Proposal talk:Highway=scramble

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subset of what can be mapped as a path

Resolved: Thank you. I did update the sentence accordingly. --Hungerburg (talk) 09:49, 14 September 2022 (UTC)

This seems to imply that it will be ok to tag scrambles as highway=path in the future. (And there would be a category path (that includes scramble) at the same tagging level as scramble. I don't think that's intended. Maybe "subset of what is currently mapped as highway=path"? --Lkw (talk) 04:26, 14 September 2022 (UTC)

Certainly, a number of mappers will insist on using hw=path for scrambles. The proposal cannot and shall not deprecate that. The paragraph the sentence is in mostly intends to state a limit, on what can be mapped hw=scramble. (Just in case it gets too popular.) --Hungerburg (talk) 09:49, 14 September 2022 (UTC)

use the tag template to create a link to the site instead of just plain text

Resolved: User System-users-3.svg501ghost (on osm, edits, contrib, heatmap, chngset com.) was so nice to link those attributes and taginfo, where no article exists.

in stead of sac_scale=* in plain text, it usefull to use sac_scale=* this allow people to click and read info about this tag without the need to copy/paste/search for it list of tags : sac_scale=*, trail_visibility=*, assisted_trail=*, trail_blazed=*, scramble=grade*, climbing:grade:uiaa=*, climbing:grade:yds=* Marc marc (talk) 13:05, 14 September 2022 (UTC)

clarify need for verifiability

Resolved: A one sentence paragraph now is dedicated to this. --Hungerburg (talk) 19:08, 26 September 2022 (UTC)

Please clarify in the proposal that the scramble must be clearly visible on the ground, i.e. it must be obvious that this route is meant to be used to get from A to B. If, for example, you find yourself with terrain where you can either scramble here or ten metres on or somewhere in between, then that would just be a "recommendation" that has no verifiable manifestation on the ground, and has no place in OSM.

Such a requirement would affect any path in the data where trail_visibility is not equal excellent. I added an extra paragraph, it might not meet your definition. I do not see much sense in a deletion orgy, the trails will reappear sooner or later. Maybe that answers the question on verifiability? I consider concise tagging a more sustainable approach, one that increases value of the data. --Hungerburg (talk) 09:21, 15 September 2022 (UTC)
@Woodpeck: I added language concerning verifiability "Mappers are reminded to only map scrambles where on location signs of actual use by humans other than the mapper can be observed." Will that meet your comment? The proposal now is narrower than path in one more respect. --Hungerburg (talk) 20:36, 23 September 2022 (UTC)

ultra restrictive

Resolved: @Marc marc: "nix gsogt is gnuag globt / Rien dit sufissant d'éloge" Changed "hiking" to "pedestrian" --Hungerburg (talk) 20:46, 23 September 2022 (UTC)

On the Tagging Mailing List, it was mentioned, the proposal "being ultra restrictive as it would only apply to hiking trails". Would "It is proposed to create the tag highway=scramble as a base tag for pedestrian pathways …" remedy that? I myself cannot imagine scrambles in other domains as hiking, but others may. Will that open the doors to mapping paths under construction as scrambles? --Hungerburg (talk) 21:00, 16 September 2022 (UTC)

leading to unintuitive tagging

Resolved: The Rationale is not negotiable. There has been plenty of support to make this a new highway class citizen of openstreetmap and not yet another offer in vain to finally get consumers to read the fine-print. --Hungerburg (talk) 20:49, 23 September 2022 (UTC)

Current definition is "tag for hiking paths, where use of hands is required, be that for keeping balance or be it for pulling up" and "A scramble starts where walking ends" and "A scramble ends where climbing starts". That is 1) too restrictive to really achive the rationale and 2) causing some IMHO very weird/contra-intuitive tagging. Some examples below, feel freee to extend.

