Talk:Walking Routes

From OpenStreetMap Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

How are tags with no network tag to be understood?

Theoretically route=hiking requires a network tag, yet 12% of all relations don't have one. How is a hiking route without a network declaration to be understood? Equal to local walking network? (I'm asking from a renderer's perspective.) (talk) 15:54, 21 March 2019 (UTC)

I would say: The network tag is required, so if it is not present, do not render. But if you do anyway, I would not use a default. You might take the length of the route as an indicator of importance/scope. --Peter Elderson (talk) 08:08, 28 October 2019 (UTC)

Relations - network key

Can this be marked as optional? I'm not sure it is used on things like The Essex Way. EdLoach 14:20, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

Actually, thinking about it, it isn't international, national or local so I've added network=rwn to the relation. Forget I wrote the above EdLoach 14:31, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

Do we really need 3 tags for the same thing?

Until now I was aware we were using both foot and hiking as route types. Now this page suggests walking for the same thing.

A quick look at tagwatch shows the following count

  • foot 650
  • hiking 442
  • walking 254

So I would rather suggest dropping the least used tag, which would be walking. Having two redundant route types is bad enough. --Nop 17:00, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

In the Netherlands the decision was made to tag using 'walking' as you can have a hiking-route, a walking-route, but a foot-route? Still it's probably best to standardize. --Rene_A 18:10, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

Let's collect some pros/cons then.

Tag Pros Cons


  • analogy to route=bicycle
  • analogy to other tags: foot=yes, footpath
  • most widely used tag
  • doesn't allow to differentiate between city-wide walking routes and cross-country or hilly hiking trails
  • not intuitive
  • most intuitive term
  • misleading, in Germany walking means "nordic walking", not hiking

Feel free to append to this list.--Grille Chompa 18:26, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

Walking and cycling route

Some routes here are both walking routes and cycling routes. How would one tag those? --Eimai 18:35, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

Two seperate relations. The identity may change, also the relation may include different additional points of interest für cyclists and hikers. --Nop 21:05, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
Yes, but I'd stay away from mixing ways abd POIs in one relation (500 members in 1 relation is more than enough). Instead create two or more relations and then create a relation of these relations. --Keichwa 04:53, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

Rendering considerations

Here's some of my experience from creating a hiking map:

  • You should use a route relation to describe your route as this is the direction development is moving in. I consider it unlikely that directly tagged routes will be supported by a renderer as this concept is obsolete.
  • You should include a symbol tag in your relation, so someone setting up a renderer has an idea how to include your route. Or maybe an URL to this sort of information. Currently it is a shame that there are many usable looking routes that cannot be rendered as there is no information on their markings. --Nop 16:53, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
  • A common tag used in Belgium now is color=red/orange/blue/etc, given that many routes have a specific colour in their signs. This already gives an excellent hint to render routes (see this rendering for example). --Eimai 17:16, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

The symbols

In many countries generalized symbols are in use. I'd like us to work out a formalized description of these symbols that could be read by a renderer engine without human intervention. Somewhere I already saw such a proposal. Here is my proposal (once the syntax is settled, an English native speaker is asked to help with the terms, please):



foreground == color_symbol
background == color
text       == letters or numbers printed on top (optional)


a red bar (horizontal) on a white background
a red bar (horizontal) on a white background with a "F" letter on top
the white number 2 on a green background

I'm wondering whether we must distinguish between a description of the symbol and hints to the renderer? --Keichwa 05:17, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

Yes you must. Such a code will be highly renderer specific - if the renderer does not know or cannot display any part of the syntax, the mechanism is broken. Or incomplete, e.g. your proposal is missing a part that the hiking map renderer would support. There are also many non-standard symbols that cannot be described this way but that may be approximated, but only if at least the human adjusting the renderer has any idea what is intended (examples). E.g. currently I am using a black X in one case to approximate the symbol of crossed hammer and axe.
But most importantly: Many people will take the time to enter a freeform human readable description, but will not want to learn the syntax of a particular renderer and formulate an exact technical description. Remember the discussion on talk-de about names. If some people are not even willing to take the time to research the proper name for a route (which is quicker than getting familiar with a renderer syntax and checking the list of available markings), they'll never supply a renderer description. But most of those relations already have the symbol description, just mislabeled as a name. --Nop 07:57, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

