Reverting unexplained demotions to footways

Posted by jpennycook on 26 October 2017 in English (English)

Today I shall be reverting an expained series of changes where a number of tracks and bridleways in the areas of Lighwater, Frimley, and Deepcut, plus cycleways around Woking Park, were all demoted to highway=footway. These were ones that I had previously surveyed, so I'm satisfied the change was a mistake. Unfortunately, the editor hasn't been back to OpenStreetMap since I contacted them - perhaps I frightened them off, so I'll fix them myself.

My methodology will be simple - if that person has a footway in their edit history with version greater than 1, I will check the history to see if it is one that I previously edited or that I am interested in, and then revert the highway type to the one it was previously set to.

Location: Donkey Town, West End, Surrey Heath, Surrey, South East, England, GU24 9NG, United Kingdom

Comment from jpennycook on 26 October 2017 at 09:04

I also found two footways in Heatherside overlapping with different names and different surfaces - Longlands Way and Wellington Avenue. I unpicked them and added a fixme to the result.

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Comment from andy mackey on 27 October 2017 at 07:21

To check the legal status of a right of way i sometimes look at the council's definitive map of rights of way site. I can't supply a link as each county and sometime area as it's own site. Another easier source is Barry Cornelius' site, but that data is not quite so up to date. This data is in KML format and can be displayed over Google Earth or with GPS Prune on OSM. To save mappers outside of England time note this is England only.

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Comment from jpennycook on 27 October 2017 at 09:39

Thanks Andy. is a useful website, and easier to use than many of the council websites.


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Comment from SomeoneElse on 27 October 2017 at 15:12

Personally I wouldn't copy data from , for a couple of reasons - one is that fact that it's available there doesn't mean that it's suitably licenced for use in OSM, but the main one is that the footpaths actually in place in a certain area and what the council thinks it has are two very different things. You'll only find out about the former by actually going there.

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Comment from SomeoneElse on 27 October 2017 at 15:15

... and (as I should have said before hitting "save"), the subject of this diary post (is something best described as a footway or a cycleway, regardless of its legal status) is exactly why proper surveys are needed.

Also, if something's definately a "public footpath" or "public bridleway" don't forget to add it as such using the "designation" tag, so that maps that display such things can do so.

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Comment from jpennycook on 27 October 2017 at 16:08

Agreed. I find Rowmaps useful as a guide, but only in conjunction with surveys. The tracks, bridleways, and cycleways which were the subject of the original diary entry are ones I had surveyed myself or ones attached to ways I had surveyed. In other words, this wasn't reverting for the sake of it, but to recover data that I was at least reasonably sure of. The exception is the overlapping footways of the second post, where I tidied up what was there and added a fixme note.

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Comment from jpennycook on 27 October 2017 at 16:14

I'm planning to revisit Frith Hill and Frimley Fuel Allotments to trace the path of the public bridleway from Old Bisley Road and to fill in the missing details of surrounding ways. I will mark the missing designations at that time.

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Comment from jpennycook on 4 December 2017 at 21:59

It happened again ( and Unlike last time, when my changeset comments were ignored, the editor replied to my changeset comments (with private messages) - it seems they thought that highway=bridleway only applied to ways where horses can be seen. I suggested they take a look at a map of public rights of way, e.g. ROWmaps and the UK Tagging Guidelines

I'm still concerned that the work I did recently will need to be redone, so I will have to check again when I get time.

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