Talk:Proposed features/via ferrata

From OpenStreetMap Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Choice of the main tag

This shoud be a highway tag. --Lulu-Ann 13:40, 11 May 2009 (UTC)

Agreed, base tag should be highway=path or highway=footway. Tag should also be used together with sac_scale=*, to specify path difficulty. I also don't see need to explicitly specify start and end points. --Blaz 05:26, 27 May 2009 (UTC)

I agreee that it should be a highway tag. But path or footway could mislead users into thinking that they can walk on this path (which would be pretty dangerous). I suggest highway=via_ferrata as it is a special kind of highway.Jrouquie 22:36, 2 June 2010 (UTC)

I agree with you that tagging them with highway=path could mislead people. I do no agree that the default should imply oneway=yes: most vie ferrate are used in one certain direction, yes; but it is not forbidden to go them the other way round.--Geogast 12:09, 18 August 2010 (BST)
I don't think that highway=path could mislead people, because people usually don't look at single tags. They just see the output of a renderer. Tagging is a low-level thing that is transparent to the end user. Apart from that, a ferrata is not necessarily more difficult or dangerous than a normal hiking trail. --Fkv 00:30, 19 August 2010 (BST)
I'm not in favor of using highway=path. Not because a via ferrata isn't a path, but because the openstreetmap path has mostly been used for cases where people are expected to walk without special equipements. Additionnal tags could of course solve the case, but any data consumer tool around here (mkgmap, renderers, routing programs, ...) would need to know about that new tag in order to make good use of it, and given that via ferrata are rather uncommon, that day might never come, and the risk of confusion for end users is high. That's pragmatism I think, and not using path's coast is low IMHO. sletuffe 23:49, 22 August 2010 (BST)
I agree on highway=via_ferrata and oppose highway=path, because it is not a "path" on the difficult end. There might be some cases where it could be seen either as difficult path or as easy via ferrata. But this is up to the mapper to decide. -- Dieterdreist 17:04, 6 September 2010 (BST)
As I've already written above, a via ferrata is not necessarily more difficult than other paths. And as I wrote elsewhere on this page, the safety measures actually reduce difficulty. So it makes no sense to compare a difficult path to an easy via ferrata. You need to compare an easy path to an easy via ferrata, or a difficult path to a difficult via ferrata. On the easy end, they are hard to distinguish. What if there's only one ladder? Do you make the whole path highway=via_ferrata? And what if you can go around that ladder? highway="path;via_ferrata" ? --Fkv (talk) 21:35, 10 April 2015 (UTC)
You could map the ladder and the path separately. Normally a single ladder does not make a via ferrata. RicoZ (talk) 11:51, 11 April 2015 (UTC)
So what makes a via ferrata? --Fkv (talk) 05:37, 12 April 2015 (UTC)
They are (officialy or otherwise) designated or described/known as via ferrata. RicoZ (talk) 11:46, 12 April 2015 (UTC)
The Springlessteig has exactly one ladder (height: ca. 4m), and it is designated as via ferrata. --Fkv (talk) 16:17, 12 April 2015 (UTC)
It also seems to have cables though it looks like a very easy via ferrata. If there is any chance that a ferrata kit can be useful I would tag it as via ferrata notwithstanding the fact that it is much easier than some difficult hiking paths. Sometimes the official designation may be plain wrong. RicoZ (talk) 17:26, 12 April 2015 (UTC)
The cables are some kind of handrail. They are unstable. You can pull out the anchors with your bare hands easily. A ferrata kit is not useful here at all. Of course this is an easy ferrata. It's grade A. Should only grade C-F be mapped as highway=via_ferrata, or what's the limit? There's still no definition for highway=via_ferrata. The definition by designation did not hold. --Fkv (talk) 18:08, 12 April 2015 (UTC)
It may be the odd case where the official designation is simply wrong. RicoZ (talk) 11:33, 13 April 2015 (UTC)
The designation is not wrong. It says "A", and A means that there's at least one safety measure. We also have designations like "B/1+", meaning both ferrata_scale=B and uiaa_scale=1+. That's why we cannot use different highway=* tags for hiking paths, ferratas and climbing routes. --Fkv (talk) 17:11, 13 April 2015 (UTC)
The designation is probably wrong in this case because the cable appears useless if not dangerous as safety measure from what I did read. highway=steps also has a safety measure if it has a handrail. Why should steps have its own highway value and not via ferrata or a climbing route? RicoZ (talk) 22:52, 13 April 2015 (UTC)
The cable may be dangerous, but the ladder is not. It is definitely useful. Steps have their own highway value because they are distinguishable. It's an old tag. If it were to be reinvented, we would probably choose a steps=yes attribute instead, because steps may apply to highway=path, footway and even some cycleways. --Fkv (talk) 10:52, 14 April 2015 (UTC)

