From OpenStreetMap Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Proposal status: Abandoned (inactive)
Proposed by: Ashimema
Tagging: whitewater:grade=#
Applies to: node way
Definition: Deprecates the Keys;

Rendered as: OpenLayer, (much like OpenCycleMap)
Draft started: 2009-12-29
RFC start: 2009-12-30
Vote start: 2010-01-15
Vote end: 2010-01-30

For whitewater:section_grade:

For whitewater:rapid_grade:

For whitewater:grade:


While I feel the tagging scheme put forward in WikiProject Whitewater Maps is reasonable, I do believe it could be simplified into one Key applied to both Ways and Nodes as opposed to two separate Key's for each element.

I also feel the German scale, which closely resemble the International Scale, should be used as it adds a number of benefits without compromising the current usage.


A community of Paddlers (Kayakers, Canoeists, and Whitewater Rafters) can already be found on this Wiki and have started tagging rivers for human powered navigation. Having a definitive tagging system for grade would be beneficial.

Similar and Related Proposals can be found below;


whitewater:grade=#, to be used with the below table of values;

Value Definition
A, B, C Flatwater Gradings (A being still water and C being streams up to 10-12 km/h without waves, with B in between.
1, 1+, 2-, 2, 2+, 3-, 3, 3+, 4-, 4, 4+, 5-, 5, 5+, 6 As International Scale (Including the modification that grade 6 is classed as Limit of Current Human/Technological Ability)
X Unrunnable

Note: While this proposal is "abondoned", This proposal should be pushed). --Federico Explorador (talk) 13:42, 25 February 2013 (UTC)

Applies to:

Used on Nodes to signify single rapid grades, or Ways to signify significant river sections.


A number of comments have already begun, and helped lead to this tags proposal. Copied here for ease;

IMHO the "International" scale should not be used, but rather the "German" one (which is used across the Europe, and in Australia etc.) The notable difference is that the grade VI does not mean "unrunnable" but "at the top of the (current) human possibilities". The unrunnable water is simply not marked as WW, i.e. a value like "X" should be added. (A cross, simply written as letter "X", is a mark for unrunnable place within the river description, so it fits well also for the unrunnable difficulty of the whole part which is rated.)

In addition, the German rating also includes "ZW" (Zahnwasser) grade, which is used for flat water. In the past, this grade was divided into ZW A, ZW B and ZW C with A being the steady water and C the streams up to 10-12 km/h but without waves (= not qualifying for WW), with B in between. I find this division useful for planning the trips, as the time needed to sail some distance on ZW A and ZW C differs a lot. So I'd suggest the possible tag values being: A, B, C, 1, 1+, 2-, 2, 2+, 3-, 3, 3+, 4-, 4, 4+, 5-, 5, 5+, 6, X (note that 1-, 6- and 6+ are not used in practice, AFAIK).

Note that adding the ZW grade would make the tags like "whitewater:section_grade" a logical nonsense, since ZW is not a WhiteWater. And I am strongly in favour of using the full scale from flat water to unrunnable water rather than marking just whitewater, so that the tag name "difficulty" fits better ;-) --Kavol 22:44, 8 November 2008 (UTC)