Proposal:Surface:all weather

From OpenStreetMap Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Proposal status: Abandoned (inactive)
Proposed by: Ilis
Tagging: surface=all_weather
Applies to: way
Definition: Change in values for surface=*

Draft started: 2010-09-03
RFC start: 2010-09-06


Currently the surface=* tagging relies on two general values: surface=paved and surface=unpaved, which may be further specified with more exact values such as surface=dirt or surface=asphalt.

The proposal is to split surface=unpaved into two general values surface=all_weather and surface=ground, the former including surfaces which, being technically unpaved, still do not change their condition dramatically during bad weather (namely, rain), and the latter including those which do change it. The third general value should be surface=ice_road.

The surface=unpaved should therefore be claimed deprecated or not recommended.


Since the two general values were approved earlier, there are a lot of roads having surface=unpaved. However, the roads that are technically "unpaved" fall into two categories depending on whether they remain ridable during rain. The difference is especially clear in countries with poor roads, e.g. Russia.

More accurately, there are 4 categories:

  • surfaces that stand the weather and transport - these are surface=paved and should stay that way,
  • surfaces that become worse during rain but still remain ridable by an ordinary car - these should be tagged as surface=all_weather,
  • surfaces that become worse during rain and may not be ridable by an ordinary car - these should be tagged as surface=ground,
  • surfaces that exist only during a certain season - currently only surface=ice_road which should remain as it is.

An "all-weather road" is a term mentioned in Wikipedia.

The reasons for having a distinct tag surface=all_weather are the following.

  1. Sometimes we don't know the type of the covering, but know it exists.
  2. Quite often the covering alternates from one type to another along the same highway.
  3. In some cases the covering may be changed (e.g. from compacted to gravel).


  • paved
    • asphalt
    • cobblestone
    • concrete
    • metal
    • paving_stones
  • unpaved (not recommended)
    • all_weather
      • compacted
      • gravel
      • pebblestone
      • grass_paver
      • wood
    • ground
      • earth
      • mud
      • grass
      • sand
      • dirt
    • ice_road


Not started yet.