↲ This special case should be probably mapped as a hiking path and ladder. Maybe the translation Klettersteig-via ferrata is not always precise? For me the expectation of a via ferrata is some kind of challenge but not the "best connecting" path of any kind. They may be easy ones for kids or extremely difficult but rarely a useful routing alternative for people not searching via ferratas specifically. I think there are good arguments both for and against mapping it with highway=path/steps and some additional ferrata specific tags but this should be decided completely independently of the fact whether or not highway=via_ferrata is rendered by mapnik. In fact it would appear that mapnik folks would not be opposed to rendering via_ferrata if we would approve it ( For me the only reason to change the main tag would be orthogonality, like we can't have for example highway=steps in combination with highway=via_ferrata. However I find it difficult to find an example where this combination would be actually useful? The problems of tagging via ferrata as paths should also not be neglected: many times mappers will know it is one of the more difficult via ferrata and not passable without special precautions/equipment but will not have enough information to tag the scale and other details correctly. In such cases highway=via_ferrata is preferable because even without further details anyone is alerted that it may be a difficult one. highway=path+via_ferrata=yes would fix that issue - only if and after it would be supported by software. I doubt the slight technical advantage of orthogonality is worth it as some software already supports highway=via_ferrata and the theoretical gain of using the alternative is not convincing for me. RicoZ (talk) 10:41, 15 April 2015 (UTC)

When mappers know of a difficult via ferrata, they know the difficulty as well, because these difficulties are documented in the web, in climbing guides, and in most cases in situ too. Also if you survey the course of a ferrata, you'll find out its difficulty by experience. When you know the course, you know the difficulty. When you don't know the course, you cannot map it. As to "anyone is alerted that it may be a difficult one": You again mistakenly assume that ferratas are more difficult than other paths. --Fkv (talk) 11:40, 15 April 2015 (UTC)
It seems we are discussing in circles. Look back at my previous post - apart of not (yet) being rendered what is the problem you are trying to solve? RicoZ (talk) 11:07, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
The crux is that I don't see any problem to solve. That's why I see no need for a new highway tag. We only need new tags when established tags don't suffice. The established tags can depict everything except the difficulty. Therefore, I appreciate tags like (via_)ferrata_scale=*. I do not appreciate highway=via_ferrata, because it does not solve any problems. It only generates problems (unclear definition, compatibility with existing data and applications). --Fkv (talk) 11:43, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
I consider highway=via_ferrata de-facto and supported by some software. On the other hand if we would retag all via ferratas as highway=path we might provoke many more dangerous situations when the paths are rendered/routed by software not aware of the via_ferrata specific tags. The unclear definition is a bit of a problem but very many features in OSM have such issues and it gives you the freedom to map as you like. I don't see what you call the "compatibility with existing data and applications" problem. RicoZ (talk) 12:38, 17 April 2015 (UTC)

@sletuffe: So the only reason you could name so far is to hide the ways from the renderer. You could as well delete the ways, freeing database space. When your tag gets approved, it will be just a matter of time when paths like the Springlessteig and Völlerin get modified to highway=via_ferrata, disappearing from hiking maps. Hikers will than use other paths. But all alternative paths are much more difficult and dangerous in that area. Chances are that people will die as a consequence of this proposal. --Fkv (talk) 21:35, 10 April 2015 (UTC)
via_ferrata is well supported for already quite some time by OpenAndroMaps. Mapnik was never suitable and will never be for mountain hiking, hiking maps should support this tag. RicoZ (talk) 11:51, 11 April 2015 (UTC)

Just realized, that the "name"-tag also should be used, as it might be really helpful to find a particular via ferrata with any form of search function. to encourage the use of the name-tag i added it to the proposal-page. example: name=Haidsteig. it can be discussed if "...via ferrata" or "...Klettersteig" also should be added to the name, if it's commonly known under this name, like "Seewand Klettersteig" or just "Seewand"; "Via ferrata Piz de Lech" or just "Piz de Lech". imho i would tend to the longer name --Quarksteilchen 16:20, 2 November 2011 (UTC)

Agreed. When I first wrote this proposal 2, it was so obvious in my head that name=* was really welcome that I forgot to mention it. sletuffe 03:15, 21 January 2012 (UTC)

