Talk:Proposed features/trailblazed=poles;cairns

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Visibility namespace

Does this mean trail_visibility=* should be updated to trail:visibility=*? So, trailblazed:visibility=* and trail:visibility=* can both share the same visibility=* namespace? --Mxdanger (talk) 20:29, 16 March 2021 (UTC)

Actually it would be definitely great to have some tighter name comparability! Just I an not sure if trail_visibility=* should change to trail:visibility=* or rather trailblazed:visibility=* should change to trailblazed_visibility=* :( --Miramikes (talk) 15:25, 17 March 2021 (UTC)

symbol value

Resolved: In France, hiking paths are marked by symbols.

So I suggest that you add trailblazed=symbol to your proposal.
Then it would be possible to add a more precise description of the symbol: --Jcr83 (talk) 18:18, 13 March 2021 (UTC)

I believe that adding symbols is already possible via Key:osmc:symbol to existing relation. If relation doesn't exist then it can be created.
So I think your suggestion would be just doubling already existing feature.
But I might wrong ... If so please explain me what new trailblazed=symbol would brings over osmc:symbol
--Miramikes (talk) 06:51, 14 March 2021 (UTC)
We are talking about ways, not relations. Most hiking paths do not belong to a relation. So are you proposing to tag them as:

? I'd prefer:


--Jcr83 (talk) 09:07, 14 March 2021 (UTC)

Firstly can be used only on relations if I understand well.
Secondly you still didn't explain what is difference between: trailblazed=yes osmc:symbol=* and trailblazed=symbol osmc:symbol=*
I hesitate propose new value for trailblazed if there is old one which can do the same thing.--Miramikes (talk) 08:23, 14 March 2021 (UTC)
The difference is that you can use trailblazed=symbol without osmc:symbol=* to indicate that the path is marked, if you don't know or don't remember what symbol is used. Even more so if osmc:symbol can not be used on a way. --Jcr83 (talk) 09:33, 14 March 2021 (UTC)
Ok that's make sense to me ;)--Miramikes (talk) 17:32, 14 March 2021 (UTC)


Resolved: Maybe also add something like trailblazed:visibility=* with the typical visibility values excellent/good/intermediate/bad/horrible/no?

Example: On Iceland you sometimes have small wooden poles that are pretty far away from each other and sometimes have a yellow painted tip. The problem is that the moss/ground on iceland has often a green-brown-yellowish color so that the poles are practically invisible. Therefore a visibility tag would put the trailblaze tag into a perspective.

Good idea !--Miramikes (talk) 17:32, 14 March 2021 (UTC)
I'd like to see a more objective description for these values, otherwise they are way too subjective to be tagged in any consistent manner, and it leads to disagreements because what one things is good another might think is bad.
I'd suggest to phrase it as "excellent" the next trail marker is always visible, "good" the next trail marker is usually visible, "intermediate" the next trail marker ..., "bad" the trail markers are infrequent and/or can be hard to find/follow. "horrible" trail markers exist but are rare or hard to locate.
I realise this is still subjective, and can be hard to tag "eg rare markers but when they are found are very helpful, eg. just at a few key navigation points", but I think still better than without any description. --Aharvey (talk) 00:30, 15 March 2021 (UTC)
Hopefully I fixed that in satisfactory manner ... Thank you for suggestion --Miramikes (talk) 01:48, 15 March 2021 (UTC)
Better, though the last one trailblazed:visibility=no, where would that be applicable? Wouldn't that just be trailblazed=no? --Aharvey (talk) 01:54, 15 March 2021 (UTC)
good point ... "no visibility ... trail markers not exists or they are so rare that they are almost useless" there might be a case where trail has been marked in past, but due low maintenance marking is in such bad condition that it is almost useless ... but there is still hope for repairing in future. I am changing wording to "no visibility ... trail markers almost not exists or they are so rare that they are close to useless" Or if you have better suggestion let me know please. --Miramikes (talk) 02:13, 15 March 2021 (UTC)

symbol is orthogonal to other values

Resolved: It looks like the value "symbol" blurs the distinction between other values like "marker" or "yes".

Your example photos for "marker" or "yes" could also be interpreted as a "symbol" making it harder for mappers to decide.--Kjon (talk) 15:12, 14 March 2021 (UTC)

