Mountain biking

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Logo. Feature: Mountain biking
One example for Feature: Mountain biking
Mountainbiking routes

About this Page

The goal of this page is to help create OSM maps from a mountain bikers perspective. This page is a translation of the German version that started the topic. This is to be made an official proposal (please help!) with voting taking place as soon as possible. This page is created so that there will be consistent tagging of mtb related features to tracks and paths. Please help me in putting up the proposals and voicing your support so that mountainbikers can be sure of how to quickly tag ways and knowing that they can profit from it getting mtb specific maps once the renderers have the certainity of how the ways are mapped.

For any "Newcomers". Please discuss proposals on the Proposed_features parts rather than on the talk page here, and also look for the newest decisions regarding how to tag. I think everyone will try to get an easy but specific enough feature set setup that will cover our needs as mountainbikers. Please take part in the discussions if you can think of ways how to do it better. In a few days when the Drafts have gone to RFC I will try to actualise this page with the Proposals. Currently there are some discrepancies.--Extremecarver 22:42, 20 November 2008 (UTC)

Here are the list of new proposal you can discuss on, related to mountain biking

General Tags for ways that are suitable for mtbiking, but not directly related to mtbiking as such

key comment
highway=path/track if a way is tagged highway=footway and mtbiking is possible change to highway=path foot=designated
foot=yes/no/designated/private/permissive/destination/unknown -
bicycle=yes/no/designated/private/permissive/destination/dismount/unknown Is cycling allowed? This is only a legal question.
width=<Meter> Width of way
surface=ground/sand/stone/gravel/grass/dirt -
smoothness=excellent to impassable Classification scheme regarding the physical usability of a way for wheeled vehicles.
tracktype=grade1 to grade5 Surface firmness,n usually used on highway=track.
trail_visibility=excellent/good/intermediate/bad/horrible/no Trail visibility (not route visibility) and orientation.

Basic Tags related to Mtbiking

key comment Proposal/Map Feature Page Status/Progress
mtb:scale=0-6 Difficulty grading for mtb use for level and downhill trails, also valid for ways that are no singletrails. Based on the German "Singletrailskala". key:mtb:scale Approved
mtb:scale:imba=0-4 Difficulty grading for mtb use for built tracks. Mainly applicable to North America. key:mtb:scale Approved
mtb:scale:uphill=0-5 Difficulty grading for mtb uphill use. Use if there is a significant inclination. key:mtb:scale Approved
incline=<incline in %> or up/down How steep is a trail. Please use this tag in conjunction with mtb:scale:uphill to specify direction of way (uphill vs downhill). Key:incline Approved
mtb:type=crosscountry/allmountain/downhill/trial/freeride Giving further Attributes to a trail from mountain biking perspective. Classify its usage. Proposed_features/mtb:type See commonly used values [taginfo]
mtb:description=any Any Additional information related to mtbike use of a way. Proposed_features/mtb:description Approved
mtb:access=needs to be discussed provide information about mtb access of trails, hours, days, temporarily closure.... Proposed_features/mtb_access Draft - Needs Ideas - Usage depends on other Proposals
mtb:name=any Sometimes trails have names that are only used by mountainbikers and not official. Use mtb:name to specify them. This is not Key:loc_name
class:bicycle:mtb=-3 to 3 Specify subjectively how well suited / how much fun it is to mtbike on a trail (possibility to choose "a line" of mtb:scale=0 and 1 - or only short sections that are very difficult) Class:bicycle
class:bicycle:mtb:technical=-3 to 3 Specify subjectively how well suited / how much fun a trail is for enduro/freeride/trial mountainbikers (average mtb:scale=2 and up) Class:bicycle
aerialway:bicycle:=yes/summer/no Specify if bicycles are transported on aerialways. For Gondolas, Cable_Cars and Mixed_lifts yes shall be assumed. For chairlifts, t-bars and others no is default. Use value summer, if bicycles/mtbikes are only transported during summer season. In general chairlifts and t-bars don't allow for bicycle transport, but more and more places, especially in bikeparks add hooks for bicycle transport (usually either 1 at the side, or as many as there are places at the back of the chair. Proposed_features/Piste_Maps

Relevant proposals that can accompany mtb tagged trails

key comment needs proposal Status/Progress
Information point with map of trails, typically found at the trailhead. Proposed_features/information Disputed use of access tags to describe object (see talk page), inactive but in use
Information point with direction signs. Proposed_features/Guidepost
osmc:symbol=* Notation system for trail symbols Key:osmc:symbol
trailblazed=yes A way is marked with trailblazes Proposed_features/trailblazed

The above keys seem to be in use but keep track of eventual changes, they are indicated here to point out details that are very relevant to note while surveying, and a temporary tagging scheme allow us to store it.