I strongly object. Making a via_ferrata a highway main tag will break existing tagging. As I understand it, most via_ferratas are today tagged as highway=path, sac_scale >=4. If you force a re-tagging to via_ferrata to replace them you will break all existing editors and renderers. You will also create uncertainty because you always need to distinguish between path and via_ferrata and invite a lot of mistaggings from normal hiking mappers - just like today "flatland mappers" tend to set sac_scales one level too high. With the difference that a wrong sac_scale does not cause a path to disappear from the existing maps, but your highway=via_ferrata would make them disappear from all normal maps. While it is true that highway=path has become pretty ambiguous, via_ferrata is the wrong place to try and solve that. Much more important would be to distinguish between a wide, well-built mixed foot/cycle path (which is the original meaning) and an unmade narrow hiking trail (highway=trail was proposed for this. But unfortunately considered unnecessary. The (mis)use of path for hiking trails was preferred). It makes no sense to keep the main ambiguity between foot/cycleway/city parks and hiking/mountain trails and add an incompatible special case. Either remain compatible, then via_ferrata should be an additional tag. Or really resolve the problems and accept the incompatibility to make an improvement. Then you get highway=path in its original meaning, highway=trail for a general use hiking trail and highway=via_ferrata for special mountain trails. --Nop (talk) 08:50, 24 January 2014 (UTC)

Start and end point

Yes, we need something in OSM for this type of ways. Start and end points (with elevation) seem useful for those without a mapping gps. Maybe some other type of points (with elevation) are useful: branching points, special difficulties, bridges, cables. --Gerchla 09:25, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

First, I think that start and end points are unnecessary. That can be indicated with the direction of the path. Where the sport=via_ferrata tag begins is the start point and where it ends the end point. Balgofil 07:55, 4 August 2009 (UTC)

I agree that start and enpoint are unnecessary. The default should be to imply oneway=yes.Jrouquie 22:36, 2 June 2010 (UTC)

I don't see a problem in adding elevation only on any nodes along the way, without a need for start and end points. sletuffe 23:50, 22 August 2010 (BST)

rating via ferrata's difficulty

Second, I think that the sac_scale=* isn't a good tag to describe the difficulty. Just because there is no international standard for the difficulty, I think we should use something like described on the wikipedia pages like grade 1..5 or A..E or the french climbing system. In the features list there should also be tyrolienne, 2-cable-bridge, 3-cable-bridge, cobweb, ladder etc. I think it should a bit tagged like this, but without track_visibility and sac_scale. If we need all coordinates of the via ferratas we should ask They have a lot of European via ferratas.--Balgofil 07:55, 4 August 2009 (UTC)

We also need: via_ferrata_scale = A...F
I think this is the most common used scale for via ferratas from Hüsler,
see also
Sometimes it is already used by mappers, but it is still not an accepted feature and the usage is not consistent.
The sac_scale is not applicable for via ferratas.
I don't think we need the start and end tag.
Additional tags like via_ferrata=tyrolienne, bridge, cobweb, ladder, cable, ... are maybe useful, but not top priority.
The most important thing is, how should the via ferrata itself be tagged, either as (highway=path and sport=via_ferrata) or only as (highway=via_ferrata) ?????
Erlanger 13:21, 17 August 2010 (MESZ)

I suggest highway=path with ferrata_scale=A..F. (The "via_" is unnecessary.) A path can have all of ferrata sections, hiking sections, and free climbing sections. They correspond with ferrate_scale, sac_scale, and something like uiaa_scale.
I wouldn't use the sport tag, because the easier grades have nothing to do with sports, or let's say, not more than any other type of mountaineering. The iron just reduces danger and difficulty. Only the higher grades require strength and training. --Fkv 00:30, 19 August 2010 (BST)

Unfortunetly, I'm unable to read german at, but it seams that both the italian/french scale and the german one are really close, but with just different names. What about using a invented scale from 1 to 7 and giving the country specific equivalent ? sletuffe 23:57, 22 August 2010 (BST)
I am not sure about the current grade equivalents. According to the page you're referring to, there is only one via ferrata rated "F" (german scale), and it is described as one of the most difficult in the world. So german "F" might be more an equivalent of the italian "EX". Another page (, sorry, french only) tends to suggest this too: ED is given as the same as german E.--Eiger 11:49, 23 August 2010 (BST)
I think you are right, instead of re-inventing the wheel, I'll follow the montagne-cool mapping proposal :
France/Suisse <> Autriche/Allemagne/Suisse
PD/F +/- (peu difficile/facile) <> A +/-
AD +/- (assez difficile) <> B +/-
D +/- (difficile) <> C +/-
TD +/- (très difficile) <> D +/-
ED +/- (extrêmement difficile) <> E +/-
(plus added EX (exceptionnellement difficile <> F)
I'm also going to add the - and + modifier sletuffe 13:16, 23 August 2010 (BST)
This is the alpinist scale of difficult. Why don't use the SAC scale difficult for via-ferrata you can see here[1] Bredy 20:22, 24 settembre 2013
Hi, the rating I wrote before was about via ferrate but not climbing nor alpinism. The one you are linking to seams to be about climbing. You can see this scale on the german wikipedia here : [2] sletuffe (talk) 17:44, 4 October 2013 (UTC)


I strongly oppose removing existing sac_scale tags from Via Ferratas!

