Feature Proposal - Voting - highway=scramble

Very well said

Certainly also good enough, if rendering and routing must not be broken, even for a niche group of users.

I don’t see people being able and willing to scramble on a hiking tour in the mountains to be a niche of the people hiking in mountains. It is certainly not expected if you’re on a walking tour in the flatlands or hills, but for mountain areas and a path that has an according scale, the use of hands is not an impediment and somehow expected from T3 onwards https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:sac_scale

(T5 and T6 include climbing and are no continuous paths in osm anyway)

anyway, you got me convinced, I made up my mind from “better not change a working system” to “let’s be more cautious and have a main level distinction for scramble ways”

1 Like

I have added a section to the highway=path wiki page describing the current disputed usage of highway=path for scrambles.


Not to be obnoxious, just one remark: There are 20k *alpine paths, while there are 12½ million paths, that makes 0,17% (from exact numbers). What then is niche if not that? And this is the number to get used as a reference: Story of people sitting in a mid mountain restaurant hut, consulting the app on their mobile, that serves them fine in their urban environment, find a shorter path to the parking lot than the convenient walk up. One with several UIAA II scramble sections, fairly exposed and downwards at that. As one opponent lectured me, you do not do that without upfront research.

Ever more people rely on such aids alone. I have no doubt, that apps and services that cater for hikers will adapt. They even may use the extra information to improve on their guidance. May take a while. An approved stamp might have sped that up a bit. Adapting will be slightly more involved than colour-coding ways due to the micro-mapping that the proposal became during RfC. The majority of products, that select for path will have no reason to change anything.

Giving scramblers something in return for letting go of path, a new highway tag is the minimum :slight_smile:

1 Like

@Adamant1 & @eartrumpet, continuing here from the voting section. I find extended converstations on wiki pages quite difficult to participate in.

I’m open to the idea that not only is a scramble not a path, it is also not a highway so we should use a different key as well. What would you suggest @Adamant1? This is not the primary argument I’ve seen so far though. What I’ve seen is people saying “yes, scrambles are paths and we should continue to tag them as highway=path”.

Yes, highway=demanding_path has been suggested. I like that it is a separate primary tag from highway=path however this would be a much broader category than highway=scramble and seems much more subjective to me.

I disagree that a scramble is a kind of path. A path is something you can walk on, a scramble is not. Yes hiking trails and routes definitely contain scrambles. These parts of the trail/route are pathless. Yes highway=path has been used for scrambles for a long time, but that just means we’ve all been lying to the renderer for a long time :grinning:. I’m interested to learn more about the German “Steig” concept. I’m in favor of subdividing highway=path into more specific categories like this.

I agree, from reading the opposing reactions, I am fairly sure that any proposal to change both key and value would be opposed by an even higher proportion than the proposal to change the value alone. For example, objections based on ways disappearing from renderers would be even stronger, if anything, if these ways were moved out of the highway key.

So regardless of whether it is a good or bad idea, I can’t see how there is any possibility of it being approved.

As I wrote above, as long as hiking trails are part of the path definition (in the current wording), this includes every kind of hiking trail. And I think this one of the points where the problems start - hiking in the alpine definition is something different than hiking in hill areas, and also has cultural/historical implications. Best example is what in OSM is known as the SAC scale, which is by definition a hiking scale of Swiss alpine club; they have also other scales which aren’t hiking (e.g. mountaineering/high mountain, via ferrata, climbing). Yes, scramble is relatively well defined (especially in comparison to highway=path :-)), but IMO with the current definition of path a tag like scramble=* is enough. For a disruptive new highway tag a broader definition like the discussed highway=demanding_path/mountaineering/etc. would be more helpful to prevent dangerous situations. I know lots of people who have problems with T2/T3 hiking trails, and those would still be rendered like harmless walkways with highway=scramble in effect.

There’s not that much to read online, e.g. here:

In literally every map for mountain hiking there is a different rendering for “Steig” in comparison to footway, e.g. this:

Thanks for the Steig information. A hiking map distinguishing between Weg, Fußweg, and Steig seems very useful.

The highway=path wiki page does say:

This includes walking and hiking trails …

However, it doesn’t say anywhere that it includes every kind of hiking trail. The current wording can easily be interpreted to imply that some, but not necessarily all, hiking trails are included.

One thing is important : the vote is in any case a success in term of turnout. It’s great to see the community discussing such a topic with great arguments.

I hope there can be a better outcome out of this: this document a dispute and no solution. This is not looking very positive, and we could maybe do without trench war, can we?

1 Like

If scramble is not a highway=*, then perhaps route=scramble similar to route=ferry and route=piste?

1 Like

From a native (so never as much authoritative as Wikipedia): The only essential defining properties of a Steig are: It it is narrow and it is not paved. It need not be steep, eg. when it runs on the contour line. Steepness is at best a property of the terrain, Steige are in. Where I live, we have lots of steep terrain, almost all of the terrain here is steep.

The maintainers of hiking trails in Austria are to take care, that what has the map signature of a Steig is at least 10 or 12 inch wide, so walking is always comfortable.

I see one problem: If you’d ask me, how to translate Steig into Englisch, I’d answer with certainty, In English, its called a path.

It also doesn’t say anywhere that any kind of hiking trail is excluded. And if you’re new to OSM and have a closer look, there’s only highway=track, footway and path that are useful combinations with sac_scale, including all values which involve hands. So the use of hands is not contradictory to the current definition and usage of path; for me this proposal would have changed that, which is one of the main points.

That was covered early in RfC: It allows double tagging. The result will be a more complicated version of a scramble=yes attribute on highway=path.

If it was only for the people, that want to keep the highway key clean, the proposal would have been accepted. The proposal failed, because too big a number of people obviously are happy with what they can do with path and did defend their use of it.

The suggestion from one of the opponents, to bring hiking map producers on board, so transition can be without downtime might be a game changer, but unfortunately is beyond my capabilities to organise such a roll-out.

If the feature was wider, perhaps 1m or so, I would call it a “Weg” in German, or a “way” in English. Most of what is mapped as a path in openstreetmap, we here call “Weg”, like Gehweg/footway, Radweg/cycleway, Reitweg/bridleway. Perhaps. our use of terms is not much different from English, with the notable exception of path, of course. The picture on the OSM Wiki for path does not show a Steig.

Nor does it show a “Pfad”. If you ask me, it shows a way. I rarely use Pfad/path, but when I do, only where the terrain is not steep. Maybe that is the reason, why I use it rarely.

Indeed it does not. All that is clear is that some hiking trails are included.

I am not :slightly_smiling_face:

The difference I see is that the approval of highway=path + scramble=yes would be a clear statement that scrambles should be included within highway=path. Although an approval of route=scramble would allow for dual tagging with highway=path it could be made clear that this is considered an incorrect combination (at least eventually). However, a proposal tolerating such dual tagging during a transition period might gain more more support, as it would give data consumers time to adapt.

I can follow this thought. Going through though, I can only see a mechanical edit to heal the double tagging, perhaps disguised as an editor validator suggestion, to make it less obvious.

The main use of route=* is to refine relations type=route. Something else would IMO attract valid concerns.

There’s always the possibility to draw ways without tags and make them member of a hiking relation, but some may find it cumbersome.

Also creating double tagging with the view to solve it with a mechanical edit later is close to evil :japanese_ogre: :grinning:

1 Like