Puerto Rico Projects/Puerto Rico TIGER Fixup

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This project is about an island-wide mapping effort for fixing and updating PR's roads to better reflect reality. Most of the island's roads are from a US Census TIGER data set which was primarily updated for the 2000 census and thus need to be fixed and updated. TIGER roads are known for having good connectivity but not the best positional accuracy. On top of that, in Puerto Rico, a lot of imported roads really don't exist and there's a widespread incorrect usage of the highway=track tag. Learn more about the nature of TIGER roads in OSM and their issues: TIGER fixup. This project has no timeline and does not necessarily have any priority over other projects in Puerto Rico. Contact igeopr to inquire about this project. Contributors are welcomed!

Project Phases

To have a manageable workload, the project is divided in two phases which can be worked on concurrently.

State Highways Phase

Known in Spanish as "Carreteras Estatales", these are roads managed by the state government and are the most important type of roads: motorway, trunk, primary, secondary and tertiary. The government agency in charge of managing these roads is the Puerto Rico Highway and Transportation Authority (PRHTA), known as Autoridad de Carreteras y Transportación (ACT) in spanish.

PRHTA to OSM Attribute Map

PRHTA identifies state highways with a number, on road signs this number appear with the prefix "PR-" (e.g. PR-22). PRHTA mostly classifies states roads in the following categories: freeway, primary, secondary, tertiary. There isn't and equivalent OSM "trunk" key thus usage of this key is decided by contributors. Also, PRHTA doesn't provide names for state highways but in reality they do exist everywhere and are used in addresses, road signs, zoning maps, etc. These names can apply to the state road from start to finish or a specific segment of it. Such is the case of PR-2 where other than having "Carretera 2" as a name by default, in San Juan it's has a segment named "Avenida John F. Kennedy" and in other municipalities it has segments with other names. On OpenStreetMap you'll see these names primarily because they came with the initial TIGER import.

freeway motorway
n/a trunk
primary primary
secondary secondary
tertiary tertiary
road number ref Example: "PR-2"
n/a name Name of a specific segment, otherwise default name would be "Carretera 2".
n/a alt_name If applicable, if segment is also currently known by another name.
n/a old_name If applicable, if segment previously had another name.
n/a oneway If applicable.

Mapping Tasks

  • Make sure a state highway starts and ends where it's supposed to and apply tags from the attribute map table shown above.
  • Convert single carriageways to dual carriageways when applicable.
  • Fix geometry. Only when really necessary.
  • Turn restrictions need to be assigned when applicable. This is easier to do with the turnrestrictions plugin in JOSM.

Work Environment

  • Prepare a JOSM session with this Recommended Imagery.
  • In JOSM, add the WMS service endpoint below and choose "Carreteras Estatales" layer with "png" format. This layer shows the source PRHTA state highways rendered with OSM's highway classification colors and road numbers. The idea is to overlay this layer on top of imagery in order to do the mapping tasks.
  • In JOSM, add the Strava Cycling Heatmap layer for mapping roads hidden by vegetation.
  • Source: PRHTA state highways were downloaded from here.

Non-State Highways Phase

This includes all other roads that were also imported from the initial TIGER import.

Mapping Tasks

  • Correct Road Classifications. Specifically, correct the widespread wrong assignment of highway=track tags unless this road is located on agricultural land or simply is an unpaved road wide enough for a vehicle that doesn't lead to houses.
  • Fix Geometry of Existing Roads. Only when really necessary, otherwise the project will get stuck on this time-consuming task.
  • Delete Non-existing Roads.
  • Add Missing Roads.
  • Add Missing Names to Existing Roads. This is primarily for residential streets, use the New & Misaligned TIGER Roads (2015) layer in JOSM under Imagery/Preferences/Imagery Preferences/Imagery Providers.

Work Environment

  • Pick a municipality (municipio) you’d like to contribute to. First, take a look at the project progress section on this page to know which municipalities are not currently being worked on.
  • Use a grid to guide you along your municipality. Click here to download. This is a GPX layer that you can bring up as a reference in JOSM. Use it to go row by row, west to east (or viceversa) covering all places.
  • Prepare a JOSM project with this recommended imagery, your municipality grid guide, and the New & Misaligned TIGER Roads (2015) layer (provided by JOSM) which shows current roads and their names.

Case Scenarios

Problem Solution
Road is misaligned (outside road area as shown on imagery) Zoom into the imagery as adequate, make sure to connect the new road to an existing one (just click anywhere on top of it), and draw your new road. Now add some basic tags to it (basic tags if applicable: highway, name, ref, oneway). For example: “highway=residential” and “name=Calle Constitución”. If you don’t know the new road’s name based on local knowledge, look up what US Census TIGER roads say: TIGERweb (use only public domain sources please, not Google Maps). In PR it’s common to see lower class roads without names. Alternately, there are roads with two names. For this, other than the “name” tag, add this other tag: “ref=ThatOtherName”. Side note: you’ll see existing roads in OSM with “tiger=this” or “tiger:something=that” tags, you don’t have to add these.
An existing road in OSM has an old name, which is not the name people use today. Commonly found in gated communities. First the road was known as “Calle 1” and now is “Calle Picaflor”. Tag it like this: “name=Calle Picaflor” and “old_name=Calle 1”.

Related Resources

  • TIGER Reviewed map. This map nicely illustrates the current state of roads in OSM.
  • TIGER fixup. This wiki page shows the issues regarding the imported TIGER roads in OSM.

Project Progress

This Google Sheet shows the progress of the State Highways Phase and the Non-State Highways Phase.