A lot of hiking paths are both path and Via Ferrata. Some hiker may feel confident using the securing (=via_ferrata) and some may not feel the need to use it at all (=path, sac_scale=demanding_xy). So both scales (via_ferrata_scale + sac_scale) can exist.

If you remove the sac_scale, the difficulty of the path is lost. Adding notes to all via ferratas and suggesting the removal is NOT helpful (User:GeoGast)! -- Fichtennadel 21:30, 15 November 2010 (UTC)

Mmmmmm... I'm unsure about this. Still, people can add both scales, but as I understand the extrem part of sac_scale=difficult_alpine_hiking this is not even a via_ferrata_scale=1. So my intentions was not to use highway=path on a via ferrata route at all to avoid hikers thinking that they could go there without via ferrata equipement. As it has been said on the path pages, a path is almost everything on ground a human is able to go (climbing, skiing, via ferratas, etc.) but I don't feel this way of doing is good. The risk is about the confusion with what is commonly (at least to me) considered a path. sletuffe 18:48, 16 November 2010 (UTC)
Well, as usual in life: it depends. From Key:sac_scale / demanding_alpine_hiking: "Elementary knowledge of handling with ice axe and rope". So this is definitely more than via_ferrata_scale=1, IMHO somewhere between 2 and 3. difficult_alpine_hiking: "Familiarity with the handling of technical alpine equipment","Often very exposed, precarious jagged rocks, glacier with danger to slip and fall" -> via_ferrata_scale 3-4. Take a look at the exemplary pictures for these difficulties in Key:sac_scale: quite a lot of via ferratas are definitely much less difficult then these.
I know a lot of via ferratas which are declared as such, but are used by some share of people as a normal path, without any equipment at all (via_ferrata_scale 1-2). So using highway=via_ferrata + via_ferrata_scale and highway=path + sac_scale in parallel is no contradiction but some matching description of the facts in place.
But not all via ferratas are paths, correct. IMHO via_ferrata_scale >= 4 aren't paths in the conventional meaning anymore.
Some words about the "risk" misinterpreting a via ferrata as a normal path: these are always in the mountains, where thinking and self-judgement has to be in place. A path which is also a via ferrata would never be less then sac_scale=demanding_alpine_hiking, so if someone is able to interpret the sac_scale, this should be enough information.
So in summary: you can't generally rule out sac_scale from via ferrratas. Sometimes it's appropiate, sometimes not. I would suggest to document this in the proposal as something like: "Note: sac_scale is appropiate where advanced hikers might still securely use the via ferrata without equiment".
-- Fichtennadel 07:16, 17 November 2010 (UTC)
I'm okay with your note on sac_scale. But whould you whant to add that highway=path has to be used in this case ? I do agree with your sentence about self-judgement, but when planning a journey, when using openstreetmap based maps not aware of what a via_ferrata is, someone (not expert hikers) will be mislead into ways they cannot go. There are few risks since they will just turn back, but they whould probably have prefered to be aware of that matter before being there. sletuffe 14:11, 17 November 2010 (UTC)
Yes, if highway=path then sac_scale=demanding_alpine_hiking or difficult_alpine_hiking. And the mapping person has to decide, if the via ferrata can safely be used without gear (=path). For planning a journey: I'd say the same rule applies. Currently conventional paper maps do also show (easy) via ferratas (usually as dotted lines) and the reader has to judge if he/she is fit enough. -- Fichtennadel 15:58, 17 November 2010 (UTC)
Just my personal opinion, but I would simply remove this "Do as you want" prefix on your recent adaptions to the proposal ... ;-) -- Fichtennadel 15:57, 18 November 2010 (UTC)

The proposal is still wrong in the use of sac_scale. It recommends "add sac_scale for paths usable without equipment". The higher sac_scales explicitly state that equipment is required. --Nop (talk) 08:55, 24 January 2014 (UTC)

Bridges along the way

I am uncomfortable with the bridge=2_cables and bridge=3_cables descriptions that exclude the life line, because sometimes the life line is the only upper cable and has to be grabbed with hands. Otherwise, I find it a nice proposition. What of the uncabled walking parts between cables ? It could be awkward to tag them as highway=path (path pieces will appear out of nowhere for renders that don't handle via ferrata), but they are. Gnurfos 23 August 2010