  • @1: Imagine a hiking route leads along a track with smoothness=very_horrible so requires pedestrians must use hands. For example, I stood on a track that was cut by a wide and roughly 0.75m deep ditch created by heavy rain some time ago, or another time, a rockfall blocked a track and I needed to scramble onto & across it. By current definition, a track cannot become highway=scramble despite scrambling is required → The restrictive definition blocks reaching the rationale of the proposal (data consumers should be able to actively select for scrambles).
  • @1+@2: Imagine a hiking path with a perfectly horizontal passage being so narrow you cannot walk upright. For example, I experienced that in a tunnel, due to log (fallen tree), on a trail leading through a narrow C-shaped carve-out in a rock face. One must crawl, so one needs to use hands. Despite that, you must not tag it highway=scramble as you may expect, because the hands are neither needed for balance nor pulling up, but pushing up (remember there is no ascent/descent involved). → The restrictive definition blocks reaching the rationale of the proposal, and probably quite a share of users will find that tagging contradicting their expectation.--Schoschi (talk) 02:21, 17 September 2022 (UTC)
  • @0 - smoothness has nothing to do with pedestrian use, it is only defined for wheeled vehicles, any inferences will always stay arbitrary.
  • @1 - I do not see much of a problem: a destroyed track certainly does not automatically become a scrambling path.
  • @2 - Last weekend I hiked a path that gets overgrown by mountain pine. The chamois clearly need less airspace than a human. I see this just the same, a crawl is not a scramble.--Hungerburg (talk) 12:56, 17 September 2022 (UTC)
If a native speaker could name a term for "path that you cannot walk on", it should be considered. Meanwhile, I happen to like scramble. --Hungerburg (talk) 12:56, 17 September 2022 (UTC)
A track is not destroyed by some deep holes or ditches because offroad vehicles like tanks, tractors etc can still use it. Still, you're correct, such a track does not become a scrambling path – and exactly that's my point: With current proposal, we can't express such and other combinations where pedestrians need to scramble, thus, proposal shall be changed to better serve the rationale, maybe scramble=yes which can be added to any highway type. --Schoschi (talk) 22:01, 18 September 2022 (UTC)

I don't like the "notable POI or branch-off point" part

Resolved: @Pelderson, Lkw, and Schoschi: The proposal section tagging got updated to follow advise below. --Hungerburg (talk) 10:06, 25 September 2022 (UTC)

Do you mean, if a path runs a mile through a forest and gradually turns into a 300m scramble, then becomes a stick-walkable downhill path, all without branches, you want to tag the entire path with highway=scramble? I would very much prefer that only the scramble part or parts are tagged as scramble(s). This requires splitting the way, much like steps or bridges require splitting the way. --Pelderson 01:02, 17 September 2022 (UTC)

I agree. I think that "notable POI or branch-off point" is too restrictive. Using highway=scramble for the parts that require scrambling is more "on-the-ground". But splitting should not be overdone. Splitting because there are 10 m of easy path between rocks is not so useful. Lkw (talk) 06:42, 17 September 2022 (UTC)
My mental model explained and how this maps to the ground: When hiking, I mostly orient myself on guideposts. They provide the names of the POIs mentioned in the "tagging" section. Usage of "highway=scramble" is modeled after grades, that are also specified on the guideposts. We here have red ways, black ways (marked by a dot) and ultra-black ways (marked by a symbol). Even when the way to A is advertised a black way, it remains a red way, until where it branches off way to B, which is a red way all along. I consider this quite consistend whith how "highway=*" tagging is done in openstreetmap.
On the other hand, I see people modeling "scramble" similar to "steps". Around here, steps are rarely (micro) mapped in hiking paths. They are of too little interest. So they never came to my mind when writing up the subject. This is indeed a quite inconvenient misunderstanding.--Hungerburg (talk) 12:39, 17 September 2022 (UTC)
PS: The description as given leaves a loophole for paths, where only part is a scramble, e.g. the last hundred or so meters up a summit. --Hungerburg (talk) 12:42, 17 September 2022 (UTC)
I agree to Pelderson & Lkw that all 3 possibilities shall be explicitly allowed, i.e. highway=scrambling starts/ends at either
  1. a POI like a guidepost, sign, etc. as Hungerburg mentioned. Because I can't recall any sign telling a way is "scramble" or even "scramble grade XYZ", I consider this rare relative to global scale of all hiking paths, but where such signs exist, this option makes of course perfectly sense.
  2. where it branches off from another way
  3. at the actual start/end of a scrambling section within a longer way (e.g. highway=path), but the other way around is discouraged, so to cut a long highway=scrambling into pieces just to map a short non-scrambling section.
To explicitly mention and thus encourage the 3rd is IMHO quite important because it is the most informative and thus preferable over option 2: Option 3 tells whether a 5km way is nearly all 5km scrambling or just contains a short 20m scrambling section which makes the way acceptable even for many people not liking to scramble. So the same as for a highway=path which is SAC T2 except few metres T3. --Schoschi (talk) 23:00, 18 September 2022 (UTC)


