OpenStreetMap

Suburban footpaths?

Posted by Sam Wilson on 11 February 2010 in English (English)

I quite enjoy tracing suburban footpaths.

One of the things that turned me off OSM back in the beginning (a few years ago; I can't quite remember when) was its seeming focus on making maps for CARS. I don't like cars! I cycle, or walk, and don't have a driver's license; I want to contribute to maps for walkers and cyclists, not for those silly GPS things that everyone's suctioning to their windscreens these days. (Rhubarb rhubarb.)

Thankfully, I have since realised that OSM is about MAPS, not cars, and that I can contribute whatever parts of the map that I feel are useful. So, I find myself focusing on paths for pedestrians, and because I live in the 'burbs, most of those paths are a) foopaths next to residential streets, and b) paths of desire (oh, such a delightful term!) in those rare bits of non-suburb'd land.

The question is: should one trace these paths individually? I say yes, because the information cannot be captured with tags on a road. But some people say no. Hmm....

I think I'll just keep on as I am. :-)

Long live OSM!

Location: Perth - Fremantle, Hilton, Perth, Western Australia, 6963, Australia

Comment from JohnSmith on 11 February 2010 at 12:24

Yes they should be mapped independent of roads, otherwise you are either not gather as much information as you could possibly get.

Also footways don't always run parallel to a roadway.

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Comment from Sam Wilson on 11 February 2010 at 12:40

Thank you for the reassurance!

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Comment from 42429 on 11 February 2010 at 13:48

Openstreetmap is map for all, so it must include footpaths and cycleways. This map of your neighborhood showing pedestrian shortcuts is IMHO perfect:
http://www.openstreetmap.org/?lat=-32.02407&lon=115.84075&zoom=15&layers=B000FTF

Personally, I disagree that footpaths next to a road should be mapped separately if this footpath is part of the road. Have a look at this example in your neighborhood:
http://www.openstreetmap.org/?lat=-32.05965&lon=115.762051&zoom=18&layers=B000FTF
How do you get from one bus stop to the other one? Separate footpaths are rather confusing.

In Germany, we have sometimes discussed about a comprehensive solution for mapping all lanes: footpath - cycleway - parking lane - lane - bus lane - lane - parking lane - cycleway - footpath.

Meanwhile, it is easier to use the standard solution footway=both/left/right
http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:footway
http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Proposed_features/Footway

Currently, only Osmarender renders on-street-cycleways. Unfortunately, we have to wait until Mapnik programmers are willing to implement a solution for rendering on-street-footways.

Yours, FK270673

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Comment from Vclaw on 11 February 2010 at 19:14

I would say if the path is immediately adjacent to the road, separated only by a kerb (eg a sidewalk / pavement), then adding the footway=both/left/right tag to the road is best.

But if the path is more separated from the road (eg with grass in between), then worth mapping it separately. As this means you can show where it actually is, and whether its parallel to the road etc, plus you can tag it with the surface / width / access.
Though if doing this make sure you map where it connects to the road, to help with routing.

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Comment from Jekader on 11 February 2010 at 22:01

I agree with Vclaw. At least, that's the way I map footways.

But in any case - even if you're drawing every small footway as a separate way on OSM - I don't think it's bad. I'm just too lazy for that :D

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Comment from robert on 13 February 2010 at 19:25

If you map the sidewalk next to a road, the routing will just not work. It won't know that you can cross the road at any point. As a result it will send you on some strange detour to a node that happens to be connected across a road just to get to the other side. And if the footway isn't well connected, you may find some segments totally unroutable.

And it almost always looks a mess in the rendering.

So I would say no.

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Comment from Sam Wilson on 14 February 2010 at 00:43

I must say, I hadn't really thought about footway routing. Good point.

So, I shall endevour to only ''extend'' the foopath network, ensuring that footpaths are always connected to other pedestrian=yes ways and areas.

The example given by FK270673
http://www.openstreetmap.org/?lat=-32.05965&lon=115.762051&zoom=18&layers=B000FTF
(which I have recently added more footpaths to) shows a variety of footpaths right next to the road, and some set back. There are also non-predictable crossings and footpath intersections.

This really matters, doesn't it, for wheelchair navigation? I'm really not all that au fait with that whole topic of tagging; I'll keep reading. :-)

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Comment from Fabi2 on 14 February 2010 at 14:13

A footway is an object for it's own, and should also represented as such. Car routing can esay filter out footways by tag. Adding the footways to the road is like adding the next post office address to every postbox next to it (done by Deutsche Post AG in Germany) instead to mark as as amenity=post_office.

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Comment from robert on 14 February 2010 at 21:53

I only add urban footways and cycleways when they actually go somewhere useful, like a footway cut-through between roads which could potentially save a pedestrian user hundreds of meters on their journey.

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