Proposal talk:Milestones

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This tag is important because many informations about road weather and disruptions are given referenced to a milestone or a pair of milestones, e.g. "traffic jam between pk 304-312". That would allow to applications the representation of traffic/weather conditions more precisely. Nosolomusic 13:56, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

I don't see how is milestone tag alone useful. I agree with Nosolomusic that it might be useful to know pk of the road, but I would rather make it a property which can be applied to any highway tag (for example motorway_junction). Also I'm not sure whether pk is a good name. I've never heard it before and also pointe-kilometric=20 mi is a bit strange. --Jttt 16:42, 30 May 2008 (UTC)

I see your point, but... Which name should be better than "pk" for the concept of the distance marked by the milestone? "pk" might not be the best, so somebody please suggest something else. Ivansanchez 00:51, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
"milestone_distance" ? MikeCollinson 16:20, 5 July 2008 (UTC)
In France the pk value represent the distance since the beginning of the road which has the name (old primary "Nationale" road were all starting in Paris with PK 0). If you don't like the pk=*, let us use ref=* to get the number (pk) which is on each milestone. --Marc 08:28, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
ref=* for the PK seems to be quite unspecific, and might be used for the numer of the milestone wich is not the PK. Why couldn't distance=* be used for the PK? -- Timo Müller 23:41, 17 April 2010 (UTC)
My preference is going to the tag pk=number of course. The ref=* can be used for the reference of the way (N 7). --Marc 09:56, 31 May 2010 (UTC)
Could someone please explain what PK means? Is it an abbreviation? I'd like to use this tag, these stones are essential information to have on a map. mok0 8:30 31 May 2010 (UTC) (Re-edit: PK means: "Pointe Kilometrique")
For the french milestones, the PK is just a number giving a position for some event (accident, object on the way, etc.) ; it is *not* a precise mesure of a distance from the previous town or whatever. That's why the distance=value is not available for that. --Marc 09:56, 31 May 2010 (UTC)
Even if it's not precise, I don't think that's an obstacle to using something simple like distance=* or milestone=* to record the distance. If you think about a very long highway (I-5 in California is about 800 miles long), the two sides of the road will not have the same distance because of curves. And often milestones are placed according to an old alignment of the road, and are not recalculated along the entire length. But, if we tag milestone=* exactly as the sign says, we can interpolate between signs to come up with a pretty good guess as to what a point along the way would be tagged with now. For locating drivers, say if they have an accident and are talking to emergency services, this is plenty useful. (It's much easier to say "I'm on I-5 North at milestone 734.29" than "I'm at GPS coordinates xxx.xxxxx by yyy.yyyyy", and is more useful to most humans.)
The only obstacle I see is that it's measured from some previous arbitrary point; California does this by measuring from the county line instead of the state line (and if the county line changes, the road isn't remeasured and relabeled). However, a simple way to indicate this is to tag milestone:ref=* with something appropriate (an exit number, a city name, a county name, whatever). This could be done with relations, too, but I would prefer that there also be a simple non-relation way to tag this. BigPeteB 18:17, 23 June 2010 (UTC)
Supporting my point further, these could all be represented by milestone=* without any confusion. You would know what it's a milestone for because it will be on a highway or railway or waterway.
Make similar things similar, and different things different. A milestone is a milestone. BigPeteB 18:19, 23 June 2010 (UTC)
  • FYI, in the UK road and waterway milestones are probably more historical than of current use (don't know about railways). They commonly record distance in both directions, e.g. "Leeds 7, Liverpool 192" so pk=7 would not work. Information can also be captured by using the general name=* and description=* tags. MikeCollinson 16:20, 5 July 2008 (UTC)

Note: On the USA/Canada border Vancouver / mainland. There are these metal markers, which has a number on it, but these are placed as a border marker, but can be confused as a distance marker. ... so the main point of this note is that if this is attached TO the road or separate FROM the road.--acrosscanadatrails 03:07, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

I also think this tag is important. I would only replace pk by milestone_distance (as Mike said) or, maybe, only distance to avoid idiomatic conflicts. I would also add a units tag to indicate if they are km or miles. Javiersanp 10:07, 30 March 2010 (UTC)

Argument in favor

In most US states and AFAICT throughout Canada on motorways, motorway_junction refs are intrinsically tied to the number on the mile or kilometer post respectively. I noticed on the UK NCN page that there are already unique identifiers for four different kinds of UK mileposts, but no North American varieties. Keeping the same theme, I suggest highway=yardstick for North American-style mileposts reading in American units (owing from the common slang for such a sign as the simplest ones greatly resemble a yardstick) and by extension highway=meterstick for the same thing reading in Metric (found in Canada, Mexico, all US territories that aren't states, and California). Paul Johnson 23:45, 17 February 2009 (UTC)

In France most informations broadcasted on radio reference the PK values (accident between pk 150 and 151). PK is also used in french because it means "Point Kilométrique". French milestones have on them : the road ref (very usefull to know on which road you actualy drive), an integer value (PK) and sometimes somes distances to the nexts towns, but this is no more used on recent milestones. Marcussacapuces91 20:35, 11 May 2009 (UTC)

