Cycle use case with OSM tagging – Paid work by Buskerudbyen

(English as I will get help from Leonard Ehrenfried.)

I work for Buskerudbyen. Our goal is to get more people to use public transport, bike and walk more. It is a formal co-operation between Jernbanedirektoratet, Statens vegvesen, Viken and the municipalities of Lier, Drammen, Øvre Eiker and Kongsberg. Currently we are planning construction of cycle infrastructure to fill in gaps, to then in total make more connected and safe cycle infrastructure.

As part of the groundwork for the plans, we want to show, in a simplified manner, where and how we plan to build and make connections on a map. First and foremost to show to politicians and other decision makers, but also to the public, and get them all aboard and support the plans.

The maps will be shown in presentations, flyers and, of course, on the web. In order to accommodate all this, we have up until now used a wide variety of maps, and way to often manually added lines on top of the maps in paint programs or even word processing tools. All this to make it quickly, but it does not make them nice to look at and - more importantly - very hard to change.

We plan now to add a tag(s) to roads Buskerudbyen plan to improve and add the same - or a similar tag(s) - to cycle infrastructure that is already there on both sides. Together, that makes up all the new and connected, safe cycle infrastructure. In that way we can make a map that shows these routes, are easy to change and can be shown to everyone in any format. As an added bonus, we will look into automatically calculate the total number of km of connected cycle infrastructure.

Any comments or suggestions on this project are welcome?! (We have looked into e.g. We will post updates here as well.

As an example on how we do not want it to look: Hand drawn (in yellow) trace of planned connected cycle infrastructure on map of Svelvik, Drammen, on top of CyclOSM: (Sorry, did not get the img tag to work in here.)

The use of highway=proposed is debated. Some users would like the formal planning process to have advanced to a certain firm stage before it is used, for example “vedtatt reguleringsplan”. Otherwise there could easily be many proposals floating around with an uncertain status, many of which are later forgotten and never maintained or deleted. And the highway=proposed ways are often not rendered on maps. A solution could be for you to record proposals in a separate layer in JOSM and store it in a local file rather than uploading to OSM.

Your contributions to OSM on mapping existing biking ways are of course most welcome. As an organized mapping initiative, I believe you are expected to create a wiki page such as this one:

The focus of your mapping, plus any specific mapping or tagging conventions should be documented on that page, so that other users can recognize any special needs you might have in terms of mapping (I hope Entur will do so too …).


thanks for the quick response and thanks for pointing out pitfalls and conventions.

I’m a software developer specialising in GIS applications and have been helping Buskerudbyen with their mapping needs.

About proposed cycleways not being rendered: this is actually what we want.

We want to build a separate visualisation layer on top of a regular base map. For that I would like to add the infrastructure to OSM and then extract regularly from a PBF download or just plain overpass turbo (if we don’t run into rate limits, which I suspect we will).

Since the plans are from a (somewhat) official source, do you think they meet the “firm stage” requirement?

I think I agree with NKA here. I would probably add even less “proposed” data to OSM because there is no reason to believe they will be realised. I think you should maintain a local map data file which you feed into your own map tile generation. That way you can do whatever you like with your data and it will allow you to make your visualisations much better while at the same time not annoy the OSM community with unsubstantiated data.

NKA: We are rebuilding the WayPropertySets so, I suppose after that we can add some special needs to the wiki.

Thanks for chiming in, Johann. The last thing we want to do is to annoy the OSM community and that’s why we are here trying to foresee conflicts and coming up with solutions.

Would it alleviate your fears of us putting low quality, unverifiable data into OSM if we told you that there is official documentation about the ways we want to tag?

How much (proportion) of this plan will involve adding som sort of “proposed” tag to an existing highway in OSM, and how much will involve mapping a new way (where a road or cycleway does not currently exist in real life) with a highway=proposed tag?

And which tag would you use for the existing highways, where the highway=proposed tag cannot be used?

For our first test we don’t want to add any new ways just add tag(s) to existing ones.

We were thinking of creating a tag in the ref:NO:buskerudbyen namespace. What do you think of this idea?

In actual fact we can reduce our tagging to just this single tag ref:NO:buskerudbyen, document it in the wiki and then reference anything else back to our internal planning tools so as to not add any unneeded internal information to OSM.

In the changesets we would set the appropriate source tags and link to the planning documents which we have copied to the OSM wiki

On top of this we’d use a separate user which makes monitoring and critiquing easier.

I’ve now documented our plan in the wiki:

I think adding an extra tag to existing highways is ok. It is the extensive mapping of separate proposed ways which is debated, if they never materialize. Strictly speaking, the proposed values are not a ref (a unique reference), so perhaps “buskerudbyen:cycleway”=* is a better key, similar to the tiger namespace. The country prefix is rarely used.

You may want to refine the proposed values to make them even more intuitive. That way random user could more easily understand what is going on. Also, you may want to use either Norwegian (which is fine) or English values, but not a mix.

Thanks for all good feedback here. I have updated Please comment or revise.

Seems intuitive. You may want to delete the ref key entry for buskerudbyen in the wiki and create a “buskerudbyen” or “buskerudbyen:cycleway” key entry instead, to enable automatic lookup for users.

That’s a really good point. NKA. I’ve updated the wiki page you mentioned:

( now redirects to that one)

Do you know how quickly a link for a new key is added to the feature viewer on

It is working from JOSM and in taginfo already. I do not think such a tag will be implemented in iD (