User:HiperGuiri/Drafts/Pyrenees Mountain Huts

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Project Background

Refugi Airoto-Gracia in Catalunya on a snowy morning

One of the most wonderful and special things about the Pyrenees mountain range are the hundreds of wilderness and alpine huts built for people to sleep in case of emergency or to enjoy a night in the wilderness.

Many of these huts exist as elements in OSM but after a few months hiking around in the Pyrenees it became clear that much of the metadata that exists for these huts is missing or incomplete.

After some research on the current state of the tags and users involved in the editing (see Appendix A&B), this project was created to codify a set of standard "Excellent" tags which our community should strive to have set for each hut, in pursuit of better data quality for all.

What is the point of this project?

The point of this project is to improve the quality of Pyrenees hiking data and to unite the various communities (OSM-ES, OSM-FR, OSM-CA) along the mountain range to collaborate together in pursuit of better data quality for all.

This is not a tagging proposal. It is a guide on how to *excellently* tag huts in the Pyrenees, which is to be discussed, proposed, and agreed upon by members of the relevant communities.

This is a guide based upon community input. This draft guide was created in order for people to have opinions about it and to spark a community discussion, not because it's anyone's idea of how it should be done. Together we can create a hut metadata schema that will describe Pyrenees mountain huts the best they can be.

This is nothing new. The vast majority of tags suggested as required or optional were ones already being used by the community (see Appendix B), and this guide is mostly just a summary of the consensus that already existed in the wild. The only new tags are under the wilderness_hut section "New Proposed Tags".

Why not use or

For those who don't know, both of these websites are databases which have much of the same information about Pyrenees huts as exists in OSM. However, having information in either of these sites is not as ideal as OpenStreetMap for some reasons:

  1. Both of these websites are only available in French and are not easily accessible. By setting the metadata as OSM tags we enable internationalization of hut metadata on websites and mobile apps.
  2. Hut data in OSM is already consumed by a large number of offline maps apps (Organic Maps, OsmAnd, ...) without having to download or import an external KML file.
  3. OSM has a much larger userbase than either of these websites in order to help maintain and update the hut data, and also to set check_date whenever the hut is visited in person.
  4. If the project is successful and the community is motivated, we can certainly set ref=*'s for the huts to link to either of these websites so the database items can be related to one another. Many wilderness_hut's already have website=* set to their page on one of these sites.
  5. If you're reading this, you're probably already a huge fan of OSM. We want this data in OSM because we love OSM.

This project isn't meant as a replacement for either of these websites though the projects have much the same goal.

Project Stages

The proposed stages of this project are as follows:

  1. Initial Consultation: Send out initial project ideas to a few select members of the community for their feedback; revise based upon their advice
  2. Public Comment: Once the project idea is revised and solidified, inform the general public of each community to receive feedback. Revise based upon community discussions.
  3. Vote: If and when an idea of excellent Pyrenees hut tagging is solidified, a vote is held in order to gauge whether the proposal is truly ready to be codified.
  4. Codification: If the vote is successful, the guide will be translated into Español, Francais, and Catalan and added to OSM Wiki WikiProjects

How to provide feedback

  1. Make an edit on the talk page for this wiki article
  2. Join the OSM Long Distance Hiking Club Telegram group

Excellent tourism=wilderness_hut tagging

Refugi Cinquantenari in Catalunya, operated by Unió Excursionista de Catalunya (UEC)
Interior of a typical wilderness_hut operated by Andorran Government (Refugi Prat Primer)
Required Tags
key value description
R access permissive Implied with wilderness_hut but good to set anyways
R capacity # Number of people intended to fit
R drinking_water yes / no Is there a water source nearby the hut?
R fee no Implied with wilderness_hut but good to set anyways
R fireplace yes / no Hut has fireplace?
R mattress yes / no Hut has mattresses?
R name * Name of hut as it is referred to locally
R opening_hours 24/7 / * Is hut open for public year round? Or only seasonally
R reservation no Implied with wilderness_hut but good to set anyways
R shower yes / no Hut has shower?
R toilets yes / no Hut has toilets nearby?
Optional Tags
key value description
O building:material * Building material of hut
O check_date YYYY-MM-DD When information was last verified by survey
O description * Additional information not covered by other keys
O ele # Elevation in meters
O name:* * Only set if name:*= differs from name=
O operator no / * Organization who maintains the hut
O operator:wikidata * Organization who maintains the hut
O roof:material * Material of hut roof
O start_date YYYY Year hut was built
O wikidata * Wikidata of hut
O wikipedia * Wikipedia of hut
New Proposed Tags
key value description
O capacity:maximum # Maximum capacity of people to sleep in the hut
R cookware yes / no Does hut contain pots / pans for cooking?
R emergency_beacon yes / no Hut has emergency SOS beacon?
R first_aid_kit yes / no Hut has first aid kit?
R seats yes / no Hut has chairs / bench?
R table yes / no Hut has table?
R woodstove yes / no Hut has woodstove?