Resolved: The Rationale is not negotiable. There has been plenty of support to make this a new highway class citizen of openstreetmap and not yet another offer in vain to finally get consumers to read the fine-print. We could also tag hiqhway=path; steps=yes; We don't. --Hungerburg (talk) 19:10, 26 September 2022 (UTC)

Since it is still a path, tagging it as:

  • highway=path
  • scramble=yes (or scramble=grade*)

should be enough to indicate it is a scramble.

Moreover, it will not require an update of all the renderers and routers. --Jcr83 (talk) 07:40, 26 September 2022 (UTC)


Resolved: The misleading mention of scramble=* got moved to its own section. --Hungerburg (talk) 18:43, 29 September 2022 (UTC)

[...] I've just read about scramble=grade*, does it actually exist somewhere?

Usually scrambling paths fall under some low UIIA scale grade, wouldn't be enough use them?

--Ale Zena IT (talk) 07:32, 27 September 2022 (UTC)

The wiki knows nothing about it and taginfo says there are 18 objects with the tag, all of them in UK, with values "true", "yes", "grade_1" and "Grade_1". So there is no real grading for scramble=* tag.
Also, near Swansea there are ways tagged only with scramble=Grade_1 Rmikke (talk) 08:24, 27 September 2022 (UTC)

The current proposal mentions scramble key as useful to combine with highway=scramble. I suggest to remove that; motivation: The scramble grades definition by posted by Hungerburg in the tagging mailing list tells "We would recommend learning to climb to at least V Diff level [author's note: this equals UIAA grade IV-] or taking a scrambling course before attempting serious scrambling of Grade 2 or above." and further writes "On grade 2 and 3 scrambles it’s worthwhile taking a rope at least 30m long, some eight-foot slings, HMS karabiners and maybe a very small rack, half a dozen large nuts and hexes at most." The current proposal text by Hungerburg excludes any scrambles using equipment and any scrambles above UIAA II from being tagged as highway=scramble. So by above definitions, scrambles of grades 2+3 shall not be tagged as highway=scramble but only scrambles of grade 1 – thus, adding a scramble grade does not add any information but is redundand. Moreover, the key scrambling is not documented and neither officially approved nor "voted for by feet", so not in considerable use (only 18 times despite all 20.085 SAC T4, T5 and T6 paths are scrambles by definition and other ways as well). Because of all three, I suggest that key scrambling shall not any more be recommended in the highway=scramble proposal text but removed. If someone sees added value in the key, feel free to do a proposal :-)    --Schoschi (talk) 10:51, 29 September 2022 (UTC)
The "scramble=*" found its way in, because one of the first things I did, was to look in openstreetmap data, if the concept is already known to mappers, and what they used it for. I'd say, those few mappings were created by between four to six different people. A broad base. I see this on par with reading a dictionary or wikipedia articles. I will move it to a new "Prior Art" section. The upper grades on thembc site are indeed not applicable to this proposals content. Thank you for noticing and pointing out. --Hungerburg (talk) 18:36, 29 September 2022 (UTC)


Resolved: The proposal got amended to state, on what level of experience and outfit the distinction is to be based on. Additional pictures have been added to exemplify, what use of hands is about. --Hungerburg (talk) 08:46, 29 September 2022 (UTC)

I went hiking for years, in the same path someone walk, others need to use hands. this could be due toː personal balance, vertigo or just afraid, type of shoes used, etc.. I usually walk till 2° UIIA grade, while I know expert people walking on 3° UIIA grade paths. In my opinion is a very subjective tag. I've just read about scramble=grade*, does it actually exist somewhere?