I have no problem in adding one to the number of cables if life line needs inclusion. When the life line is the one to grab, I would have choosen bridge=1_cable in my system, but If people prefere, we can count the number of wires/cables what ever their use is.
For the path section, I don't see a problem to tag what's on the ground, If no equipement is required, then I don't feel any harm in using highway=path, even if that path is not reachable and shown totally isolated on map which does not support via ferrata. (PS: probably you have in mind the via ferrata du rocher du vent ?) sletuffe 13:30, 23 August 2010 (BST)
I had in mind the via ferrata at La Colmiane but I guess a few like this exist. As for the cable number, to me the interesting information is how the section has to be passed: holding 1 cable, or holding 2 cables (one on each side). The life line being one of them or not does not interest me, but I could understand if someone finds it is an important security aspect. Anyway, tagging so precisely will probably be rare, so fantasy is possible. Gnurfos 19:02, 23 August 2010 (BST)
After a bit of thoughts about recording the cables number (which is clearly a "fantasy" that few people will map), I would suggest using the simple bridge=yes tag. With an additionnal tag like cable_number=*, that way, it's compatible with not aware renderer/maps maker. Also I will change to record the total number of cables, may it be the life dedicated cable or not sletuffe 13:36, 3 September 2010 (BST)

Tunnels along the way

Where bridges, there must be tunnels ;-). ... I do know some via ferratas (and visited at least two) with short natural or artificial caves. Should they be mapped as "tunnels"? This also can, like bridges, be used to easily know on which position you are on the via ferrata. I also added this to the proposals-page. i would tag it as tunnel=yes, or even tunnel=natural, tunnel=artificial; or should it be cave=yes, or something like the natural=cave_entrance tag? --Quarksteilchen 16:41, 2 November 2011 (UTC)

I favor using tunnel=yes. And propose that additionnal tags should be added such as artificial=yes/no; natural=cave_entrance if that's also a cave, etc. sletuffe 03:20, 21 January 2012 (UTC)

Version 2 of the proposal

According to ideas and discussion mentionned above, I've re-wrote almost completly this proposal, and I've split this talk page in order to discuss the different aspects of this proposal. sletuffe 23:41, 22 August 2010 (BST)

Sample Map with Via Ferrata Overlay and Info

To make progress it could help to have some sample map with via_ferrata information. Um vorwärts zu kommen würde es Sinn machen wenn "Jemand" eine Beispielkarte mit den momentan verfügbaren "via_ferrata" Informationen erstellen täte. Ggf. nur als Overlay, wie z.B. die Wohnmobilkarte von User:Marmai.--Gerchla 17:14, 19 September 2010 (BST)

These are already tagged that way: Download examples as data.osm file --Gerchla 12:47, 25 September 2010 (BST)

These are tagged with sport=via_ferrata: Download sport=via_ferrata as data.osm file

These are tagged with via_ferrata= : via_ferrata as data.osm file --Gerchla 13:12, 25 September 2010 (BST)

Although this was requested a long while ago, here's an overview map I created recently: --Arminus (talk) 07:59, 20 May 2016 (UTC)

Exchange subjective comments with objective Comments for the difficulty

Sorry, but the subjective comments are crap. They do not allow to make any sound judgement in classifying the difficulty. Best would be to exchange them with objective gradings based on French and German difficulty schemes - and besides that add sample photos. (i.e."Easy, suitable for initiation into the sport." - can mean virtually anything - the other comments are no better). Extremecarver 08:24, 18 November 2010 (UTC)