Where's the syntax for this? What would this for example be in this scheme? It doesn't have a background color... --Eimai 12:21, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

Note: For the hiking map, there is a similar scheme for renderer directives already implemented and working. (Discussion page is in German, concept is language independet) --Nop 11:15, 26 January 2009 (UTC)


Perhaps status=proposed may be better, having read the comment on the main page? EdLoach 14:35, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

But state=* is already used a lot for the cycling routes, so it makes sense to follow that scheme. There's also state=alternate and state=connection in use btw. --Eimai 11:28, 21 January 2009 (UTC)

Can you explain the context of this tag a little? All the hiking routes I know in Germany are marked and kept by organizations like hiking clubs or local tourist offices. The authorities don't care about hiking routes and hiking routes have no legal impact. So I do not understand what the concept of a proposed route would be. --Nop 11:51, 21 January 2009 (UTC)

I personally don't know a proposed walking route here, but there's for example a proposed cycling route: the signs are (partly) there, but it's route is taking a ferry which will only be opened in several months. --Eimai 12:07, 21 January 2009 (UTC)
I have recently entered a new 230 Km regional walking route replacing an old one. I knew and mapped the new route relation(s) months in advance, and switched them at exactly the time of the official opening of the new route. --Peter Elderson (talk) 07:58, 28 October 2019 (UTC)

Merge with Hiking?

See Talk:Hiking#Merge with Walking Routes? -- Harry Wood 01:01, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

moved User:Nop's comment to the right place

Proposed move to 'Wikiproject walking and hiking'

Please see comment on talk:hiking describing a proposed move of both the hiking article and this one. This one would become 'Wikiproject walking and hiking' and the other one 'Walking and hiking'. This page would retain all the content about mapping efforts around the world, the tagging information for waling routes would move to 'walking and hiking'. Any comments? PeterIto 06:03, 7 July 2012 (BST)

+1 for the first proposal, relating to this page. --Rudolf (talk) 10:36, 26 April 2014 (UTC)

Walking routes described in books

Besides national, regional and local routes there are also routes described in books. For example, Anne and Jérôme RENAC have written a dozen of books describing walking and hiking routes in the French Vosges, Jura and Alps. They are not official routes but nevertheless they are routes that can be followed by using the book or a GPX file downloaded from an OSM client website. The described routes follow the real sign-marked paths (follow the red rectangle, then the blue triangle, then ...). I recently walked, recorded and uploaded the GPS track, created the relation 2249514, eventually got the authorisation of the authors which I published on the wiki. However, the relation was first deleted without any prior notice, for alleged copyright violation and (non-written) eligibility criteria. Later, it was restored after an exchange of private messages.

In my opinion, OpenStreetMap should remain OPEN to non incumbents operators such as authors of books on walking routes. --Cordialement, gerdami 16:53, 11 July 2012 (BST)

Roundtrip walking routes

Most of local walking routes in Wallonia (Belgium) are round trip routes (circular routes), i.e. start of route = goal of route. Moreover, some of them are described in booklets as one way trips and signpost on the ground follow the same logic, i.e. they are not visible if you walk in the reverse way. Hence I logically started tagging such routes as

I also added to one node

  • Role start

The problem is that renderers do not know how to order the ways and effectively start the roundtrip from the start node. The relation analyser shows an elevation profile that does not match the trip: example.

I suggest that the official start of a roundtrip roundtrip=yes be marked with a node belonging to the route and marked with Role start and that the first way to follow be marked with Role first. --Cordialement, gerdami 09:50, 19 January 2013 (UTC)

Proposal to remove chapters "tagging"

I propose to remove the chapters "Tagging walking and hiking Route Networks" and "Tags of the relation" from this page. The information about tagging a hiking/walking route is already done in hiking. A link would be sufficient and avoid redundand information.--Rudolf (talk) 20:58, 25 April 2014 (UTC)

Walks within cities?