Usually scrambling paths fall under some low UIIA scale grade, wouldn't be enough use them?

--Ale Zena IT (talk) 07:32, 27 September 2022 (UTC)

The wiki knows nothing about it and taginfo says there are 18 objects with the tag, all of them in UK, with values "true", "yes", "grade_1" and "Grade_1". So there is no real grading for scramble=* tag.
Also, near Swansea there are ways tagged only with scramble=Grade_1 Rmikke (talk) 08:24, 27 September 2022 (UTC)
@Ale Zena IT: Interesting, can you link a video of somebody walking UIAA III terrain? Ordinary people will call this a wall. --Hungerburg (talk) 08:47, 27 September 2022 (UTC)
You're welcome :) Rmikke (talk) 10:30, 27 September 2022 (UTC)
I am a bit underwhelmed. I did ask for a video, showing somebody walking UIAA III terrain. Good grip rock, 35° at most, perhaps slippery when wet. In the Youtube suggestions some quite impressive scrambling came up - --Hungerburg (talk) 19:04, 27 September 2022 (UTC)
The animal scrambling (they cant do different by nature :) ) did remind me though on something, where humans can put the ibex to shame, people, that make this look a scramble --Hungerburg (talk) 20:01, 27 September 2022 (UTC)
What the monk walks looks like what is commonly considered as UIAA III terrain; Ponte Brolla (CH) has routes that are only slightly steeper and graded up to IV. The video perfectly shows what is discussed in this topic and criticized about current proposal text, i.e. how heavily subjective the current definition is: One person (monk) simply walks upright so hands are obviously not required (so it's a highway=path), another person (tourist) obvisouly requires hands (so it's a highway=scramble), oh, but the tourist uses a rope which is technical aid/equipment and thus beyond upper limit of current scramble definition (so it's highway=mountaineering or climbing). Also your personal reaction shows that: You tell you're not at all impressed by the monk walking upright that wall of rock bearing nearly no structures/steps for the feet, but at the same time you insist hands are clearly required for Snowdon that offers myriads of steps and looks nearly like a staircase – I'm pretty sure the monk would do Snowdon without hands, making it highway=path. A much more non-subjective definition of the distinction between walking and scrambling terrain, so where to draw the line between the two, would help.
One way would be to focus the de-facto hand usage rather than a strictly mandatory requirement, and to explicitly use a term like "vast majority" so it is not any more open whether hand usage by everybody or somebody is the relevant criterion but instead extremely highly & poorly able individuals become irrelevant for the distinction betwen path+scramble while making the mapping useful for most data consumers, and to explicitly refer to adults so steps of limited heigth like 25cm requiring small kids to scramble are clearly no argument for scramble, and to refer to all humans globally so we level regional differences (urban lifestyle in a flat land versus traditional rural lifestyle in alpine regions). This would result in a definition like "paths with sections where the vast majority of all adult humans will use their hands, be that out of requirement or comfort, for keeping balance or in order to advance", so every mapper can reflect whether he/she has unusual strong/weak balance, vertico, leg lifting capabilities, surefootedness,... and thus needs to shift the personal feeling a little to judge path vs scramble. --Schoschi (talk) 10:30, 28 September 2022 (UTC)
This section is a mixture of unsubstantiated claims and helpful advise: The proposal has been changed to say, "the distinction between walking and scrambling is to be based on where an active, able-bodied person, with head for heights, suitable shoes and dress is very likely to use hands for both comfort or propulsion." Does this answer your comments? --Hungerburg (talk) 20:46, 28 September 2022 (UTC)
That distinction between walk & scramble is OK for me. The grading topic is still open. --Schoschi (talk) 21:53, 28 September 2022 (UTC)
Please start a new section regarding "grading". Are you talking about attributes? --Hungerburg (talk) 08:46, 29 September 2022 (UTC)