Excellent tourism=alpine_hut tagging

Refugio d'Estós in Spain with hot water & showers, operated by Federación Aragonesa de Montañismo
Required Tags
key value description
R beds # Number of beds available to clients
R ele # Elevation
R fee yes Implied with alpine_hut but good to set anyways
R internet_access wlan / no Is there wifi?
R name * Name of alpine_hut
R opening_hours * Season of operation (eg May - Sep)
R operator * Name of operator
R operator:wikidata * Wikidata of operator
R payment:cards yes / no Are credit cards accepted as payment?
R payment:cash yes / no Is cash accepted as payment?
R phone * Phone Number
R reservation no Reservations not accepted
recommended Reservations recommended
required Reservation required
R shower yes / no Does hut have showers?
R website * Website
Optional Tags
key value description
O check_date * When information was last verified by survey
O email * Contact email address
O internet_access:fee yes / no If there is a fee for internet access
O name:* * Name of alpine_hut if it differs from name=*
O start_date YYYY Year hut was built
O wikidata * Wikidata ID
O wikipedia * Wikipedia article

Pyrenees Alpine Hut Networks

FEEC Alpine Hut Poster.jpg

Most of the alpine_hut's in the Pyrenees are operated by a few large organizations. Each of the alpine_hut's that are managed by these organizations should have the organization name tagged under operator=* as well as the corresponding operator:wikidata=*

Often times these operators have a reference number for each hut (as in the FEEC poster above). In this case, set the reference number as the value of the ref:* key which corresponds to the organization in the table below.

Pyrenees Alpine Hut Operators
country organization wikidata ref
Spain Federació d'Entitats Excursionistes de Catalunya Q11921686 ref:FEEC
Spain Federación Aragonesa de Montañismo none ref:FAM
France Fédération Française des Clubs Alpins et de Montagne Q795271 ref:FFCAM
Andorra Ministeri de Medi Ambient, Agricultura i Sostenibilitat d'Andorra Q65211284 ref

Unresolved Issues

Below is a list of tagging conundrums that remain unsolved and would be grateful for any community input on how best to handle.

Here I put forth my opinions and look forward to some discussion.

Usage of tourism=wilderness_hut vs amenity=shelter

Refugi Mont-Roig in Catalunya is an insulated hut with mattresses, pillows, blankets, table, chairs, first aid kit, SOS beacon, ...but no fireplace. The wiki says no, but anyone you ask in the Pyrenees and they will tell you... this is a wilderness_hut.

Human built structures providing shelter exist in many different forms around the Pyrenees. From a simple wooden roof to an ancient shepherd's hut, to free mountain huts built for tourists, to staffed refuges with showers and wifi, here you can find it all.

In the data, we make the distinction between three levels of shelters:

  • Less Amenities: amenity=shelter
  • Amenities: tourism=wilderness_hut
  • Most Amenities: tourism=alpine_hut

These tags and their values are detailed extensively in the wiki and explain quite well the differences, except for one thing. In the wiki article (in en/es/fr), it mentions ambiguously that a wilderness_hut is "with generally a fireplace" while also saying "fireplace or stove for cooking and heating" is required.

In the context of the Pyrenees, there are many wilderness_hut's which are very well equipped and insulated from the weather outside, but do not have fireplaces. We should explicitly qualify such structures as wilderness_hut.

Dealing with alpine_hut which have a wilderness_hut room open in winter

Refugi de Vallferrera in Catalunya is a guarded alpine_hut which is closed during the winter but part of the building (highlighted) stays open as a wilderness_hut during those months.

Many alpine_hut's which are guarded refuges in warmer months keep a small section of the hut open in winter in case of emergency. Usually the wilderness_hut section is only open while the alpine_hut section is closed.

Looking at the existing data for Pyrenees alpine_huts (see Appendix 2), around 16% of alpine_hut's have a winter_room tag which I assume to be the way to tag an alpine_hut as having one of these rooms.

This approach, however, is not ideal. In particular, the characteristics of the hut section open in summer are different than the part open in winter, and so they ought to be two separate elements in the database.

The better solution is to specify two elements, one alpine_hut and one wilderness_hut, and set the opening_hours=* to be the inverse of one another. opening_hours tag is widely used on mobile apps and will render a difference when a hut is closed or not.

What is the meaning of capacity?

How many hikers can you fit into this hut? Depends how many show up. At this wilderness_hut (Cabana de l'Estany Forcat in Andorra), there are 6 beds but 8 mattresses and you could surely fit 12 people if need be.

