Talk:Waterways in the United Kingdom

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Canal as area

There's a small part of the Stroudwater Navigation which expands out to the size of a large mill-pond. It's called The Ocean. It's part of the canal but waterway=canal and area=yes don't render. I'm content to leave it but I'd be interested if folks here agree that this should be rendered. I'm sure there are other such situations. Alex McKee 23:00, 28 April 2009 (UTC)

Tixall Wide (Staffs & Worcs) is one that springs to mind, and possibly also the flashes on the Trent & Mersey. I'd agree this would be good to render. Suggest you ping Steve8 about it. --Richard 08:10, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
Cheers Richard, will do. :) Alex McKee 00:41, 19 June 2009 (UTC)
I just spotted a turning point on the Caldon canal, just outside Stoke/Hanley, that renders as two separate traces rather than an area of water - I guess this is the problem described here? User:gklyne

Waterway features

The section "Mapping waterways" suggests towpaths, locks and bridges as features to be recorded. Also useful for boaters are turning points (including boat length if known) and other facilities such as water points, rubbish disposal points, sanitary facilities, boatyards, etc. Currently this information is available through commercial publications such as Nicolson's waterways guides, but I've been unable to find open-access online copies. user:gklyne

I just found some of these are covered by options listed at Key:waterway. (Note to self: Proposed_features also seems relevant) user:gklyne)

Project discussions

I'm sorry but I can't see any organisation for this project. Openstreetmap doesn't even seem to have the project pages that Wikipedia has to identify interested people. For mapping it would seem that a forum is needed much more to help coordinate strategy and tactics. Is there one somewhere? Chris55 18:02, 15 January 2011 (UTC)

It's probably fair to say that we don't do organisation in OSM, or at least in some obvious way with groups of people with defined roles. It may take some getting used to, but in general it works. Many wiki pages will have lists of people interested or active in a particular activity (whether it be Humanitarian Work, going to the pub or mapping in a specific area), so feel free to add a section to this page adding your interest. I know there is loads to be done on waterways, many are poorly aligned, but OSMers have travelled them and uploaded GPS traces. Detailed stuff like bridge numbers, mileposts, missing bridges could all be added. In general we just tend to get on with it, although wholesale changing of the work of others needs to be done with circumspection. There are plenty of contributors interested in UK waterways, including the editor of Waterways World, so rest assured you're not alone. It is important to know that the wiki is not necessarily the best source of information: for instance, I think the tabulation is not up-to-date. Many people putting mapping way ahead of documenting stuff on the wiki: although I find using wiki pages a good way to keep abreast of things I'm trying to map. One last point: most UK mappers are most active on their local patches, mapping everything to an increasing level of detail in particular areas. Hope these notes make sense. SK53 19:52, 15 January 2011 (UTC)
You say many OSMers have travelled waterways and uploaded GPS traces, but how do I find out about them? I'm totally new to all this. The wiki article says that all the pre-1960 OS maps have been scanned and are available as a resource and I would guess that provides 99% of the stuff that's needed for the canals. But how do I access these? How do I know which are the best descriptors to use for the waterways? I'm not asking for a boss. Rather for some pointers to who I can ask to see what's been done and what's needed to be done now and how to do it. Basically I can't see the signs at present. And if I can't, then maybe there are others who can't and who would contribute if they could see what was needed. Chris55 22:22, 15 January 2011 (UTC)
OK, this might not be the best place for a detailed discussion. The comment about the NPE maps illustrates just how out-of-date the wiki page can be. Always the best resource is on-the-ground mapping (gps traces, photos, notes, audio logs, sketch maps ...), but now we have a host of high quality information available in the main editors (Potlatch, the one behind the edit tab above the map; Josm; and Merkaartor). Included in this are: a) Bing aerial images covering most of the UK at a high-level of quality; b) some areas of the UK covered by Yahoo aerial images (not really used now, Bing is better); c) OpenData from the Ordnance Survey (StreetView is visible in the editors); d) about 15% of the country is covered by 1:25k Ordnance mapping as well. So if you have traces, photos etc., these can be a useful supplement, when adding data to the map. If you want you can upload GPS traces (they do have to have timepoints) into the database and others can see them in the editor (this is very useful when several people have travelled the same route). Of course you can use them as well. Think about any loss-of-privacy issues before loading lots of traces (there are tools to remove traces within N metres of, say, your house). As for people involved in mapping the waterway system: you can view individual data elements in the dataview (select the blue + sign on the RHS of the map), and view who has edited the element. Probably the best way to get a feel is to view an area you know well, and look at who has mapped what: look for a tool from ITO called OSM Mapper which quickly visualises things. If you want to know more send me a message through the messaging system ( and choose "Send Message", you'll need to login/create user account), as this is probably best taken further one-2-one. SK53 22:51, 15 January 2011 (UTC)
sorry, SK, you still don't indicate where is the best place for discussion. A little search reveals,, each of which seems to have different registration and login requirements from and Is it really as dispersed as this? Both the forum and lists don't seem to allow for separate interest groups. Chris55 10:31, 16 January 2011 (UTC)
The usual places would be the talk-gb mailing list and the #osm-gb IRC channel. There's very little UK activity on (the Germans and the Russians use it quite a bit, though). FWIW,, and all have the same login. is the odd one out. (The mailing lists and IRC aren't really web services, of course.) --Richard 17:29, 16 January 2011 (UTC)

Access rights for towpaths

I would like to see a modification to the definitions of access rights for towpaths. This Waterways page asks that towpaths are footways or cycleways. I find very few notices defining access rights along towpaths - therefore we should not use footpath or cycleway for which the default accesses are 'designated'. I am trying to add detail to the Brecon Canal atm and am surprised that some towpaths have been mapped as 'cycleways', without any signs of rights, apart from some NCN signs (for which permissions are presumably agreed with the Canal & River Trust). I find that approach very pro-cycle and anti-walker. From the Canal and River Trust Website (quote) "Is the towpath a public right of way? Most towpaths are not public rights of way. Instead, the majority of our towpaths are ‘permissive paths’ as we allow members of the public to use them." This implies to me that towpaths should be highway=footway (or, I prefer, just highway=path), with towpath=yes, and permissive for both foot and cycle - unless there are local signs for different access rights. M --NorthIsland (talk) 15:19, 10 June 2019 (UTC)

Hello NorthIsland, I see what you mean. I'm guessing that way 204016984 became a highway=cycleway on OSM through its inclusion in the Sustrans/Brecons 'Cycle across the Beacons' route relation 6655810. It isn't a cyclepath first and foremost. And the foot=yes might really be foot=permissive. Try asking on Talk-GB for a UK opinion - Jnicho02 (talk) 16:13, 10 June 2019 (UTC)

Remove redirect from Key:towpath to "Waterways in the United Kingdom"

I would like to remove the redirect from Key:towpath to this page, as the key towpath is not only used in the UK. The proposed tagging does for example not apply to towpath in Belgium (we can't use highway=footway or highway=cycleway, as service vehicles need to be able to use the towpaths). OK to remove the redirect? --S8evq (talk) 08:54, 24 April 2020 (UTC)