Is it fine to add a trail based on a relief map?

We have in Switzerland a precise relief map, where roads and trails are sometimes well visible.

I know it’s against the policy to add trails based on some external sources like Google maps.

However, is it allowed to add a trail using a relief map or an aerial map?

I’m wondering if the only way to map is by doing the trail by myself.

Here one example of a relief map:

Additional information: the relief map is available on the OSM editor.

My understanding from this post is that we are allowed to use all the layers provided by OSM to add a trail, even if I didn’t record it with a trace:

Therefore to answer my own question, I would say: it’s allowed as long as the layer us available on the OSM editor.

I hope it’s correct :slight_smile:

1 Like

Yes, and no. You can of course use SwissAlti3D relief map to draw paths, I even use it to re-align some. Under trees, this is sometimes the most accurate data available.
But no, you should not do it without being there: it’s amazing the number of historic path that can be seen this way but that have completely disappeared in reality (most often overgrown).


Thanks for the clarification.

That sounds good, indeed I’m only mapping when I’ve been there and hiked on the trail.

By the way, I’m wondering why not more people are using SwissAlti3d to align the tracks, since it’s very precise.


Because there is a lot of them :wink:


swissAlti3d currently has limited coverage in high resolution and there are areas that do not have alternatives either (for example the LIDAR data for the canton of Zürich). But lots of people totally use DTMs to align tracks etc.

PS: this should have likely been posted in the Swiss category.

My apologies for posting in the wrong category, I’ve added now the flag for Switzerland to reduce ambiguity.

No apology needed :wink:
The Switzerland category is rather new, I’ve now moved your topic here (as a moderator of the category).


I sometimes use the combination of SwissAlti3D overlaid with the Strava Heatmap (in JOSM) to align already mapped tracks and/or add new ones that are used and avoid adding impassable tracks.


In unseren Wäldern gibt es viele Strukturen, die wie Wege aussehen, aber keine sind. Ich benutze das Relief häufig, aber nur zum validieren des bekannten Weges

1 Like