Unfortunetly, I've search for an allready existing not subjective scale, but it doesn't exist AFAIK. The one proposed on the page is a direct translation from the french scale which is the one used in france/switzerland/germany and always contains unverifiable words like "for beginners" "for experts" "for children" which of course if fully subjective as "experts" has a wide meaning.
Since that scale is allready in use in those country, which will probably be the primary source for scale choosing, I propose to keep it and extend it/or redifine it with one we could create for that matter. But that's not going to be easy at all. Ideas for that scale : based on Elevation difference between start point and end point, total time, vertical length on some parts, maximum distance between life lines attach points, length of max bridge. sletuffe 11:49, 18 November 2010 (UTC)
On the german wikipedia page, there is quite a good explication of the german scale:
I find this much better, than just saying easy, children or whatever. We could just use it (neither in English nor in French I have found requirements on what is considered how, it rather seems to be based on local conditions and distributing the categories around the available via_ferratas (just like skifields classifiy their slopes based on marketing rather than objective criteria). That is not a good approach however, for an international database. One could still dispute if the classification as found on the german wikipedia works for the other regions too or not. What I'ld find nice to add would be a subjective typical passing time. Of course this is heavily dependant on the skills/speed but I think a consensus on average time could be found. This is especially important for very long ferratas.
I think additional keys could be based on what is indicated for the Gemmi Klettersteig in Leukerbad - the longest ferata of Switzerland. Being: total time, elevation uphill (from bottom to top), elevation downhill (a ferrata might have some downhill meters, that render the vertical A to B distance bigger, length of roped parts, number and length of leddars. Additionally maybe recommended length of rope for unsecured parts and a very simple 0-2 scale were 0=very few people rope in, 1=many people rope in, 2, nearly everyone uses a rope... Only problem with a lot of this data is if it is indicated, if we are allowed to publish it in OSM...--Extremecarver 12:35, 18 November 2010 (UTC)
Good to hear the german wikipedia has made some efforts in that direction, the french one is definitively much worse and does only contain subjective "easy" "medium" "hard" "very hard" ... comments. Since I'm completly unable to understand german, whould some nice guy ;-) propose to translate it to english and propose it next to via_ferrata:scale values ?
Your idea about recording the "average estimated elapsed time" is a good idea and could be proposed has a tag for the whole length. But since we might record bridges and ladder in ways we will probably need a relation to group them all and record this duration, the global scale and so on.
For the unsecured part you are talking about, I would say that this oppose what I define a via_ferrata and whould suggest other tag in the climbing area, but not this proposal.
For the copyrights, just like every other recorded data in osm, if it's recordable, and verifiable, then record it the best you can if you can't copy it. sletuffe 16:00, 18 November 2010 (UTC)
I translated the "German" Hüsler scale into English (damn, I had to do it all by myself, no translation to be found anywhere on the net). --Extremecarver 21:24, 18 November 2010 (UTC)
A bit late but congratulations for this very good work, the new difficulty scale description is much more objective like this. IMHO The level 0 of the scale perfectly fits in as it is the junction with the sac_scale=* even if some could argue they overlap on both the upper and lower part but I don't find it a problem. sletuffe 00:04, 24 November 2010 (UTC)


Three years under proposition and no decision yet? Come on, people, life is short. --Gspinoza 13:23, 31 August 2012 (BST)

Merge with other Proposal?

I have opened a proposal about "saftey measures on hiking trails" like rungs and fixed ropes. Maybe we can merge this. My Proposal ist not for Via Ferratas, but for hiking trails, but your definition of via_ferrata_scale=0 (not real a Via Ferrata) is for that kind of hiking_trails. See also: [3] first comment. unixasket 09:43, 21 September 2012 (CEST)

English is not my language, but from the wikipedia page Via_ferrata I suggest that we could use the "assisted hiking trail" expression for the trails which match the via_ferrata_scale=0 definition. In italian we call them "sentiero attrezzato", maybe somebody knows a better english term. Since the aiding devices are largely the same for an assisted trail and a via ferrata, I favour the merge of the proposals and the expansion of the "Details along the way" to accomodate more tags.--Kaitu 16:20, 22 September 2012 (BST)--
+1 but please propose a wording to describe where and how you'd like to merge your proposal into this one. There are cases I can think of, where I still use via_ferrata_scale=0 combined with highway=via_ferrata. Those cases are where every local people I would ask answer me "yes it is a via ferrata" sletuffe 17:39, 21 September 2012 (BST)
+1 The current scale proposal associates "via_ferrata_scale=0" with french "F" and the description says "no equipment necessary". There are some via ferratas rated "F" for which I would never tell anyone "you can walk this without any equipment". In such cases, I think it still makes sense to tag them with highway=via_ferrata and not highway=path. The more I think about it, the more I am tempted to associate french "F" with via_ferrata_scale=1, just as "PD". In such case, the via_ferrata_scale=0 would be free to tag trails with ropes, chains, etc.--Eiger 19:21, 21 September 2012 (BST)
+1. However, if we decide to shift so that the "french "F" is tagged via_ferrata_scale=1, "PD" is tagged via_ferrata_scale=2,... then via_ferrata_scale=0 would not mean it is a via ferrata any more. I would then propose to remove it and use some other tags, like safety_rope=yes or whatever. (As mean of demonstration, this : is a via ferrata flaged "F" in france, and I wouldn't tell anyone to go there without safety equipement) sletuffe 11:36, 22 September 2012 (BST)
The pictures of a via ferrata flaged "F" in France tell me the problem is in the description of via_ferrata_scale=0. It would be better if we remove the "Not really a via_ferrata" text from the "Securance" clause and the note to use highway=path instead of highway=via_ferrata. Then there's no need to merge the "safety measures on hiking trails" with the proposal for Via Ferratas anymore. What I think we would still miss is then a tag that tells that an hiking trail (not a via ferrata) overall has sections equipped with devices to increase ease and security. Maybe we could add a flag like assisted_trail=yes/no to a highway=path to easily serve that purpose. This is not needed if the path is splitted into sections individually tagged as described in the "safety measures on hiking trails". --Kaitu 16:20, 22 September 2012 (BST)
+1 OK, then please change the description of via_ferrata_scale=0 and I add a extra tag to the proposal "safety measures on hiking trails": assisted_trail=yes/no. unixasket 08:16, 26 September 2012 (CEST)
Done. --Kaitu 22:11, 26 September 2012 (BST)