Difference between scrambling and climbing

Resolved: This section overlaps with others, where a solution was accepted. As for the difference in the title, I hope, that resorting to values in the UIAA scale, as has been in the text from the beginning, will do. --Hungerburg (talk) 18:48, 29 September 2022 (UTC)

The proposal isn't clear about the difference between scrambling and climbing: “A scramble ends where climbing starts.”, I'm from Germany, and both "scrambling" and "climbing" in Google translate result in the same word "klettern" (excluding translations going in the scrambled eggs or toddler direction). The example picture looks like climbing to me. Can you define the difference, like scrambling is always without rope/tools? Also what needs hands is highly subjective and might depend on your shoes, your fitness level, the length of your legs, and if you're going uphill or downhill. (Downhill tends to use the hands more often in my experience) -- Jonathan Haas (talk) 09:56, 27 September 2022 (UTC)

During research for this proposal, I asked native English speakers, because I'd consider that quite helpful, if the term that I want to introduce to Openstreetmap is readily comprehensible, close to the colloquial understanding, and as a consequence readily translatable. My dictionary offers "Kraxeln". This rings to me just like what "Scramble" rings in native speakers ears, from the verbal description of theirs, that I received so far. To me, this seems the canonical translation.
One of the main motivations to propose this tag is, to give users a chance to learn from the openstreetmap data itself, that shoes, fitness, going uphill or downhill, and other such "subjective" things matter. The wording "Using hands for balance/propulsion" is literally taken from the most popular hiking and climbing grading systems. The meaning of scramble is just taken for granted, c.f. - No technical gear, is already in the text.
You are not alone, in considering UIAA II as climbing. As written in the proposal text, this is currently the maximum that a highway=path can have, and I see no reason to change this.
Does this answer your comment?--Hungerburg (talk) 19:36, 27 September 2022 (UTC)
"Kraxeln" in my experience (and supported by Wiktionary) is just a colloquial word for going up mountains intensely. But that doesn't necessarily mean that it involves hands, it could just mean that it's a long or difficult route compared to the abilities of the people participating. You could go Kraxeln with small children on what would a very simple, short mountain route for an experienced wanderer. I feel like it could be made clearer what a "scramble" involves. Is a single step of a half meter already a scramble because my grandmother of 70 years or my daughter of 6 couldn't go up without using their hands as support? Probably not. Is a staircase with a rail a scramble, because my grandmother needs the rail as support? Also probably not. I hope you get what I mean. I made some extreme examples, but there are probably less extreme ones where the definitions would still be unclear. Is the definition of a scramble a route where everyone clearly would need to use their hands as support or for balance, while not requiring special gear? If yes, that could maybe be worded like that. Some more example pictures probably would also help to show what is and what is not a scramble. -- Jonathan Haas (talk) 05:34, 28 September 2022 (UTC)

To add to that, the photos of "Scramble up Y Gribin Ridge and Y Lliwedd" linked on the front side doesn't look like you necessarily would need to use your hands to go up there. It certainly seems helpful, but I imagine if you're fit and have good balance, it's probably not strictly required to use the hands there. At least that's what I'm judging from the photos, I wasn't there. Jonathan Haas (talk) 10:40, 28 September 2022 (UTC)

The proposal has been changed to say, "the distinction between walking and scrambling is to be based on where an active, able-bodied person, with head for heights, suitable shoes and dress is very likely to use hands for both comfort or propulsion." The woman in the picture from Wales in my eyes meets that description. Just like the people in the Totengraben gallery do. Does this answer your comments? --Hungerburg (talk) 20:46, 28 September 2022 (UTC)
Yes, it's much clearer now. -- Jonathan Haas (talk) 10:32, 29 September 2022 (UTC)

Confusing terminology to the lay person

Resolved: British English is the lingua franca in openstreetmap. The new Prior Art section is assumed one more testament, that the term is not as much confusing. The prior application is quite concise. The term features prominent in US literature too. --Hungerburg (talk) 18:57, 29 September 2022 (UTC)

As a native (American) English speaker, I had not heard the term "scramble" used for this meaning, although I now understand it after having read through the proposal and comments. For purposes of the lay person, the word "climbable" seems better even if it conflicts with mountaineering / UIAA terminology.

