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In Sequoyah County, Oklahoma, USA, a bulk import of data from Tiger Map Service has resulted in tons of dirt paths labeled highway=residential, many roads and paths where none has ever actually existed, service roads FAR from where they were actually placed, and so on. I have fixed many, but I can’t possibly spare the time to fix all of them, and I only find them if I happen to be working in the same area.

Is there a way that others (assuming anyone cares) can find them, and after fixing them, mark them so others don’t waste time looking at one that’s already fixed?

And, when we fix one, should we remove the tiger tags?

asked 05 Mar '20, 15:30

Happy%20Hobo's gravatar image

Happy Hobo
accept rate: 0%

I have a similar problem in that a local editor has taken it himself to "clean up" OSM in my area by referencing Tiger.

In doing so, he deletes real roads, paths and other information presumably because it doesn't exist in Tiger!

(13 Apr '22, 04:54) kevinp2

@kevinp2 I'd suggest you politely communicate with this mapper using a public changeset comment on one of their "clean up" changesets, or by sending a private OSM message if you prefer. I'd emphasize that TIGER is a useful but not authoritative data source, and that many real-world roads and paths do not appear in TIGER.

As a last resort, you can report this mapper to OSM's Data Working Group by emailing or using the "Report this User" link on the mapper's profile page.

(13 Apr '22, 15:47) jmapb

The short answer is to remove the tiger:reviewed=no tag after having confirmed or fixed the geometry and properties (see below) of a TIGER-imported road. Then mappers who are looking for roads to fix can search for those that still have tiger:reviewed=no.

Ed's is the long answer, if you read that whole page, but it's worth reading. In particular note that TIGER data has continued to improve in some areas, and while it's not feasible to redo the import, it is possible to view the new TIGER roads as an overlay layer which can help with fixing up some of the old TIGER garbage.

Some tiger: tags are automatically removed by the editing software whenever a road is modified, but not all. Personally I like to leave at least the tiger:cfcc and sometimes tiger:county -- and also the road name components, if it's a named road.

Edit - Incorporating Richard's good advice, I changed "geometry" to "geometry and properties". Primarily this means that in addition to the road's shape you should confirm or fix the value of the highway= tag, and also add surface= for any unpaved residential/unclassified roads. And only then remove the tiger:reviewed=no tag.

(Correctly tagging surface= is always welcome of course, but it's especially important for roads that fall in the gap between track and paved residential/unclassified, and there are many of these in rural USA.)

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answered 05 Mar '20, 16:31

jmapb's gravatar image

accept rate: 22%

edited 06 Mar '20, 12:58

I don't like how editor-software would automatically remove those tags either. This should be a default disabled option, or prompted for review before removing.

(06 Mar '20, 07:48) Kovoschiz

Some tiger: tags are by common agreement useless and should never have been imported. There's therefore an agreement that it's ok for editors to remove them silently.

(06 Mar '20, 09:15) Richard ♦

Most of them also have “tiger:corrected=no” so I suppose I should also change that? And if other tiger things are WRONG, I think I should delete those (because correcting them implies that they are correct in Tiger). But what is the meaning of “tiger:separated=no”?

(06 Mar '20, 13:47) Happy Hobo

What is the difference between removing “tiger:reviewed=no” and changing it to “yes”?

(06 Mar '20, 14:02) Happy Hobo

The tiger:separated tag refers to "grade separation", ie, roads that cross but don't intersect because of bridges or tunnels. The value no means that the road segment intersects roads that it crosses, which is the norm, especially in rural situations. The tag was useful during the initial import process but can be removed now.

As far as I know there's no difference in meaning between removing tiger:reviewed=no and setting the value to yes, but the general push is to get rid of the extra tiger: tags so IMO removing the tag is better than changing the value.

(06 Mar '20, 14:24) jmapb

This is the case all over the US. Generally, the issue is highway=residential roads in rural areas that may or may not be roads at all. Some rules of thumb:

  1. You can change the highway= tag to something else:

  2. highway=unclassified is the OSM standard for rural roads

  3. highway=track for ungraded/double-track
  4. highway=path / footway / cycleway as appropriate
  5. highway=service; service=driveway for private driveways

  6. In the developed world, unclassified, residential and service are generally assumed to be paved. If you retag an unpaved road to these, make sure you also add a surface tag - surface=unpaved will do fine, but if you can be more specific and use gravel or dirt, so much the better.

  7. If the road simply doesn't exist, feel free to delete it.

  8. You can remove tiger:reviewed=no if you like. But please don't remove this for unpaved roads unless you also add a surface tag (or something that implies unpaved, such as highway=track).

(Apologies for nonsensical numbering,'s Markdown parsing is beyond broken.)

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answered 06 Mar '20, 09:22

Richard's gravatar image

Richard ♦
accept rate: 18%

edited 06 Mar '20, 09:25

Thanks for the additional attributes. Please consider putting them in the Wiki if they are not already there. Sometimes my editor fails to offer suggestions, and I look in the Wiki without success.

(06 Mar '20, 13:49) Happy Hobo

There is a TIGER fixup page on the wiki which mentions the incorrect classification as one of the common issues. There is a link to some overpass queries to help identify area which may still need checking.

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answered 05 Mar '20, 16:08

EdLoach's gravatar image

EdLoach ♦
accept rate: 22%

The “accept” mechanism is also broken. The full answer here unfortunately is a combination of several very useful answers. I tried to accept more than one, but that’s not allowed. I didn’t want to favor part of the answer over another part, but to un-accept took several tries. Many thanks to all who contributed.

As bad as I’ve seen so far, I wonder whether I should recommend not using a data source proven to be as bad as this.

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answered 06 Mar '20, 13:55

Happy%20Hobo's gravatar image

Happy Hobo
accept rate: 0%


The TIGER import had/has enough problems that it has soured a large portion of OSM contributors toward all imports. The TIGER import happened prior to my involvement in OSM and I've cursed it multiple times but thinking back on the state of the map in the US prior to the import I suspect that overall it was a good thing. It at least gave a frame work for the whole country that could be improved upon. If we had the density of mappers that Europe has then it would have been a different story.

One side effect: Having cleaned up a bunch of rural TIGER messes I can see where that same data was used by other maps (Google, Apple, Here, etc.) and can take pride in seeing that OSM volunteers have usually done a better job of cleaning it up in rural areas than some of the for profit mapping outfits. The built in map on my late model Toyota uses Here Maps data and it reminds me every time I glance at it when in the sticks how bad it still is.

(06 Mar '20, 17:26) n76

I can still remember asking Mapquest for the route my parents should take to my house. Get off the highway, turn right, go under the highway, then jump the curb and drive into the pond! The road that used to be where the pond now is had been removed for decades (when the highway was built).

(09 Feb '23, 21:20) Happy Hobo

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question asked: 05 Mar '20, 15:30

question was seen: 2,182 times

last updated: 09 Feb '23, 21:20

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