Actually you are right. I changed that picture and I also added some definitions of marking which should help make decision for mappers. Pls let me know if thing are clear now. Thank you.--Miramikes (talk) 17:32, 14 March 2021 (UTC)
It's certainly an improvement but for me it doesn't really resolve that except for "symbol" all other explicit values describe some form of physical attribute while "symbol" describes a graphical attribute. A marker can always resemble a symbol - in the given photo-example the symbol of the marker is a red triangle. Maybe just remove "marker" from possible values or instead of "symbol" rather use something like "paint". You may also have a look at the wikipedia  article, where 7 types of signage are listed. In addition to that for your chosen values please also make sure to always use either the plural or singular form, currently it's a mix of both.--Kjon (talk) 18:13, 14 March 2021 (UTC)
I changed all values to plural form ... definitely good point ... thank you
Now I am thinking if I am able to define symbols and markers well enough to be definition clear. I already changed some pictures and improved description somewhat, but I am not totally satisfied with result.
Perhaps you are right about removing "markers" from list of values ... Let me think about it a bit more --Miramikes (talk) 17:34, 15 March 2021 (UTC)
Please check my recent edits to "symbols" and "markers" definition. They are now defined as follow:
"symbols" as patches of paint directly on objects as tree or rock and "markers" as colorful labels (metal or plastic) attached to objects.
Yes there is still room for discussion if given mark is "marker" or "symbol", but I think it will be always possible same as this discussions exist about other tags too.
I removed "ribbons" because I believe they are rather for temporal than permanent use. --Miramikes (talk) 19:12, 19 March 2021 (UTC)
So I removed "markers" to keep things quite simple and moved all under "symbols" by definition.--Miramikes (talk) 20:02, 22 March 2021 (UTC)

I also think the distinction between symbol and marker is not clear and often ambiguous. Their appearance can also be tagged in detail using either osmc:symbol=* or wiki:symbol=* pointing to an image file. On the other hand, I'd rather distinguish painted markers (e.g. a red/white patch on a rock or tree) and those little metal or plastic plates. --Mueschel (talk) 12:48, 19 March 2021 (UTC)

That's what I have done in recent changes ... I defined "symbols" as patches of paint directly on objects as tree or rock and "markers" as colorful labels (metal or plastic) attached to objects.
I am just thinking this could be good solution. --Miramikes (talk) 19:01, 19 March 2021 (UTC)


If the way is not trailblazed it is simply a way. Ways are not usually trailblazed. So this value should not occur. The picture shows a perfectly visible trail, there is no reason to expect such a path to be trailblazed, so the key is simply not applicable. More formally put: By definition, only trailblazed sections of ways should be tagged with trailblazed, so trailblazed is ruled out from the beginning. --Peter Elderson (talk) 06:59, 23 March 2021 (UTC)

Yes, technically trailblazed=no might be redundant ... It is there more or less for completeness ... What you are suggesting? 1) better picture for trailblazed=no or 2) trailblazed=no to be removed from values? --Miramikes (talk) 06:49, 23 March 2021 (UTC)
I would leave it in the table but say in the text it is for completeness but shouldn't normally be used, because it is outside the definition. No picture, simply because it would have to be a picture without a visible path and without visible trailblaze, leaving only a nice nature shot!--Peter Elderson (talk) 06:59, 23 March 2021 (UTC)
Agree, I will fix it after voting as changes during are not allowed. --Miramikes (talk) 08:16, 23 March 2021 (UTC)

traiblazed=symbol tagging example, first picture

The first example of trailblazed=symbol tagging looks to me like route waymarking, because these symbols are very widely used as route marks, and because there are three of them in different colours which usually means three routes are using the same way. The file is called Tourist trails, pointing me in the same direction of thought. Maybe the upper symbol is a trailblaze symbol for a (nearly) invisible path, but I seriously doubt that, because when three tourist routes are indicated, there is no need for separate trailblazes just for this section. If I had a better example I would provide it, but in my part of the world this simply is not available. Trailblazed=poles we do have in Nederland, and people make cairns all over the country, just for fun, and very often on top of poles or low guideposts ("toadstools"). I seriously hope people will not use the trailblazed=cairn tag for those... --Peter Elderson (talk) 07:01, 23 March 2021 (UTC)

You are right again ... I will change that picture after voting ... I guess this one could be fine
There is always room for wrong tagging ... But I believe when used "common sense" wrong tagging woundn't be frequent case. --Miramikes (talk) 08:21, 23 March 2021 (UTC)
The symbol is fine, but according to the whole trail is blazed with it! --Peter Elderson (talk) 12:25, 23 March 2021 (UTC)
What about this one? --Miramikes (talk) 05:01, 24 March 2021 (UTC)

Routes vs. Ways

I think this tag should be used on routes as well as on ways. If a route exists and the trailblazing is the same for the whole route, the tag should be on the relation rather than on the way. --Mueschel (talk) 09:44, 23 March 2021 (UTC)

