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OpenStreetRating is a proposed new OpenStreetMap sub-project that would collect and make available subjective information to support better routing for a wide variety of self-selected user groups.


OpenStreetRating is a new proposed sub-project for OpenStreetMap that would collect and make available subjective information to support better routing for a wide variety of self-selected user groups. The concept was originally presented by Halald Honone at the State Of The Map 2007 conference and this proposal is supported by ITO World with grant funding from Ideas in Transit.

Current routing systems ask users to select from a small pre-defined number of categories (pedestrian, cyclist, car driver etc). CycleStreets provides routing for two sorts of cyclist by allowing the selection of a 'quiet' route or a 'fast' route. Routino allows users to adjust the 'highway preferences' for each type of the pre-defined types of user (0% to 100% where 0% will not be used, and 50% will only be used if the route using that path is half the distance of the alternative). By contrast OpenRouteRating would provide a fully generalised system for collecting and distributing detailed information about the suitability of route sections for many more self-selected user types.

Example user groups might include:-

  • Road-racing danger cyclists: Like fast straight roads and slip-streaming. Hates bumps and give-way points
  • Mellow cyclists: Like quiet streets, paths, not too fussed about corners of occasionally having to walk a short way. Dislikes traffic, noise, pollution.
  • Parents with young children: Like wide pavements, dropped kerbs. Hates pavement parking and fast traffic
  • Sedgeway users: No idea what they like and dislike!
  • Frail-elderly wheelchair users: Likes clutter-free pavements, dropped kerbs, disabled parking. Dislikes threatening neighbourhood, slopes greater than certain gradient, very rough surfaces
  • Cultural tourists: Likes lots of historical buildings and cultural references. Dislike boring anonymous streets with no history or distinction
  • Motorcycle riders: Like well-maintained, clutter-free roads (for safety) with lots of turns (for fun) and occasional historical and cultural references. Dislikes boring highways (high quality, but straight).

Each group would be created by someone and would be provided with some basic settings for the suitability of different classes of highway. It would would then be possible to tag to individual sections of infrastructure as considered 'good', 'poor' or 'impassible'. This information would be stored in the OpenStreetRating Database and would be associated with the relevant OpenStreetMap features.

Different users from the same group can tag the same way in different ways and the routing engine will then create a route that avoids 'impassible' and has a preference for 'good' over 'bad'. The original system did this by adding a 'weighting' to the road length if it was 'poor' to encourage the routing engine to find a more attractive route. Routino allows users to select a weighting for each road classification as does CycleStreets.


Harald Halone from Østfold University College, Halden, Norway presented a prototype of a routing system that accepted user feedback at the State Of The Map 2007 conference. He presented a system where users were able to identify as a member of a particular group (or create a new group as appropriate) and could then request a routing for a particular trip. After the trip users were then asked for feedback about sections of their trip and could rate sections as 'good', 'poor' or 'impassible'. These ratings would influence subsequent routing suggestions for that group of users.

Since then there has been considerable interest and activity relating to routing, including:OpenRouteService, Your Navigation, Routino, CycleStreets and Traveling salesman which all offer online routing for various basic user groups (driver/pedestrian/cyclist/horse rider etc). A routing email list was established in September 2007 and an accessibility email list was created in July 2009.

Various suggestions have been put forward for adding subjective tags to OpenStreetMap to improve routing however in general thee proposals have been resisted because information in OpenStreetMap should be Verifiability. In addition many of these tags are only relevant to a single user group, or carry cultural assumptions. Recent proposals have included:

  • Cheltenham Standard - rating ways for suitability for cyclists. Includes 'Quiet road' to 'Fast busy roads'
  • CycleStreets quietness rating (as a percentage)[1].
  • Cycleway Condition - cycleway condition. Includes 'Excellent', 'Average', 'Poor'
  • Cycleworth - suitability for different sorts of cyclist (mountain bike, road touring etc). Includes 'Avoid at all cost' through 'Very Nice way to cycle' to 'This way is so nice to make a detour'.
  • Passability - Width for use by car drivers. Includes 'Normal','Caution','Difficult' and 'Impossible'
  • Quality based maximal speed. Guidance practical speed for car drivers. Including 'bad', 'Damaged' and 'Prohibitive'
  • Scenic. Including 'The view is a bit more aesthetic (in the category) than views from nearby locations' and 'Ugliest places on Earth; these could include deteriorated sewage plants, worst slums, concentration camps'
  • Smoothness to support routing of many different users. Includes 'Excellent - roller-blading etc', through 'Bad - trekking bike/normal cars' and 'Very horrible - ATVs'
  • White Water - Grade 1 to 6

Peter Miller, from ITO World, presented a follow-up to the talk at State Of The Map 2009 and subsequently confirmed grant funding from Ideas in Transit to support this idea. ITO, with support from the grant funding will be able to cover some of the essential costs for the project. It is proposed that this is a 'side-project', ie the information collected as part of this project would not end up in the main OpenStreetMap database, but would be available on a compatible open data license with suitable hooks into the main OpenStreetMap model. This project it being developed with the encouragement and support of Harald Holone.



This section describes offers an approach to the design and implementation of a solution. It is only a proposal and open to discussion until the end of the design phase at which point the main elements of the design will be fixed.

more needed...


The first stage for this project is to draw together an group of interested individuals and then discuss the brief. ITO World has some funds to support the establishment and operation of a server, and some modest funds to support some development.

  • Identify the interested parties
  • Agree a design brief for the project
  • Determine the list of tasks and how they are going to be carried out

Further reading