Additional tags if a way is part of a MTB Route / Relation

Note network=* is not defined for mtb routes. Use distance/ascent/descent/roundtrip instead to better classify a route.

key comment
route=mtb consistency with cycle and hiking routes.
ref=R811,... Reference of the way if any.
name=Alpentour Austria,... name of the route.
distance=distance in km The distance covered by this route, if known. For information of users and automatic evaluation e.g. of completeness. If no unit is given km is assumed (else use e.g. 25miles)
ascent=ascent in m The ascent covered by a route in meters (for other units use e.g. 600feet). If a route has start and end point at different altitude use descent too
descent=descent in m The descent covered by a route in meters(for other units use e.g. 100feet). Use it only if it differs from the ascent (different altitude at start/endpoint of a route).
roundtrip=yes/no Use roundtrip=no to indicate that a route goes from A to B, instead of being circular (roundtrip=yes).

You can create your own maps including route=mtb for Garmin Units/Mapsource or Qlandkarte GT by following the procedure explained here however: OSM_Map_On_Garmin/mtb_map.

How to tag ways appropriate for mtbiking

JOSM now includes mtb:scale in the presets for paths and tracks. For incline and mtb:scale:uphill; mtb:description; mtb:scale:imba or others, you can add the keys and values by clicking on "add". For keys that are not available on a preset you can either add a mtb preset from here: or directly entering the information by clicking on "ADD". JOSM Example:

Josm Properties.png

With Potlatch after selecting a way click on the "+" icon:

Potlatch Plus.png

And then replace key with the respective key, and enter the value into the gray type value here

Potlatch fields.png

Rendering of MTB maps

4UMaps Map with elevation lines, hill shading and track tags
  • VTTrack implements the MTB features on various underlying maps (OpenStreetMap, GoogleMaps, French Geoportail maps). It also includes other sources of MTB tours and trails, especially other sources whose tour/trail rating scale is mappable onto mtb:scale (,,,
  • On OpenRouteService you can route from A to B with preference for mtb trails and routes.
  • rendering of both MTB features together with specific hiking trail markings (red/green/blue/yellow) in the Czech Republic and bordering regions of surrounding countries (Germany, Austria, Poland, Slovakia) are available. The map also supports drawing of your planned trips with generation of altitude profiles.
  • implements MTB as well as hiking features. The map is optimized for outdoor activities with elevation lines, hill shading, accommodation etc. A free download of predefined maps is also available.
  • serves an online map with mountainbike focus. Covers Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland at the moment. At the same time an experiment of how to render very large areas with Maperitive.
  • Rendering HikingBikingMaps: HikingBikingMaps
  • Orienteering Map Specifications, including MTB-O
  • MTB trails with altitude profiles, routing capabilities and GPX export:
  • nice rendering for mtb's: Waymarked Trails

Rendering of MTB maps on Garmin units

You can download routable mountainbike maps for European countries, Alps, Australia/NewZealand, South America and Africa on The maps support autorouting with preference for mtb trails and cycleways, and give visual display of mtb:scale; mtb:scale:uphill (taking incline into account for "downhill arrows") and route=mtb.

You can also create your own maps using mkgmap.

Rendering on Android devices

Openandromaps provides vector maps and themes for MTB, hiking and biking. These can be used with Oruxmaps[1] or Locus[2] and provide information about mtb:scale and mtb:scale:uphill. The maps are in the mapsforge format and can also be used with other applications using implementing this format.

Map legend Example
Official MTB-Routes color codes for mtb:scale

••••••••• Brown: mtb:scale_0 or no mtb:scale tagged in OSM
••••••••• Green: mtb:scale_1
••••••••• Blue: mtb:scale_2
••••••••• Red: mtb:scale_3
••••••••• Black: mtb_scale >= 4

MTB:SCALE Color codes of highway=path|footway|track
——– Brown: no mtb:scale tagged (only for path/footway)
------- Brown / Green dashed: : mtb:scale_0 (only path/footway)
——– Green: mtb:scale_1
——– Blue: mtb:scale_2
——– Red: mtb:scale_3
------- Black / Red dashed: mtb:scale >= 4

—|——–|—— mtb:scale:uphill = 1
—||——–||—– mtb:scale:uphill = 2
—|||——–|||—- mtb:scale:uphill = 3
—||||——–||||— mtb:scale:uphill = 4
–|||||——–|||||– mtb:scale:uphill = 5

OpenAndroMaps with Locus Pro

See also