Also, is there something insufficient about the steepness of a grade to identify "scramble" paths? For instance, incline=50% which would denote a slope that is practically impossible to walk up, necessitating scrambling?--JOlshefsky (talk) 13:13, 28 September 2022 (UTC)

I also learned of this term only recently. Being myself from Austria, we even have a matching term, Kraxeln, though Germans seem to have a different take on it. I don't think there is an exact measure like incline available: Have you ever tried to measure the width of a hiking path? It depends a lot on the location. At around 60° the physical length of the pathway will become double the length of its projected pathway, giving an incline of 175%. This is not far from where most people will start calling the terrain "a wall"; standing upright, one can touch the ground without bending over. Given enough handholds and footholds, this can still be regarded as scrambling. 50% is nowhere a steep slope, less than 30 degrees, which is commonly regarded as the angle, at which people prefer to go in serpentines, rather than straight up. The term itself features prominently in the Yosemite Decimal System, native speakers from the UK have affirmed that this is in colloquial use. Besides the US grading scheme YDS it's also used by UIAA and the SAC. Therefore creating a new term for openstreetmap use, for something that is already in wide use seems to me not warranted. I enjoy learning new terms, do you? --Hungerburg (talk) 21:24, 28 September 2022 (UTC)
"Scramble" is comprehensible enough. Similar to coasteering. Kovposch (talk) 08:54, 30 September 2022 (UTC)

Use climbing=* instead of highway

Resolved: The reference to the OSM Wiki climbing article has been removed. It was only misleading. The uiaa key found in the wild matches the subject matter this is about much better. Speaking as someone, who never did more than French 5 top-rope, so not a climber neither, but having lots of acquaintances among climbers. --Hungerburg (talk) 16:34, 1 October 2022 (UTC)
I concur with in using climbing=*. climbing:grade:*=* is to be used in highway=scramble. Perhaps climbing:quality=* and climbing:rock=* are applicable. So I find the use of climbing=* seamless, as a non-climber. --- Kovposch (talk) 08:57, 30 September 2022 (UTC)

Thank you for the pointer, there is indeed something wrong with climbing:grade:*. I will update the proposal, so it will be clear, that only uiaa grades I-II are applicable, respectively yds classes 1-3. Mind you, that many of the routes that contain scrambles are true connections in human traffic networks, e.g. to reach alpine huts. They are in no way comparable to climbing routes. On top of this, proposing something, that can be combined with highway=path goes against the stated rationale. --Hungerburg (talk) 19:47, 30 September 2022 (UTC)

highway key is for classification

Resolved: The proposal text puts now even more emphasis on the similarity with highway=steps and the trouble, that currently only ambiguous tagging can be used to map scrambles. --Hungerburg (talk) 19:14, 1 November 2022 (UTC)

Dedicated hiking paths which need hands should be highway=footway since they are designed for people walking. Existing tags like sac_scale=demanding_mountain_hiking can be used to indicate where paths require more skill and mobility to traverse. highway=* should be reserved for the classification of the way and how easily accessible it is to other tags. --Aharvey (talk) 01:28, 5 October 2022 (UTC)

To extend this, needing hands is the exact definition I use to apply sac_scale=demanding_mountain_hiking, therefore according to this proposal it would ask to simply re-tag all sac_scale=demanding_mountain_hiking as highway=scramble. If that's the case, then what's the advantage what value does this change offer? --Aharvey (talk) 01:34, 5 October 2022 (UTC)

Indeed, this also never occurred to me, because here, the "footway" subset of what can be mapped as "path" never collides with the "scramble" subset. Footway is commonly only found on built features maintained by the municipality, mostly paved, at least compacted, quite road like. If the highway key in other locations instead is used to map intangible properties like dedication/designation and conflicts with mapping physical properties, the proposed tag certainly will require mappers some deliberation, on what is more of bearing. How do you map stairs? --Hungerburg (talk) 21:24, 5 October 2022 (UTC)

A post to the community forum and the responses it received - - indicate, that mappers are quite conscious in their deliberations. I guess, I am not the only one, that considers scrambles on a path worth mapping, even more than stairs are. The advantage over attributes is, consumers cannot play ignorant. Moreover, as the decision is close to binary, mappers do not need to become proficient like a hiking guide in values of a multi-faceted niche key, many might not even have heard of. In the proposal text I did not mention demanding_mountain_hiking, as T3 routes most often do not contain any scrambling at all. Only the *alpine_hiking routes come with the promise. --Hungerburg (talk) 19:28, 6 October 2022 (UTC)

@Aharvey: Hello Andrew, are your concerns addressed?