I think the time has come to get this proposal approved. No changes or comments have been added for about one year and it is used almost 200 times. --Hedaja (talk) 19:03, 12 August 2013 (UTC)

  • I agree, it's time to vote. Bredy 17:25, 28 September 2013 (UTC)
  • I agree, the tag is used 300 times. Mapmaniak 18:35 10 April 2015 (UTC)
  • I disagree. Nobody has responded yet to my suggestion to use ferrata_scale=* instead of the incredibly long via_verrata_scale=*. And I am still waiting for someone to tell a reason why we need a new main tag highway=fia_ferrata instead of highway=path + ferrata_scale, except to hide it from the renderer. --Fkv (talk) 20:31, 10 April 2015 (UTC)
  • I agree, it's time to vote. And I want to know how to tag Via Ferratas. --Teddych (talk) 08:50, 9 August 2015 (UTC)
Not a good season for voting at this time of the year, tagging as described in the proposal is a safe bet. RicoZ (talk) 13:23, 9 August 2015 (UTC)

Via ferrata - path

For me about the note "Note : If no special equipment is required, and only short sections of the path are equipped with technical means in order to increase ease and security, it should be tagged as highway=path with the appropriate sac_scale=* but not with this proposal." is not correct because the first scale grade of via ferrate say "Equipment Via-Ferrata kit not needed". Then all section of path that equiped with techincal means are via ferrata, with this when you see in the map a path marked with cross you see there are some equiped. Bredy 12:25, 30 September 2013 (UTC)

I do agree with you, in the history of this proposal, there were arguments about what mean "equipement needed" and some people argued that on the same via ferrata, people would use equipement while other would not. In the late evolution of this proposal, the sentence you are quoting was added and the sentence "Equipment Via-Ferrata kit not needed" for level 0 was also added, but I don't think that's good. In my opinion, if local people call it a via ferrata, then it is supposed that the majority of people traveling on this vi ferrata will use equipement. Sure, on some really easy one, you will still find people without harness, but when I read "Equipment Via-Ferrata kit not needed" what I understand is that this isn't a via ferrata anymore, but that is contradictory to the french rated "F" as in france, even on a "F" via ferrata most people will recommend the use of equipement.
As the level 0 description in osm comes from no scale (the translation was done from german and german doesn't have bellow A, what I suggest would be to change the via_ferrata_scale 0 to this :
Key Value Element Description Conversion Examples
via_ferrata_scale 0 WayNode Subjective Difficulty very little

Way/Surroundings Flat to steep, Exposed sections possible

Securance Steel cables, chains, stemples (metal rungs) and partly short iron ladders. Short and easy.

Exigencies Surefootedness and being free from giddiness recommendable. No problem for unsporty

Equipment Via-Ferrata recommended, but Experienced ferrata users are often met without self-securance


German: none - or A

About the comment below the table, either remove them completly, or change them, but the sentence "Is in general not considered as a via ferrata but a normal way featuring via ferrata objects." is not really correct for french scale "F" as it is considered a via ferrata by most people or else it wouldn't have any via ferrata rating. (In france, when short portion of a path are equiped with ropes or ladders but don't have anyone one to rate it in the via ferrata scale, then no one consider it a via ferrata.) sletuffe (talk) 18:06, 4 October 2013 (UTC)


I propose tag creepers=yes for the feature shown in following image: Thumb --*Martin* (talk) 07:08, 7 April 2014 (UTC) ==

Ladder bridge ?

How should we tag following feature: Thumb? It is actually not on via ferrata route but maybe it should belong here. If not then we should create separate pages for every feature as ladder, creepers, or extend tunnel/bridge page because they can exist on non via ferrata routes. --*Martin* (talk) 07:20, 7 April 2014 (UTC)

I'd said that this is a bridge that'I would tag bridge=yes + highway=path + eventually some new tag like bridge:type=wood_step . But I think it is independant of via ferrata (via ferrata give the highway value to use, we still use bridge=yes for bridges along a via ferrata sletuffe (talk) 10:57, 7 April 2014 (UTC)
It is very similar to bridge=boardwalk, possibly this value could be used with additional hints like sac_scale=2 (might be pretty nasty when wet). Other possibility would be to introduce bridge:structure=ladder, though it is somewhat difficult to distinguish from boardwalks. Values for bridge=* should not be extended anymore. RicoZ (talk) 10:27, 11 September 2014 (UTC)