Depending on the circumstances, wilderness_hut's can often fit far more people than may have been originally intended. Being that hikers often bring a mattress and sleeping bag, any flat floor or table space can readily be converted to a place to sleep if need be.

So, for wilderness_hut's, capacity is not fixed; it is a range. How do we specify this range in OSM? We must have two tags, one which can specify the *intended* capacity, and one which specifies the *maximum* capacity

Two ideas:

  • (1) capacity=* and capacity:maximum=*
  • (2) beds=* and capacity=*

beds=* is already in use on 2% of wilderness_hut's while capacity=* is set on 59%. My preference is (1) as capacity=* is in use far more than beds=* and is supported by a number of data consumers.

Other Issues

What does stove=* mean?

59% of wilderness_hut's have a stove=* tag, but what does this mean? Does it mean the hut has a woodstove for heating? Or that it has a fireplace with a grill to cook over?

How to tag wilderness_hut's which are known to have no operator?

Many wilderness_hut's in the Pyrenees are not formally serviced or operated on. How to we specify this in the data? operator=no?

How to specify water source type for a shelter?

Sometimes it is a nearby body of water, running stream, or comes out of a pipe near the hut. drinking_water=yes & drinking_water:source=*?


All statistics in appendices are dated 2021-09-08

Appendix A: Top OSM Editors of tourism~wilderness_hut|alpine_hut in Pyrenees

"#" is the number of individual edits made to hut elements, not number of changesets

user # user # user # user # user #
Hervé TUC 438 sanchi 32 Jacopo Street Strada 15 mont1 12 Ones32 9
EliziR 138 Jose_3es 29 Toni Serra 14 janes 12 Hartz Beltza 8
mDav 81 caminaspe 28 Balaïtous 14 Alaia 12 airv 8
jabali 78 Chouloute 25 MickyCarbonell 14 Uranzu 11 toliao 8
Seraq 73 CalvinL 25 DGerveno 14 prezz 11 Vinber-Pro 7
petrovsk 59 Zweispitz 19 RedFox 14 gregoiredelattre 11 ramonz 7
fermi_t 50 jmaspons 18 b-jazz-bot 13 alejandroscf 10 pyrenours 7
GumerGP 47 Emilio Gomez 17 ManelG 13 pitort 10 2-wheels 7
dalop 42 Gil d'Asprer 16 orhygine 13 JFKimports 10 Juan Carlos G F 7
ansuta 36 jean-ray2 16 Emeric 13 Pankyo 9 Arestabrucs 7

Appendix B: Top 50 Tags

wilderness_hut alpine_hut
key # % key # %
tourism 470 100 tourism 209 100
name 432 92 name 200 96
building 350 74 building 131 63
fireplace 312 66 ele 130 62
ele 300 64 phone 122 58
website 293 62 website 120 57
capacity 278 59 capacity 84 40
stove 278 59 email 72 34
description 234 50 operator 69 33
source 184 39 wikidata 68 33
note 169 36 wikipedia 60 29
operator 53 11 source 44 21
description:fr 43 9 description 34 16
amenity 39 8 winter_room 34 16
fee 33 7 note 26 12
name:fr 32 7 beds 25 12
wikidata 32 7 fee 24 11
wikipedia 31 7 internet_access 23 11
alt_name 27 6 reservation 22 11
shelter_type 27 6 name:fr 20 10
ref 25 5 drinking_water 19 9
reservation 23 5 shower 19 9
operator:wikidata 22 5 addr:city 18 9
access 21 4 addr:postcode 18 9
drinking_water 19 4 name:ca 18 9
mattress 15 3 amenity 17 8
shower 15 3 description:fr 16 8
toilets 14 3 toilets 16 8
beds 11 2 name:es 15 7
name:ca 11 2 addr:street 13 6
name:es 10 2 access 8 4
building:levels 6 1 alt_name 7 3
phone 5 1 building:levels 6 3
addr:postcode 4 1 internet_access:fee 6 3
bench 4 1 mobile 6 3
bin 4 1 addr:housenumber 5 2
internet_access 4 1 opening_hours 5 2
name:eu 4 1 ref 5 2
wpt_symbol 4 1 shelter_type 5 2
addr:city 3 1 start_date 5 2
addr:street 3 1 operator:wikidata 4 2
email 3 1 payment:cash 4 2
roof:shape 3 1 shelter 4 2
type 3 1 name:en 3 1
alt_name:fr 2 0 restaurant 3 1
building:material 2 0 addr:housename 2 1
check_date 2 0 contact:website 2 1
description:es 2 0 electricity 2 1
opening_hours 2 0 elevation 2 1
roof:orientation 2 0 image 2 1