Any measures to avoid breaking hiking maps?

My main fear against this proposal is that it will break all hiking routers and maps for probably a quite some time (if not for ever, depending if the feature get tagged often or only seldom). Ideally the hiking routers and maps should first be updated to support this feature before the feature start being tagged, but this won't happen. Do you plan any measures to try to reduce this risk? Did you try to contact the operators of at least some of the hiking maps (the ones that take sac_scale into consideration) to explicitly invite them to give their opinion about this proposal? --JIDB (talk) 19:06, 11 October 2022 (UTC)

We, the mappers, drive openstreetmap. I am fairly certain, that most consumers of our data will rightfully say: We join the party, as soon as there is enough energy there. No need to get that in writing. So recently I used the tag a few times. Feels good so far and brought up new ideas. I did not contact the developer of the app I use as a map when out, I did contact fellow mappers though, that map in the hiking domain in my local area.
Update: Responses are in, local mappers here (mountainous region) are looking forward to using this in their mapping work. --Hungerburg (talk) 18:34, 24 October 2022 (UTC)
For apps and routers, that cater to an audience, for which a scramble is not an insurmountable obstacle; I.e. the ones, that already account for e.g. highway=via_ferrata or for attributes on paths like sac_scale, transition should be quite easy: The lazy may treat scrambles like convetional paths and add an extra attribute for extra styling. I do not want to write that into the proposal, its their software, they are the developers and certainly will know how to do on their own. A tiny bit is in the Routing/Rendering section.
Remember, this is only an attempt to create a tag with a concise meaning. The RfC period worked out very well, if you ask me. I think the tag as proposed should now be easy to apply correctly right from the start by even novice users. Usage in the wild hopefully will not undermine all of this. Still, an "approved" badge might help in advancing spread. ( A bet on the outcome of voting might have quite some leverage ;) The proposal process creates not much of audience, but every little counts. Last but not least, the editors are probably more important then the consumers. I did not contact editor devs neither. This all has to wait on uptake, on the mappers, as the driving force.--Hungerburg (talk) 21:53, 11 October 2022 (UTC)
Sorry but I must say, that I'm not convinced. If we, the mappers, drive openstreetmap, then the sac_scale (or something similar) should be enough. The maintainers of maps just have to take it into consideration. In my opinion we do not drive openstreetmap enough, to introduce a breaking change for hiking maps without inviting maintainers of hiking maps to discuss it. --JIDB (talk) 20:03, 2 November 2022 (UTC)
I see, our views diverge beyond a common understanding of what openstreetmap is about. In any case, if this tag ever gets off, I urge you to file an issue with your map provider, if they let you down on your endeavours. Meanwhile, I learned that OSRM, Graphhopper BRouter and waymarkedtrails support this tag out of the box. My hope remains, that especially the first two/three of them will use it to make a better product of the data that we, the mappers create; improvement certainly is possibly. --Hungerburg (talk) 22:41, 3 November 2022 (UTC)

I agree that this information would be an improvement but only if it get quickly adopted by hiking maps. Adding scramble=yes to existing highways would be a way to add this information without breaking hiking maps. If I understand correctly, you prefer highway=scramble so that data consumers can simply ignore it, if there are not interested in hiking paths. In my opinion it is too late in the development of openstreetmap to do so without first getting the main hiking map providers involved.