In the US state of Hawaii, mile markers are often among the best landmarks for giving directions, especially to non-locals. Travel guides often give directions to destinations using mile markers are reference landmarks. Maps printed in tourist guidebooks and distributed to tourists on the islands often render the location of mile markers, even at scales as coarse as the equivalent of OSM zoom level 13. The Big Island Bike Guide is an example of real world use of mile markers in the Hawaiian context. Icycle 19:49, 4 December 2009 (UTC)

Syntax extension

For some object defines as a node (could also be an local area like a house), I use a milestone tag as milestone=120.5 km on another element like a highway=speed_camera which help to localise it. Comments are welcome. --Marcussacapuces91 04:55, 21 May 2009 (UTC)

Some ideas

Some days ago before I found this page, I thought about how to tag mileposts and similar things on User:Timo Müller. I thought about using highway=milepost, because most "milestones" aren't made of stone anymore today, but if highway=milestone is already used for this purpose, this is ok, too. I think distance=* should be used instead of pk=*, like Javiersanp suggested, as "pk" is somehow strange and hard to remember. But beside distance=* and ref=* (for the number of the milestone, which is nither the distance nor the number of the road), there are some additional tags which are (or at least might be) useful.

Modern German mileposts (or better "kilometer posts") called "Stationszeichen" show the distance from the last intersection in km. At the next intersection the distance starts again at 0.00 km. Every section of the road between two intersections has a numer, and so every point on a road is defined by two numers: The section number (called "Abschnitt") and the distance (sometimes called "Station"). I think there should be a tag for this section numer, like section=*. I have two examples to show how this would be used: This "Stationszeichen" would get the tags highway=milestone, distance=0.500 km and section=280, while this one would get the tags highway=milestone, distance=2.600 km, section=282 and ref=5049. I don't know if this system is used in other countries or only in Germany. (The "St 2274" in the first example is the numer of the road, but I don't think the milestones would need a tag for this, as they are part of the road, so it's obvious to wich road they belong to.)

Another thing (probably only used in Germany) are "OD stones", yello or white stones or signs with the letters "OD" (like in this exemple), which mark the part of a road that is inside of a town or city. (Don't confuse this with the big yellow "city limits" signs.) These could be taged with highway=milestone, OD=yes.

"Don't confuse this with the big yellow "city limits" signs." <---- Why not? That's exactly what it sounds like. BigPeteB 17:49, 23 June 2010 (UTC)

It also might be interesting to tag which type of marker is used by using the marker=* tag, for example marker=stone for real milestones made of stone or concrete, marker=sign for little signs made of plastic metal and so on.

marker=paint sometime there is only a mark painted on the ground in France. --Marc 08:22, 13 April 2010 (UTC)
Or on walls, rocks etc.; yes, I think this is useful. -- Timo Müller 23:45, 17 April 2010 (UTC)

I also had the idea to use direction=* to show the direction of the mileage (or "kilometrage") of a road (sometimes marked with a little black arrow on the signs, like [1] or [2]): direction=+1 if it has the same direction as the way, and direction=-1 if it has the opposite direction. But I don't know if this is useful because if you have the distance of two milestones of a road, you can always see in wich direction the distance increases. -- Timo Müller 00:58, 11 April 2010 (UTC)

Use something other than highway=milestone

The problem with using highway=milestone is that you can't set something else, like highway=motorway_junction. In the U.S., at least, it is easy to find government publications that list the surveyed distances at each motorway exit, but we can't use these on the exit if the exit's node is already marked as highway=motorway_junction.

I think, then, that something else should be used to indicate a milestone. (For that matter, why can't tagging it as pk=10.0 km or milestone=10.0 km be sufficient? Why does it need an additional tag to tell you it's a milestone?) BigPeteB 19:46, 19 June 2010 (UTC)

Milestone is a traffic sign. So it may be tagged like a city limit sign: traffic_sign=milestone. Then, we need some extra data: the point where sign's pole is installed; the point at the highway designated with the sign; the number designated on the sign. So we need a relation with two points and two numbers: for forward direction and for opposite direction. Surly 09:43, 21 June 2010 (UTC)
Aside from being kind of complicated for just a simple distance marker, doesn't that violate the idea that anything associated with a road goes on the road? We don't tag stop signs in their actual location and then use relations to tie them to the road; we just put the stop sign on the road. Similarly, a mile marker sign is associated with a road and ought to be tagged on the road. BigPeteB 04:57, 22 June 2010 (UTC)
Milestone sign is often a good reference point. It can be convinient to know, is the sign installed on the left or right side of the road. Or if it is situated near path to the forest, or near small memorial. So the map can explain thigns like that: "when you see the sign '45 km' at the left side of the road, go ahead 150 m and then turn right to the narrow road".
Next argument. Here (in Russia) we have many sings on the only one side of a road. Physically it is one sign. It has one number at its one side, and another number on the other side. How can we designate two numbers for one object without relation? Surly 07:04, 22 June 2010 (UTC)
You mean like a single milestone that lists two different distances, depending on which way you're travelling, for a two-way road? Hmm. I would suggest mapping this as milestone=13.2 km (or possibly milestone:forward=*) and milestone:backward=7.8 km, depending on which direction the way points.
Probably, yes. I mean a single two-sided road sign. Suppose, there are cities A and B, the length of the road "A--B" is 100 km. You are near the road sign at 20 km from A. So, when you go from A to B, you see the number "20" on the sign. And when you go from B to A, you see the number "80" on the other surface of the sigh's plate. "milestone:forward" and "milestone:backward" is good solution. But I would like to see on which side of the road is the pole placed.
The advantage is that this makes it really easy for people to tag. Eventually, when the main map is complete and everyone moves on to micro-detail tagging, we could tag the exact location of the milestone signs, but for now, I don't even know where they are (it's impossible to see on satellite images). This can co-exist with micro-tagging, but I think it will be a lot easier for users to understand and use. BigPeteB 17:40, 23 June 2010 (UTC)