RFC for aerialway=zip_line started

The proposal may also cover tyrolienes and similar, see Proposed_feature/aerialway=zip_line . RicoZ (talk) 12:24, 17 February 2015 (UTC)

What about the via cordata? and others

Via cordata could meet the same material on some parts, difficulties, etc

it should meet a tag more generalist like highway=climbway Rammstan 10:21 3 augustus 2016

Last call before RFC/voting

While I am aware of the objections to this proposal there is a need to map via_ferratas somehow and I do not see any better proposal anywhere. The current situation hurts everyone, ferratas are not very numerous and have a hard time gaining attention without an approved proposal. So lets try to see if we can improve on the most serious objections:

  • use highway=path + ferrata=yes instead of highway=via_ferrata : ferrata=yes is what has been termed a trolltag in recent discussions ml discussions ( ) and several software developers indicated their unwillingness to support troll tags of any kind. The arguments for highway=path + ferrata=yes used to be that
    • the distinction between easy ferrata and and difficult hiking path is not perfectly clear cut. True, but the distinction between path and track, track and road etc etc will never be completely clear cut either and they do still exist. Lets try a distinction that works and allow for overlap where it does not hurt.
    • highway=path would be rendered while via_ferrata would not. This is no longer true, several outdoor maps support highway=via_ferrata, mapnik is irrelevant for this purpose and more maps/apps would render via_ferrata if it would be finally voted upon.
    • highway=path is by default open to all non-motorized vehicles. Reusing higway=path for ferratas would mean we would have to explicitly tag at least horse=no,bicycle=no for every single one. Neither ferrata=yes nor ferrata=scale would obviate this as such use would be considered troll tags.
  • use "ferrata_scale" instead of the overly verbose "via_ferrata_scale" : I would support that idea, with a long deprecation period of the verbose variant which is already in use.

RicoZ (talk) 14:26, 10 January 2016 (UTC)

RicoZ wrote: I do not see any better proposal anywhere.
The whole proposal is quite good as is for me, except for the Equipment Via-Ferrata kit not needed sentence for the via_ferrata_scale = 0. Some might think I'm nitpicking about words (that isn't totally wrong !) but I find the use of the verb "to need" inappropriate as we could argue that there never is a "need" for everyone. (Some crazy people do try anything without secure equipement). I'd favor a sentence in the line of Basic via ferrata kit recommended but not used by some people (The French equivalent beeing "F", in France, those via ferrate have signs saying that equipement is recommended, but the distinction with via_ferrata_scale = 1 is not really clear about equipement .)sletuffe (talk) 19:56, 10 January 2016 (UTC)
tried to tweak that.RicoZ (talk) 20:28, 12 January 2016 (UTC)
Fine for me. sletuffe (talk) 00:01, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
one problem that I see is the wording: both "securance" and "exigencies" are fairly exotic words, perhaps a little archaic. Are there any better English words for that?RicoZ (talk) 20:28, 12 January 2016 (UTC)

Many would agree on a the simple solution: highway=path + (via_)ferrata_scale=*. Routers/apps may apply new defaults like horse/bicycle=no or discouraged. Overlap does hurt and has historical roots, see lack of proper distinction in footway vs path. Your troll tag hint appears not to strong. My opinion: No need to invent a new highway type for a couple of 1000 objects (at best). When will the RFC/voting likely start? --geow (talk) 20:04, 8 June 2016 (UTC)

highway=path is by default suitable for hiking/walking, via_ferrata is not. How do you want to tag that?
Inventing a new highway type is damn cheap - every tool/renderer can ignore it if it doesn't want to support it, works perfectly by default. Inventing a new rare attribute for an established highway type which does substantially modify its meaning is a disaster - nobody will support it for a long time and tools will continue to evaluate/route it wrongly for years. Even worse doing it with highway=path which is already a disaster since a long time.
Having said that, my thoughts have evolved and I want to orthogonalize the proposal:
  • invent highway=climbing or reuse route=climbing from the climbing proposal for segments which are definitely "more climbing than hiking"
  • use relation via_ferrata to "collect" all segments
RicoZ (talk) 11:00, 9 June 2016 (UTC)

Relations for connected ferrata ways

Something which hasn't been discussed here it seems: I'd like to propose to use relations to group ways which belong to a distinct via ferrata. This is common practice with MTB and cross-country skiing trails and possible visualizations could really gain by this, see for example --Arminus (talk) 08:05, 20 May 2016 (UTC)

We had a discussion about this on the Austrian mailing list and it might be a good idea to use via_ferrata relation for all ferratas. That would solve the problem that some ferratas include segments that can be better described with other highway types. So there might be a relation via_ferrata that would have segments of type highway=path, highway=climbing (or climbing_path) and similar. RicoZ (talk) 22:08, 8 June 2016 (UTC)