Maine: ITS Snowmobile Routes

In Maine, we have quite a few snowmobile trails. To sum up really quickly, there are basically two types: local trails and a quasi-publicly owned/operated/maintained system called the Interconnected Trail System.

Disclaimer: First of all, I don’t know anything about snowmobiles, and secondly I’ll bet that someone will chime in and tell me that the ITS isn’t public (like a regular street) because they cross private lands, private snowmobile clubs groom them, and so on. THAT is a highly nuanced discussion that might be best debated elsewhere. The State of Maine does have some relationship to the ITS unlike many other trails, and more information can be found here if you would like to know more about it.

Here in Millinocket, someone previously coded the ITS thus:

Highway: “Track”
Name: “ITS 86” (the number can, of course, vary)
Access: “Permissive” (for all)
Key: Snowmobile: “Designated”

Other codes, names, and designations may apply as appropriate. This is the prevailing local standard.


There are a few fundamental issues that I’d like to discuss/straighten out:

1) Should these routes be classified as “Tracks?” Although seasonal, these routes are well maintained during the winter, and one could even argue that many are well maintained during the other months for other uses such as ATV and other recreational routes. Are these more akin to paths? Is there a standard used elsewhere (say, in Sweden, for instance or Alaska, New Hampshire, Wyoming?) that the entire geographic region adheres to?

2) Should these be Named as “ITS 86” given that sometimes the ITS route is also coincident with other routes? (Routes such as the Katahdin Regional Multi-Use Trail or let’s say ITS 85 AND ITS 86. KRMUT, to me, would be the “Name,” for instance)

3) Because the ITS is an official network (State-designated), should the various pieces-parts be amalgamated into a “Route” much like our interstate highways, state routes, and so on? In this question (3), I use “Route” to mean the OSM designation of Relation: Route

I suppose that I could look up lots of snowmobile routes in other places, but that seems like a lot of work since I don’t know where specifically people ride their “sleds” (What we call 'em in Maine). It seems cool if we could get little shields to pop up on the ITS just like they do on a state route…maybe there’s a way to do that? and maybe a way to indicate that there is a hierarchy of such trails? What do other OSM editors in Maine think? What have editors done elsewhere?



I think it is a reference, not a name.

Path doesn’t sound right.

I agree: the current standard of using the Name field isn’t the best way of doing this. But why use a Reference? Those are not standardized in any fashion; will such notation appear on the map? When traveling in the field, the ITS routes DO have signs indicating “you’re on this way!” and “This route turns left here!”

If “Path” doesn’t sound right, what is a better category?

It does sound like it should be on a route, not a way, but it looks to be a serial number, rather than name. My local cycle route actually has the type and number as a name and the number as a ref.

I took a few minutes last night to look over some other snowmobile routes. In Sweden, where the Key: Snowmobile tag originated (or so it seems!), they use “Tracks” in the area around Kiruna. I did find that they were tagged as “Paths” in Finland, but perhaps this is a minor issue…I think it best to leave them as “tracks” until something better comes along.

Hadw: What do you mean by “serial number?” In a strict sense, that term does not seem to apply…but what state regarding the cycle routes makes sense. Here in Maine, we have official posted cycling routes (state posted, with signs!), so perhaps that would be a good precedent to follow. Where are the cycle routes that you mention?


For example the name I referred to is LCN 45, and the ref is 45. There will be a 44 and a 46. The numbers have no magical relationship to the geography of which I am aware.