Some more ideas how to tag milestones in Germany (and other countries?)

I would still prefer distance=*, but as pk=* is allready used worldwide, I decided to use it, too. ref=* is also used to give the route number, which now seems usefull to me as it's often written on the milestones, and It's not always clear to which route a milestone belongs, for example if there are two routes sharing the same road but having different milestones (I don't know if that happens). If the milestone itself has a numer other then the PK (I don't know if this happens), one might use ref_milestone=* or something like that.

Theres another thing I found out about during the last few days: In Germany every bigger intersection of two highways has a number, called Netzknoten ("network node"). (These nodes could be tagged with network_node_ref=*.) In some areas the milestone?s (Stationszeichen) give the number of the prevoius and the next Netzknoten. These could be tagged (at the milestone) with prev_network_node=* and next_network_node=*.

I made a table of the tags I would use for the German Stationszeichen (with descriptions in English and German).

tag description (English) description (German) example(s)
marker=* Type of marker Art des Kilometersteins/-schildes/Stationszeichens marker=stone for real milestones made of stone or concrete, marker=sign for little signs made of plastic metal, marker=paint if the PK is only painted on the ground, a wall, etc.
pk=* Distance (from the beginnig of the route, the last intersection etc.) given on the milestone, with units km or mi. Kilometerangabe/Station (Dezimaltrennung durch Punkt, mit Angabe der Einheit)
Bei Fehlkilometertafeln mit zwei Werten: Trennung durch Semikolon
pk=24.5 km [3], pk=0.500 km [4] pk=2.0 km [5]
section=* section, if the road has Stationszeichen with section number Abschnittsnummer (bei Stationszeichen) section=280 [6]
OD=* For German OD stones Für OD-Steine (bzw. Stationszeichen mit OD-Markierung)
gibt Anfang und Ende einer Ortsdurchfahrt an
OD=yes [7]
ref=* number of the route Straßennummer ref=L 262 [8], ref=St 2274 [9]
ref_milestone=* Number of the milestone (not PK) Bezeichnung/Nr. des Stationszeichens (falls vorhanden)
prev_network_node=* previous Netzknoten Vorheriger Netzknoten (wenn angegeben) prev_network_node=6608039 [10]
next_network_node=* next Netzknoten Nächster Netzknoten (wenn angegeben) next_network_node=6608023 [11]

(I know it's a bit complicated, but it wasn't my idea to use different systems even in the same country.)

I don't know if this tags are usefull, but mybe I will try it by mapping and tagging some milestones in this area.

If someone has comments, improvements or better ideas, please comment. -- Timo Müller 15:37, 7 May 2010 (UTC)

Spaces are useless

Do not use a space character between value and unit. It only blows up the database. If you want to read a space in your routing application, add it there. --Lulu-Ann 12:59, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

kp=* vs pk=* vs milestone=* vs distance=*

What is the meaning of pk=*, as far as I can read out of the proposal it is what in Pipelay, Cablelay, and offshore servey is called KP (for kilometer-point). Is PK the same term used in road-construction? If I where unfamiliar with these terms, than I would rather have used milestone=* or distance=* --Skippern 13:17, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

It's short for "Pointe Kilometrique", commonly used term. It is the same as in road construction, yes. --Zverik 11:26, 30 May 2011 (BST)

Kilometers as default

Since we have, for example, kph as default units for maxspeed=* and meters for width=*, wouldn't it be logical to make km default units for pk=*? --Zverik 11:24, 30 May 2011 (BST)

Invalid namespaces

Namespaces used are invalid. milestones are not highways, railways and waterways. Instead, this should be milestone=highway, milestone=railway, milestone=waterway --AMDmi3 (talk) 19:06, 31 May 2013 (UTC)

Miles? Stones? Time for aliasing a new name

See also Talk:Tag:highway=milestone#Miles? Stones? Time for aliasing a new name Jidanni (talk) 06:26, 2 October 2019 (UTC)