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Public-images-osm logo.svg surface = cobblestone
Two faces of cobblestone.png
Generic value for cobblestone, used for both sett and true cobblestone Edit this description in the wiki page. Edit this description in the data item.
Group: properties
Used on these elements
may be used on nodesmay be used on waysmay be used on areas (and multipolygon relations)should not be used on relations (except multipolygon relations)
Useful combination
Status: de facto

Generic value for cobblestone in the colloquial sense. It's better to use a more precise value such as sett or unhewn_cobblestone

Main problem with surface=cobblestone is conflict between typical use of that term both for sett (stones cut/broken but not machined to be flat) and for true cobblestone. It is used for both.

Distinguishing sett and true cobblestone

Distinguishing this surfaces is useful, as sett is far more passably for bicycles, trollers, wheelchairs, old people etc etc. This distinction my be also useful for other purposes. This makes surface=cobblestone quite problematic.

See also

Key Value Comment Photo
surface sett Sett paving, formed from natural stones cut usually to a regular shape. Granite Setts.jpg
surface unhewn_cobblestone Raw cobblestone of natural, uncut, rounded stones. Unlike pebblestone firmly connected to the ground. Ancient road surface.jpg
surface paving_stones Paving stones have relatively smooth surface. The surface is paved with artificial blocks (block pavers, bricks) or natural stones (flagstones), with a flat top. The gaps between individual paving stones are very narrow, either because the stones have a perfectly regular shape (rectangular, or any surface-filling shape) or because they have been carefully selected, fitted and placed in order to form an even, closed surface. Surface paving stones.jpgDscf1620-800.jpg

Tag usage history

Note that surface=sett appeared late, when surface=cobblestone was already used over 100,000 times. See also automatically updated graph

As sett surface is often referred to as "cobblestone" these two distinct surfaces were mixed. Note that surface=cobblestone has been used since 2008 while surface=sett first appeared in 2013[1], which means that any sett surface mapped before 2013 was tagged in a way not allowing it to be distinguished from actual cobblestone, an issue that definitely also continued after 2013.

To resolve this problem in 2018 the surface=unhewn_cobblestone tag was created, which means surface=cobblestone can be treated as "either sett or proper cobblestone" and retagged to a more clear value during a survey.

surface=cobblestone decrease since that time is driven in large part by StreetComplete treating it as surface that needs resurvey (and asking user to specify it and giving surface=unhewn_cobblestone and surface=sett among options).