I think that putting the tag on relation needs to be even encouraged. More often than not it is consistend along the route (=relation). --Gorn (talk) 10:10, 23 March 2021 (UTC)
For waymarked route relations, there is symbol, colour, and osmc:symbol which are in wide use. I think the proposal is right to limit the usage to (sections of) paths where trailblazes are actually needed to indicate the path. --Peter Elderson (talk) 12:31, 23 March 2021 (UTC)
Yes, the intention was not duplicate already existing and well working solution, but rather cover the cases when there is no relation and marking is not necessarily used on whole trail.
I would rather not allow it on relations. --Miramikes (talk) 12:59, 23 March 2021 (UTC)

board value

There are many usecases when trails are only marged by information board, which sometimes contain instructions or map how to navigate the trail (in addition to other information). This type of trailblazing is for example predominantely used for educational trails in Czech republic. Currently there is no way to tag these. --Gorn (talk) 10:15, 23 March 2021 (UTC)

Do the boards together give the whole trail?
In between the boards, do you navigate by general direction, or is it a prescribed or obvious trail?
If the boards are found at all crucial direction decision points, then they are waymarks and you have a route (relation). You can use colour, symbol (symbol=board) and osmc:symbol (mimic a board using a square).
The boards themselves are separate nodes marked tourism=information, information=board, I think. No need to attach these to the trail or route.
Or am I missing something?
--Peter Elderson (talk) 15:27, 23 March 2021 (UTC)
If I understood Gorn correctly, the boards are not there to tell people where the trail runs, but to give educational or other guidance about eg. what can be observed along the trail. I'd map those as single tourism=information=board|map nodes. --Hungerburg (talk) 20:06, 23 March 2021 (UTC)
Yes, I have to agree with comments above trailblazed=board wouldn't be probably best solution for educational trails.--Miramikes (talk) 18:22, 24 March 2021 (UTC)

Proposal not yet ready

I see several issues that need to be cleared before voting

1) The term “trailblazed” (a trail that is “blazed” from French “balise”, I suppose) has two different meanings that are mixed up this proposal: (a) There are objects along the road, like poles or cairns or empty petrol containers (the famous "bidons" on the trans-Sahara routes) that define the road, mainly because there is no other visible road infrastructure. (b) there are markers that indicate that the well-visible road I am on is part of a waymarked route for hikers, bicycles, horses, cars (“route des vins d'Alsace”), ... Such waymarks can include guideposts, painted signs, poles, cairns, small symbol plates, ...

I am not sure which of the two definitions are at present being used in OSM. I personally have mapped route relations using definition (b), but not (a)

I certainly have come across ways that were trailblazed in both senses, there were cairns and there were also red-white-red paint marks and the occasional guidepost, or paint marks on the ground, or inscriptions painted on the rock, or stones arranged as arrows on the gerund and many other ways of marking the correct way.

2) Adding other values to the the present trailblazed=yes|no, for example trailblazed=symbol has the problem that you need to check all existing uses of trailblazed=yes, and convert most of them to trailblazed=symbol.

3) And what about the many trailblazed ways and routes that use a mix of guideposts, painted symbols on trees, rocks, buildings, and other markers all for the same route and possibly along the same way?

4) And then there are also “normal” roads where poles indicate the width of the carriageway for the snowploughs in case of snow. In the mountains around here they are seasonal, not permanent. I guess that the proposal trailblazed=poles has also this in mind in non-seasonal variant.

--voschix (talk) 17:07, 23 March 2021 (UTC)

Looks like I am not the only one that is late, though I did not call for the vote to stop :) Disclaimer, I just voted yes. A comment from my understanding: Ad 1) I do not consider the distinction that severe, even when the path is clearly visible, without markings, it might be hard to tell the correct continuation where it splits. In both cases they are orientational devices. Ad 2) I do not see a need to retag anything in an organised manner. People will happen over the tags and leave as is or adjust as fit. Ad 3) If there is a mix of blazings, the value "yes" always works. Perhaps the text in the table suggests otherwise, this should be changed. A minor correction. Ad 4) I'd never ever had thought about the snow-poles beside roads in winter time as "trailblazing", but perhaps thats because I only thought from a hiking point of view and did not look far enough. --Hungerburg (talk) 21:08, 23 March 2021 (UTC)
1) originally there were just poles and cairns and "symbols" were added latter ... check please section "symbol value" in discussion page
This proposal is about (a) just there should probably more strict definition for trailblazed=symbols ...
they can be used only on ways (sections of trail) where they really exist ... if they are along whole trail common tagging on relations (routes) should be used.
2)It will happen probably anyway ... Same as I sometimes fixing or improving tagging done by someone else ... I don't think extra action is needed.
3)Only ways ... these tags are not meant for routes(relations) ... guidepost having own tag ... It is mentioned in proposal section "Rationale"
Not sure if I understand question here ...
If there is marked trail tagged in classic manner on relation it still can be tagged section or sections of trail for example trailblazed=poles
Check please "Rendering" section of proposal ... Offset crosses along trail still allows traditional colored rendering of trails. It is quite common case in Czech mountains.
4)Nope, this proposal is not meant for seasonal marking at the moment ... but it might be added in future.--Miramikes (talk) 21:43, 23 March 2021 (UTC)