How do I map these roads?

Newbie questions again … sorry - I’m learning, I hope!

  1. When I map a cul-de-sac, I obviously map a single road into it. What should I do when I reach the end? In some cases it appears to split left and right, which is straight forward. In other cases, it simply ends with a round turning area, or even just a somewhat wider straight section. How should I map these types of road?

  2. I have today tracked a footpath that goes under a road. While I’ve seen talk of levels, I can’t see how to indicate in JOSM that the footpath and the road cross at different levels. What am I missing? How should I indicate this?

  3. Another part of this track is both a footpath and a cycleway. What’s the correct designation for this? Does “highway: cycleway” imply that it’s a footpath as well? If not, do I put “highway: cycleway, footpath” or something like that?

Finally, I’m also a bit concerned that I’ve been editing the map for the village of Old Basing, just east of Basingstoke, since last weekend, using JOSM. I appear to be doing the right thing, downloading the area, editing and then uploading. (At least when I download, my previous edits are still there!) However, nothing has appeared on the main map yet. Am I just too impatient? Or is there a problem with what I’m doing?

The basic sequence is essentially this:
a) load a GPS track into JOSM, and display the map overlay
b) pick the appropriate nodes and create them
c) join them with segments
d) select a set of segments that form a road
e) create a way
f) add 3 attributes - “created by: Tony Q”, “highway: residential” (they all have been so far) and “name: Hatch Lane” (or whatever)
g) upload the data

I hope these aren’t stupid questions. I just want to make sure that I’m doing the right thing and not wasting my effort.

Tony Q

  1. If the road splits then just start a new road for each (or only one new road, depending on a lot of things), an appropriate road type could be ‘unclassified’.
    a) I tag the node representing the round area as a mini_roundabout (see wiki:Map Features)
    b) When the width is considerably different you can add two ‘width=x’ tags. One for the narrow bit and one for the wide, units should be Metric.

  2. Split the road so you have a single segment above the foot way and tag is additionally with bridge = yes (the renderer will show the bridge icon (extra set lines parallel to the road). Also set the layer of the road to footpath+1, so if the footpath is on layer=0 (default) then add a tag to the single section of the road: layer=1.

  3. Normally you would tag that as highway=cycleway and perhaps add a foot=yes tag. I think the consensus is that you are allowed to walk on a cycleway in general. E.g. on a tertiary road cyclists are also allowed, but no one adds tags for that → these are ‘default amenities’.

  4. The standard map on uses Mapnik renderer. This renderer is updating the tiles only once a week. To see your changes almost instantly use You can request to have your tiles rendered (normally within 15 minutes) when you’re zoomed in to level 12.

Note: The created_by tag is overwritten by JOSM when uploading AFAIK. Your sequence of mapping is correct.

Thanks for the clarifications. It’s good to know that I’m on the right track :slight_smile:

  1. Just to add, the “layer=” that you set for a way can be anything from -5 to +5. “+” is default, so just adding “5” or “-5” is enough. The way with the higher number will render ontop.

In Germany you are not allowed to walk on a bycicle way. You may only do so, if the way is signed for both, pedestrians and bicycles.

Therefor I suggest to define either highway=footway, bicycle=yes (if the traffic sign shows the pedestrian above the bicycle, or if an extra sign says ‘bicycles free’)
highway=cycleway, bicycle=yes (if the traffic sign shows the bicycle above the pedestrian)

But I am not happy with the rendering result. The line is very meager, also if the footway is as broad as a residential way. It should be possible to separate a broad paved footway from a small muddy footpath. Outside of towns this can be achieved by highway=track, tracktype= grade1-5. But I think, this is not good practice inside towns.

Well, if those are the rules in Germany then that’s fine for those mapping there.

I hope the bicycle=yes is a type, otherwise it would be daft…

Which renderer do you refer to? Things like this are very subject to personal tastes, besides, the OSM renderes are not designed to show everything in proportion but are showcasing what OSM can do. You can try to get the paths rendered differently by requesting a change in the OSM TRAC site.

Please do not abuse tags to get ‘good’ rendering. According the the wiki a track is an access road to farm land or access road for firefighters etc. in a forest.

Hi Tony

I think you should use highway = turning_circle (on the end node) if there’s a round turning area.