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I've been adding some local hiking trails in my area. After looking around it looked like Path was the right thing to use, but I keep finding other trails in the area marked as footways. These are definitely hiking paths and not things for pedestrians walking to the store. So two questions:

  1. How should trails be labelled? Path? Footway? something else?
  2. If it should be something other than footway, should I change these other trails I come across? What is the etiquette? Thanks

asked 02 Sep '11, 04:20

David%20Daly's gravatar image

David Daly
accept rate: 0%

Thanks for the responses. I had looked through the documentation, but your explanations really help and make it very clear. I'll start moving my trails to footway.

(04 Sep '11, 16:43) David Daly

It might be worth having a read of SK53's answer to this question. Ignore the the England-and-Wales specific stuff (we have "Public Footpaths" here - a curious system of legalised access across other people's land) but the Path vs Footway comments should still apply.

As Frederik says, "footway" just means "mainly/exclusively for pedestrians" - there's no presumption that it's a nicely surfaced footpath in a city as opposed to a rough hiking path (or vice versa).

"path" just means "not wide enough to be a track". There are a bunch of other tags that you can use with "path" to give more information, but "highway=path" on its own doesn't really say much.

There's more detail about the general approach (from Richard) here.

Finally, it's also worth talking to other local mappers. In your case they seem to be mainly using "footway", but in some places they may have decided as a group that "highway=path" (with other tags as appropriate) best fits local usage and laws.

On the etiquette thing, personally if I find a hiking trail locally that I'd normally map as "highway=footway" mapped by another mapper as "highway=path" I wouldn't normally change it but would try and add tags to make it more clear what it was, simply on the grounds that life's too short for unproductive arguments.

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answered 02 Sep '11, 12:33

SomeoneElse's gravatar image

SomeoneElse ♦
accept rate: 16%

Our wiki certainly isn't gospel but it doesn't hurt to look things up there. On the Key:highway page you'll find the statement that highway=footway is

for designated footpaths; i.e., mainly/exclusively for pedestrians. This includes walking tracks and gravel paths. If bicycles are allowed as well, you can indicate this by adding a bicycle=yes tag. Should not be used for paths where the primary or intended usage is unknown.

(emphasis added), and I believe in this case the wiki reflects mapping reality well. It is ok to use highway=path if you prefer but for a hiking trail people would usually qualify that with something like foot=designated or so, depending on the signage.

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answered 02 Sep '11, 08:34

Frederik%20Ramm's gravatar image

Frederik Ramm ♦
accept rate: 23%

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question asked: 02 Sep '11, 04:20

question was seen: 14,812 times

last updated: 04 Sep '11, 16:43

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