Could you precise how BRouter and waymarkedtrails support this tag out of the box? I made some tests routing from somewhat before to somewhat after which was tagged as highway=scramble 25 days ago:

  • doesn't seems to have the new data yet: even racing bikes get routed over this highway.
  • seems to already have the new data but cant find a route over this scramble using the hiking profile. I am not even sure if power users might be able to adapt the profile themselves: I tried but without success.
  • As for it doesn't display highways directly but routes (relations with type=route + route=hiking), so that highway=scramble isn't relevant for the routes layer. --JIDB (talk) 16:30, 5 November 2022 (UTC)

A bit of history: This proposal originates in discussion on OSM-Carto, where I learned, that any attribute to "path" apart from the paved/unpaved distinction has infinitesimally little chance of getting a specific rendering. Anything tagged path in OSM-Carto will forever look like a walk in the Schlosspark. In a follow up discussion on the community forum, the use of a value in the highway key came out a clear winner. So this proposal got coined. When this goes to vote, I would not be surprised, if the "too late" argument, or the "we can do that with attributes on paths" argument may prevent approval, so maybe voters should be asked to write that in the vote, to ease counting of reasons. --Hungerburg (talk) 00:25, 6 November 2022 (UTC)
PS: Brouter has the new data. It is the router with the shortest delay in uptake. That racing bikes get sent over way 260708439 tells me only so much, that the attributes on the adjacent paths are of no use.--Hungerburg (talk) 00:25, 6 November 2022 (UTC)
I toyed around a bit with BRouter: I could not get it to go from Hildegard-Auer-Weg to Geiernbödele with the Rennrad, only with the Trekking bike: it suggests 27 minutes (upward, 17 down), while the hiking profile gives 3:04 hours (up). I guess they certainly will be interested in highway=scramble, once it finds adoption. On steps you can carry a bike with comparable ease, but on Lindebensteig that will be a chore. Regarding the other hundreds of routing and map providers, Again, I urge the community to contact them, should need arise. --Hungerburg (talk) 18:06, 6 November 2022 (UTC)
I toyed around with OsmAnd. It also supports routing over way 260708439 out of the box. Though I rather wished, they would not. Their timings are, although they say they account for elevation, completely unrealistic. BRouter is much superior, Using OsmAnd for hikes in my mind generally not advisable. --Hungerburg (talk) 23:22, 6 November 2022 (UTC)

OSRM and graphhopper

"Both OSRM and graphhopper already include ways tagged highway=scramble in their directions"

how it happened? Mateusz Konieczny (talk) 11:02, 10 November 2022 (UTC)

This happens, when a hiking route relation spans the scramble section. Eg takes part in . BRouter does not even need such to route over there. For them this is just highway=unknown; At least as of now, I hope this will change, so they can e.g. provide an off-by-default "scramble" checkbox in their cycle profile, like they have for steps now. --Hungerburg (talk) 11:41, 10 November 2022 (UTC)

Vote analysis

I tried to count the 81 votes until 06.12 and summarize the arguments from people who commented their vote. Maybe someone want to have a look if I'm mistaken.

Vote analysis
yes no abstain like highway=scramble sac_scale (or else) enough prefer scramble=yes question verifiability / objectiveness / «depends on one’s ability» wants something broader like ‘demanding_path’ Don’t like the idea of broken rendering
39 34 5 41 21 8 7 7 1

So are we not allowed to use this?

I'd like to tag scramble sections on paths, analogous to highway=steps on sidewalks. Is there an agreed-upon tag for this? Brightj (talk) 16:13, 31 May 2023 (UTC)

You are always "allowed" to tag anything useful in OSM, see Any tags you like. It is just that it is currently not recommended, as no consensus has been reached (to the best of my knowledge) in any of Proposal:Highway=scramble#External_discussions, and thus the chance of any data consumers actually supporting the use of such tag is very low. Of the currently more popular/supported schemes, one would use highway=path + smoothness=impassable + sac_scale=* (but there will be plenty to point out deficiencies with that method too - just go see linked discussion and their forks for gory details) --mnalis (talk) 21:31, 9 June 2023 (UTC)
I just want something to use for climbing access paths that involve scrambling up rocks: The reasonably safe shortcut to the top of the cliff, but not something that people would typically want to hike or bike. I am very confused about what the community recommends I should be using for things like this. Brightj (talk) 14:06, 27 August 2023 (UTC)