways to form an arrow head.

Has there been any agreed convention on this, or what's the most used method ?

asked 10 Aug '11, 09:52

Russ%20McD's gravatar image

Russ McD
accept rate: 0%

edited 10 Aug '11, 10:02

Jonathan%20Bennett's gravatar image

Jonathan Ben...

(newer) duplicate question: how-to-mark-things-that-are-still-to-do

(18 Jun '13, 13:34) aseerel4c26 ♦

By far the most common way to do this is to add a fixme=* tag to the last node which will show up in editors and on certain Garmin maps aimed at mappers.

Other ways to do this include three untagged nodes (forming an ellipsis, like "...") at the end of the way, or the arrow method that you described.

Neither of these methods are visible on the standard Mapnik map but that's intentional. If one wanted to render a "todo map" then one could do that easily (e.g. look at the "fixme" layer in OSM Inspector. Don't tag these hints just to make them show up in the standard Mapnik render.

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answered 10 Aug '11, 09:59

Frederik%20Ramm's gravatar image

Frederik Ramm ♦
accept rate: 23%

edited 10 Aug '11, 10:26

Jonathan%20Bennett's gravatar image

Jonathan Ben...


Never seen the "elipsis" or "arrow" techniques in use but they sound wrong to me: firstly only a human is likely to see them and you cannot search for them. Secondly I feel like adding a node or a way needs to correspond to a real-world feature (even if the feature is immaterial, like a region boundary).

(10 Aug '11, 13:12) Vincent de P... ♦

Sometimes I tag the whole way with a fixme (meaning I didn't survey any of it, only marked the crossroad in my GPS) as opposed to tagging a node at the end of the way (meaning I surveyed only part of the way). Example:

(10 Aug '11, 13:18) Vincent de P... ♦

OpenStreetMap now has a Notes feature, allowing mappers to record metadata like this without having to add features to the map, so you should probably use that instead.

(18 Jun '13, 14:34) Jonathan Ben... Here are some of the arrow heads, they are flagged as ways without tags. In my opinion not the correct thing to do.

(18 Jun '13, 19:00) BCNorwich

@Jonathan Bennett: this metadata belongs to the objects (like note and source tags), is visible in every editor, very fast to use available to many tools (since it is just a tag). Notes are fixed to a position, if an object is moved a note, which was made at the object's prev. position, does not move! No, sorry, I think those are striking reasons not to use "notes" (stupid name, btw) in/during mapping. Fine for newbies/outsiders, too draw much attention to an object though.

(19 Jun '13, 02:18) aseerel4c26 ♦

Often when walking a path I will cross a farmers track for his use only (I guess) and might not ever get fully drawn as it is maybe private access, I will draw a bit from bing which gives a reference position for walkers with a paper map so that they do not mistake it for the path and follow that instead. example what do you think? Its important that they are rendered along with ponds, woods, hedges, pylons and other landmarks which aid locating your position on a paper map, I don't think fix-me or TBC always apply.

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answered 10 Aug '11, 12:29

andy%20mackey's gravatar image

andy mackey
accept rate: 4%

edited 10 Aug '11, 13:14


In the area you posted you mapped overlapping ways without a junction node according to keepright, you should fix them or routers won't have a chance to use them right. Also the question was about a tag for unfinished ways.

(10 Aug '11, 12:36) scai ♦

Thanks I understand that now.

(18 Jun '13, 12:50) andy mackey

For a simple incomplete way, fixme=continue on the end node seems the simplest, most concise way of tagging, and is quite commonly used. Also used on ways, although fixme=incomplete or FIXME=incomplete seem the more common choice for those who choose to tag the way rather than the end node.

Nodes tagged as fixme=continue are rendered in Osmarender at high zoom levels (a green oblique line through the node at a seemingly random angle).

The wiki page currently suggests combining fixme=continue with noexit=no, but that seems redundant as it doesn't provide any more information than the fixme tag and takes extra time to add and remove (noexit=yes, however, does seem useful in other contexts, as it can indicate "I didn't forget to add a fixme=continue")

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answered 10 Aug '11, 15:19

banoffee's gravatar image

accept rate: 23%

edited 10 Aug '11, 15:20

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question asked: 10 Aug '11, 09:52

question was seen: 75,612 times

last updated: 20 Jun '13, 02:10

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