Talk:South African Tagging Guidelines

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What about highway=tertiary

Can we find a place for it? Firefishy 17:13, 28 March 2007 (BST)

Pretoria Central

In Pretoria Central, we have the R101 (Paul Kruger / Potgieter / Schubart), the R104 (Church), the M1 (DF Malan), M2 (Skinner), the M3 (Nelson Mandela) and the M4 (Schoeman and ?). So strictly adhering to Adrian's scheme will result in one not being able to follow the routes. -- Nic 17:48, 20 May 2007 (BST)

Not able to follow the routes? What do you mean? We have the tag ref=<route number>. We can distinguish the different types of road that way. The highway tag is supposed to indicate the quality/size of the road, not the legal status. "motorway" is the same thing as "freeway" (just the British terminology, where we have the American). Not all freeways are national roads, nor are all national roads freeways. The fact that the freeways are rendered in blue is, of course, a coincidence. - Htonl 21:04, 27 September 2007 (BST)
I mean't they're all the same colour, hence difficult to follow. -- Nic 19:21, 24 August 2008 (UTC)


I think the whole system should be changed Motorways = all roads designated as a freeway Trunk = N routes (N1 to N18); Primary = Low number R roads ; Secondary = High number R roads; Tertiary - all other tar roads ; Unclassified - gravel and other roads; chris11 25 September 2007

I wouldn't agree entirely with that entirely:

  • Making trunk for N roads only - not opposed to that change; I was worried myself about N and low-number R roads being classified the same.
  • M roads need to also be classified in primary/secondary - they are not all as small as tertiary roads.
  • Not all tar roads should be tertiary - look at Map Features for more, but, basically, "ordinary" side streets in the city or the suburbs, for example, are "unclassified" (or "residential" where appropriate) - definitely not "tertiary".

I'll apply the changes to the page. - Htonl 21:04, 27 September 2007 (BST)

Agreed - narrow tar roads with no centre markings etc should be unclassified and not tertiary.

chris11 30 September 2007


Could we include tracks in the list? South Africa has a lot of farm roads, "Jeep" tracks, roads that don't even have gravel, informal settlement roads, 4x4 recreational roads and roads that are in such a bad state of neglect that 2 wheel drive vehicles cannot use them (like Baster Foetslaan Pass which will likely never be repaired). Andrew 03/04/2012

Proposed alternate tagging scheme

I propose an alternative scheme that focuses first on defined routes. A route (e.g. N1, R101, M1) would have its highway=whatever tag for the entire route even if the road type changes. Routes are what people reading a map are really wanting to see. The actuall physical road type, i.e. freeway, residential, etc is not want people need most from a map.

Route type Tags Description Example
National routes (N roads) highway=motorway
The primary national routes connecting the country together. N1, N2, N3, N6, N12, N18
On/off ramps to N roads highwayMotorway_link
Where access is limited to special connection roads. On ramps
Regional routes, major (R1 to R99) highway=trunk
Major routes off the national highway network. R27, R43
On/off ramps or slip roads for above highway=trunk_link
Where access is limited to special connection roads. Off ramps
Regional routes, minor (R100 and greater) highway=primary
Minor routes off the national highway network. R101, R326
Metropolitan routes (M roads) highway=secondary
The major roads within a metropolitan area. M3, M12
Roads linking cities or towns that are not part of above routes highway=tertiary
City/town streets not part of above routes and with residences highway=residential Roads where people live. Roads in suburbs
Roads in parking lots highway=service
Large parking lots (not road-side parking) Parking areas at shopping malls
Driveways, private access roads and similar highway=service Usually short roads just to get to some private area Access to an industial complex
City/town streets, all other highway=unclassified Other metro roads Roads in business areas
Tracks highway=track
optionally tracktype=grade...
Roads in informal settlements,
farm roads, unpaved roads through game parks,
recreational unpaved roads or
any rough surface road that doesn't fall under anything above
roads in some townships

-- 14 April 2012 Andrew