OpenStreetMap

Fix a Forest - experimental tiles from US Forest Service data

Posted by Richard on 11 November 2014 in English (English)

Klamath Forest

I've created a set of tiles from US Forest Service road data for the 155 US National Forests.

This is to help with TIGER fixup in these rural areas, where tracks, trails and entirely non-existent paths are often tagged with a bare "highway=residential". The US Forest Service data is greatly superior to the original TIGER data and has metadata on surface type/quality, but is unsuitable for automatic import into OSM because it would overwrite mappers' existing work in these areas.

You can access the tiles at:

and they're included in the editor-imagery-index list used by P2, iD and Vespucci. The tiles are available up to z19. Use of Potlatch 2's new floating imagery window mode is recommended, so that you can work from both Bing imagery and these tiles at the same time.

You can also explore from the comfort of your browser at http://osm.cycle.travel/index.html, where there's an "Edit this area in OpenStreetMap" link at the bottom right.

Key

  • Surface:
    • yellow outline = paved
    • grey outline = gravel
  • Road type:
    • white with black casing = paved road
    • dashed grey = gravel road suitable for cars
    • dashed brown = dirt road
    • dotted grey = not maintained for cars
  • Maintenance level:
    • grey dots = 4x4 only
    • green dots = usable by cars
    • black dots = moderately comfortable for cars
    • black frequent dots = very comfortable for cars
  • Points of interest:
    • car = roadside park
    • flag = Forest Service station
    • ski = winter recreation area
    • hiker = trailhead
    • campsite = campsite
    • picnic site = picnic site

(There's some degree of overlap, but this is present in the original USFS data.)

When fixing up data, I would suggest the following tags as a minimum:

  • highway=unclassified - paved road
  • highway=unclassified, surface=unpaved/gravel/dirt - unpaved road suitable for cars
  • highway=service - road to isolated dwelling or other building
  • highway=track - unpaved track or road suitable for 4x4s
  • highway=path - narrow linear clearing, too narrow for motor vehicles
  • [delete entirely] - raw TIGER data with no signs of track or path in either imagery or Forest Service tiles

US Forest Service data is public domain so there's no need for further attribution when using this data, though a source= tag is always good practice.

Hope these are helpful, and let me know of any further suggestions.

Comment from RobJN on 12 November 2014 at 01:15

Looks good. Very colourful (perhaps that should be colorful given that it's America)!

Have you considered using the P2 merge tool (the one used in the UK for cycle path data)?

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Comment from Linhares on 12 November 2014 at 15:24

Great job! It is amazing how much information you have about forests! Great source for OSM!

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Comment from kucai on 13 November 2014 at 00:55

Re: highway track 4x4

I believe a tag 4wd_only=yes exists in osm wiki, which helps in differentiating tracks that are passable by cars or 4x4.

Probably a 4wd only track rendering should be implemented. I had that unlucky experience of getting into an unmarked 4wd road in a remote US national forest ( road exists on topo map, but not classified as 4x4 only) in a Toyota Tercel. That was an unforgettable experience, but luckily I got through to the main roads again. Phew!

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Comment from Richard on 13 November 2014 at 18:13

@RobJN: I've considered it but I'm not sure it's appropriate for this task - the amount of corrections to be done to the TIGER data is so vast that, barring a massive upswing in the number of people working on TIGER fixup, that sort of fine-grained approach is unlikely to work. I do wonder whether a P2 vector background layer might be useful, though, in helping to refine geometries.

@kucai: Yes, that's a useful tag and one which the Australians (understandably!) seem to like. It's a little problematic though in that it only addresses the road quality from a car driver's perspective, whereas a surface= tag can be used by cyclists, walkers, horseriders etc.

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Comment from mojodna on 9 January 2015 at 00:53

Would you consider making .osm files available on a regional basis? (Actually, I'm more than willing to do that for myself, but it would be helpful if you could post links to the data sources you're using and the style (to facilitate mentally mapping source metadata values to OSM tags).)

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Comment from Richard on 9 January 2015 at 12:41

@mojodna: Just posted it on github - does this help? https://github.com/systemed/forest_roads

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Comment from mojodna on 15 January 2015 at 03:01

Yes! That's perfect!

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