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Paper roads have the same legal status as any other roads but they have never been constructed. There is a legal right of access which is often disputed. Should these be added to maps?



asked 20 Mar '21, 04:08

MaxL's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

edited 20 Mar '21, 04:10


Can you elaborate "There is a legal right of access"? What exists there? That's what you should add.

(20 Mar '21, 11:32) Kovoschiz

When the land was sub-divided over 100 years ago the government made provision for possible future roads and did not include these 20m wide tracks in the sale to farmers and so remain in government ownership as a road for use by the general public, even though they have never been developed to provide easy access. Unlike in the UK, where there is well developed mapping of legal rights of way and a requirement to waymark routes, here in NZ there is only only rudimentary legal mapping, no requirements to waymark and little public pressure for improvements for access (no Ramblers Association). Without improved public knowledge about where these road are ther is unlikely to be any changes. Therefore my question, as there is a legal right for the public to use these routes, even though they are often not visible on the ground, should they be on OSM and if so by what designation.


(20 Mar '21, 20:12) MaxL

I try to think of what the end users of OSM will find useful. For road networks there are two main end users: Those who want an visual representation of what is on the ground. And those who want to be able to use navigation apps/software.

Neither of those major use cases will be served if a "paper road" is mapped in OSM as if it actually exists on the ground.

An argument could be made to use the lifecycle prefix and called them "proposed:highway=*". The location I am in while I type this has a bunch of paper roads. They might be more than just on paper in a legal sense as the right of ways are probably owned by the county. But there has never been any attempt to construct anything. And in many cases where the land owners on all sides don't want a public road through "their" land nothing is like to ever be built.

My philosophy on these "paper roads" is to ignore them in my OSM mapping. If someday a bulldozer is run through and even just a track is created then I will map it. Until then there is nothing visible on the ground and I won't map it.

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answered 20 Mar '21, 14:45

n76's gravatar image

accept rate: 17%

Do you mean something that is a highway=track, man_made=cutline, landuse=greenfield or landuse=brownfield, etc? Add them as you normally would, as this represents the reality. You can add proposed:highway=* if it meets , eg signed, fenced, or the land ROW formed (without further construction).

Also proposed:landuse=highway, if they are obvious..

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answered 20 Mar '21, 11:35

Kovoschiz's gravatar image

accept rate: 16%

edited 21 Mar '21, 07:31

I think in the UK the legal status of more "obscure" rights of ways are recorded with the designation tag which allows for more 'typical' tagging of ways according to their appearance and normal use while also recording the legal status e.g. bits of driveway that are technically part of a public footpath. The full details are rather involved.

A similar scheme may be viable in New Zealand, but this would require discussion with the local community.

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answered 20 Mar '21, 14:20

InsertUser's gravatar image

accept rate: 18%

Hi MaxL, the basic rule in OSM, is 'map what is'. Your description sounds like a planned way which is not visible by any work in progress. So dont map them.

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answered 20 Mar '21, 10:35

Hendrikklaas's gravatar image

accept rate: 5%

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question asked: 20 Mar '21, 04:08

question was seen: 703 times

last updated: 21 Mar '21, 07:31

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