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Available languages — Tag:highway=via_ferrata
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Public-images-osm logo.svg highway = via_ferrata
Hermann von Barth Weg MQ.jpg
A mountain route equipped with fixed cables, stemples, ladders, and bridges. Edit or translate this description.
Group: Highways
Used on these elements
may be used on nodesmay be used on waysshould not be used on areasshould not be used on relations
Useful combination
Status: in use

Use highway=via_ferrata to represent a via ferrata ('steel path'; in German speaking countries: Klettersteig) for traversing a mountainside. Usually very exposed and gear required.

See Proposed features/via ferrata for details of mapping.

Although the proposal was heavily disputed, this tag and the related via_ferrata_scale=* is already in use for some years and several renderers such as OpenAndroMaps and OsmAnd support it.

Relations of type route=via_ferrata have been proposed for more complex situations.

There is some overlap between ferratas and highway=path with Safety measures on hiking trails and some elements from both proposals can be mixed.

How to map

Draw a way and tag it with highway=via_ferrata.

Add via_ferrata_scale=* and details along the way such as

highway=via_ferrata implies wheelchair=no and unsuitability for bicycles, horses and vehicles. If the via ferrata is walkable without special equipment by experienced hikers add a corresponding difficulty level as sac_scale=*.

In rare cases when the ferrata is extremely steep it can be drawn as a single node.

Alternatives and history

For walkable (without a ferrata set) paths with an additional security rope or other security elements see the approved proposal Safety measures on hiking trails. The distinction is largely by designation, difficulty and actual usage - do people use ferrata gear there? Paths by default do not imply anything about usability and access for horses, bicycles etc which should be tagged additionally.

Before highway=via_ferrata was proposed various methods were in use some of which remain in widespread use until now. sport=via_ferrata was the earliest known proposal - Proposed features/via ferrata version 1. While sport=via_ferrata is rarely used today it might have some utility if it would be defined to have a meaning like other contemporary sport tags.

After the sport=ferrata proposal was inactive highway=path in combination with various tags that would declare the path to be a ferrata became the method of choice and as of May 2019 almost half ferratas are still mapped as highway=path+via_ferrata_scale=* (although the numbers should be used with caution as a significant share of objects mapped with either method may be actually hiking paths with additional security features). Historically there were tags such as ferrata=yes which would make a path into a ferrata. In March 2019 a proposal for this method was launched (Via Ferrata Simplified) which was abandoned after not receiving support during the RFC.

Proposed features/via ferrata introduced highway=via_ferrata and the issue of using highway=path vs highway=via_ferrata was heavily disputed.

Currently, mapping of ways which can be used as either hiking path or a ferrata with highway=path + via_ferrata_scale=* + sac_scale=* seems acceptable (as long as the hiking difficulty fits into the range covered by sac_scale). The combination of highway=via_ferrata + via_ferrata_scale=* + sac_scale=* would be also acceptable for this purpose. On the other hand mapping of ferratas as highway=path merely for the purpose of having them rendered in some of the few renderers not supporting highway=via_ferrata would be considered troll tag and mapping for the renderer.

Renderer support

Offline maps

Online maps

See also