Changing footway=both/right/left/none to sidewalk=both/right/left/none

Hi all,
today we have two options to map a sidewalk as additional tag to highway=*.
These are footway=both/right/left/none and sidewalk=both/right/left/none. Both keys means the same.

We have also an approved feature to use footway=sidewalk for** higway=footway**. See This is a little bit confusing.

I suggest to set footway=both/right/left/none deprecated and retag it to sidewalk=both/right/left/none. I can do some of this work with XAPI and JOSM.
The database will get clearer. The technique of tagging the sidewalks as additional tag is not involved, nor changed.

According to I start this discussion here.

Please state your opinion.


Hello, thank you for checking - I personally have no objection. Please allow plenty of time for others to respond also before proceeding.

I personally don’t object either.

However, presumably you’d only automatically changed ways which have a highway tag on them? Also presumably you wouldn’t be doing this immediately, as you’d wait until (a) mechanical imports were allowed again and (b) until human mappers have had a chance to patch up partially redacted ways?

Here’s the mechanical import suspension mail link:

If the language of OSM is British English then ‘sidewalk’ is incorrect and should be ‘pavement’.

OSM prefers British spelling, but imo should not necessarily prefer British terms if there are other factors to consider. In this case, “pavement” could be mistaken for one of the other, less common meanings of the word which are also related to construction and roads:

Not only are there very few existing uses of “pavement” as a key, but values like “asphalt” and “gravel” indicate that this confusion is actually taking place:

So “sidewalk” does appear to be less potentially confusing and maybe a bit easier to understand for non-native speakers. I’m not sure whether that’s a strong enough argument to go for the American term, but let’s face it - that decision has already been made: You cannot really replace a tag that has 114 000 uses with a tag that has 600 without very good reasons.

Looking at the number of times “both”, “left” and “right” have been used, I’m guessing that most of those 80k sidewalk=none are the result of imports rather than survey, so I’m not sure that the raw numbers are that helpful in this case.

The fact that, compared to other possible terms, sidewalk is unambiguous though, is.

I object based on the British/American language debate.

Why did people tag sidewalk=* ? Maybe they meant something different to the established tag of footway=*.

Change footway in America if you have to, but don’t go changing it in the UK or other countries. What’s the point of having a preferred language for tags if we go against it because some Americans can’t deal with another language. Many other non-British countries cope or use an editor with translations.

@LivingWithDragons defines ‘footway’ in British English: a path or track for pedestrians.

Why it is inevitable to use ‘footway’ to tag a path along the side of a road, normally separated from the vehicular section by a curb?
The tag ‘footway=*’ is meanwhile used also for other intents, such as ‘footway=sidewalk’.

IMHO we can also use ‘sidewalk=*’. It’s right that it is American English. But this term don’t implement any ambiguity with the definition.

Thanks for the comments.

I will start with the retagging of footway=both/right/left/none/yes to sidewalk=both/right/left/none/yes during the next week.

I will also change the value no to none.

This was not mentioned before and I do not support it. It would actually be much better to standardize on “no”. We had a vote that “yes” and “no” should be preferred over alternatives (like true/false, 1/0 or whatever) in all tags for consistency.

Of course you can use other values in addition to that (like -1 for oneway, or left/right/both for sidewalk), but “yes” and “no” should still be preferred over any aliases. “none” is such an alias.

That’s right. I read the wikipages to footway=* and sidewalk=* where I only found the values both/right/left/none. According to taginfo these are the mainly used values.

IMHO sidewalk=* is no boolean key, but I will leave the value no untouched.

What the hell?
I’m not agreed with such a procedure! On OSM, we have rules for massedits! Everyone should respect these rules!

Please revert this big massedits!

Hi all,
what’s the problem?

According to I started a discussion here four weeks ago.

I also created a wikipage on the same issue.

There is one objection from LivingWithDragons. This objection was answered and not renewed.

I made an anouncement to start the edit last week.

The plea from Tordanik will be respected.

The documentation will be done after the edit.

What else is to do?

There is just one link to your wikipage (from your own user-wiki-page): And this isn’t enough (how should anyone find this site?).

Your mass edits have not been sufficiently discussed (it isn’t enough here in this “Development-Forum”)… Edits on such a large scale must follow the “mechanical edits” guidelines. You cannot change tens of thousands of objects just because you personally think it is better.

When you write “mechanical edits guidelines”, do you mean “Mechanical Edit Policy” or something else? says:

I have done the first two points. You can find the wikipage in the category “Mechanical Edits”.

If I have choosen the wrong forum, please tell me the right one.

Yesterday about 700 persons have read this thread and no one told me that I was wrong. :frowning:

If you look at this calmly, you will notice that Rudolf has indeed made an effort to follow the rules.

A discussion on one of the English subforums did confirm to the Mechanical Edit Policy as of yesterday. In fact, “the international, English-language OSM Forum” was explicitly mentioned as one of the possible places to discuss these matters.

They see the username when the edit happens, and they can use that to search for the wiki page. This is why the rules require this particular style of naming the mechanical edit documentation pages. And because the wiki page doesn’t contain much information that wasn’t mentioned in this thread anyway, I don’t think it needed to be linked here (even though it wouldn’t have been a bad idea to do so anyway).

So generally, I believe that these edits did respect the rules. Of course, Richard Fairhurst changed the rules today - the first modification to the Mechanical Edit Policy in 8 months -, and now the rules require discussion on the tagging mailing list instead.