New user from Safford, Arizona, USA

Posted by Richard Hufford on 4 July 2009 in English (English)

I'm a newbie from Safford, Arizona, USA. I don't have a lot of time, but I notice that most of the little dirt roads in the desert around here are listed as residential. I plan to start out by checking out these roads and changing them to tracks. Also, I'll correct some obvious errors and rename the railroad that goes through Safford to the Arizona Eastern Railroad.
I have a few questions about railroads:
1. Some segments of the line going from Lordsburg, NM to Clifton, AZ are labeled "railway=spur". Merkaartor does not display these segments as railroads. Should they be relabeled "railway=rail"?
2. Most of the railroad stations in the area are not used anymore, and passenger train service is nonexistent in this area. Should the railroad stations be removed from the map?

Comment from 42429 on 4 July 2009 at 21:28

Dear Richard,

thank you very much for checking and changing these roads.

ad 1)
railway=rail is a tag for railroads, railway=spur is a tag for short sidetracks. Some railroads are legally considered as sidetracks, maybe even all Class III railroads are officially considered as sidetracks. However, a 100-mile-track is too long to serve as a spur.

The fact that one of three editors (JOSM, Mercaator, Potlatch) doesn't support a tag doesn't mean that this tag is invalid.

Currently, there is a discussion about a new classification system for railroads which needs some international participation.

ad 2)

Of course not. First, there are some tourist trains on this line:

Second, some people are interested where to find disused stations, so it would be nice to mark them with disused=yes. It will take some time to show disused stations on the map as it took some time to show abandoned railroads on the map.

Openstreetmap is a long-term project and it will take some time to find a system that fits all railroads properly.

Best regards

Comment from Richard Hufford on 4 July 2009 at 23:47

Thank you for your reply and for the link to Arizona Eastern's Wikipedia page. I was not aware that Arizona Eastern now owns the line from Lordsburg, NM to Clifton, AZ!
I like the disused=yes tag for the old railroad stations. I was concerned that someone might think they could catch a train from Pima or one of the other small towns. I had forgotten that trains are running from Globe to the casino, and actually I believe there was a special train one day from Safford to Pima.
Hopefully, the changes I make will improve the map.

Comment from wallclimber21 on 6 July 2009 at 16:53

All the tracks on the map that are marked residential is because the data originates from TIGER, the free US census database that contains pretty much all the streets in the US. There are many problems with this data base, most important the fact that coordinates of roads are sometimes horribly wrong (though the interconnection graph is usually correct.) Another one is that it doesn't classify roads in a detailed way.

So everything becomes residential by default, until someone like you changes it. :-)

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