Should this be used for walks within cities, that are not "hiking" but rather a bunch of sidewalks along a touristic route? --Nighto (talk) 16:46, 9 May 2016 (UTC)

If the walk is signposted/waymarked and permanent, I would say yes you can if you want to. --Peter Elderson (talk) 07:46, 28 October 2019 (UTC)

Proposal: Add a via tag


Many Relations carry not only the from and the to tag in their names but also all the places which are passed by the trail. My suggestion would be to add a via=* tag. Multiple vias can be seperated with a ;



In my country "official" routes usually contain POIs related to the route:

  • Information/map boards, Direction signs
  • Picnic/rest areas, Toilets, Parking
  • Tourist places, viewpoints, etc

Can this objects be added to relation with some role like "poi"?

Question is: are they really part of the route, or options when planning a trip? Note that geographic nearness in itself is information that can be seen on the map and added e.g. by a router or trip planner. Also, it's really a matter of preference what kind of POI people want on their route. That's why maps, planners and routers usually make these things optional for the user. To answer more directly: yes you can add nodes with roles, but there is no standard for this. Many styles do render the nodes as POIs but in the relations they generally are ignored by apps and maps. If you really want to change this, you could come up with a sound proposal with a good use case, leading up to a consensus and proper wiki documentation.--Peter Elderson (talk) 10:20, 28 May 2020 (UTC)
Haven't seen planners that would extract specific POIs around the route. I was mostly using
My local authorities share routes with POIs as gpx files that do have POIs as markers, same applies for other services like
I'm not good at preparation of proposal documentation, but I would definitely participate and support if somebody more experienced would guide it.--Ursus (talk) 10:57, 28 May 2020 (UTC)
Waymarked trails is ok but it's rendering only. It does not do POI's belonging to the transport mode, that's too bad. I have emailed with them about it, and they might show more POI's, but not as part of the route relation. Adding nearby POI's to the gpx export could be done anyway.
I am working with a planner/router developer so I have looked at several planners and routers. They all tend to do the same thing: show the routes, give options to switch POI's on and off, and optionally add nearby POI's to the output. Only one planner/router actually lets the user add POI's as via points to the planned route. So even that one would not use POI's in the route relations themselves.
Personally I think that is correct: the POI's are optionally part of your trip, but not of the route as such. A node actually belonging to the relation would be e.g. a Starting node in a roundtrip. So it would be a topology-related node, not a user wish related node. But I know others disagree. --Peter Elderson (talk) 11:37, 28 May 2020 (UTC)

Alternative route

Sometimes parts of routes do not have "official" status or there is a better alternative way that is safer or contains more picturesque route or it might contain cycleway with better pavement that sometimes is significant for cyclists.

I don't see a point of tagin additional route with state=alternate, instead I suggest to use roles: primary members can have empty role, but alternative route can have "alternate" as role.

--Ursus (talk) 09:02, 28 May 2020 (UTC)

See . Voting starts around 2020-06-05, if the RFC on the tagging mailing list is done by then. The proposed role value is "alternative", can you live with that? --Peter Elderson (talk) 09:53, 28 May 2020 (UTC)
You made my day! Glad that it was raised and evaluated by others! Sometimes it's hard to find related info in wiki :(
I do like "alternative", "alternate" was a key from "state". --Ursus (talk) 10:57, 28 May 2020 (UTC)

StoryWalk / Story book trails

Many around. Mention how to tag. Also how to tag each "page" board. Put into same relation? Jidanni (talk) 05:09, 2 December 2022 (UTC)

  1. educational=* ?
  2. 27 board_type=story instances
  3. Seems acceptable similar to Role guidepost
--- Kovposch (talk) 09:26, 2 December 2022 (UTC)