Mapping Mountainbike Features

Hi all,

In recent months there has been extensive work to add off road information to OSM in Israel.
Some of the areas are very well mapped. e.g. Ben Shemen.
Good for us! :slight_smile:

We’ve also started tagging singles.

I’d like to refer to the Mountainbike wiki page.
It has lots of information on how to map MTB features.

One of the tags they propose there is the “mtb:name” tag.
From its description:
Sometimes trails have names that are only used by mountainbikers and not official. Use name:mtb to specify them. This is not Key:loc_name

That is a good tag to use if the way has an official name.
But I would suggest that when there’s no official name, then we could use the “name” tag for the mtb name.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have both the “name” and “mtb:name” tags… :slight_smile:

And as always, whenever the name is in Hebrew, there should be a “name:en” tag (and the optional “name:he” tag)
And of course “mtb:name:en” and “mtb:name:he”! :slight_smile:



Hi all,

Not sure I follow your suggestion - the wiki suggests to use mtb:name for unofficial names, such that are used only by mountainbikers. Do you suggest to use the ‘name’ tag for unofficial names? Or did I misunderstand you?

I think that many Israeli members are active MTB-ers (no other explanation to the huge coverage of MTB tracks in Israel). I’d like to suggest some active additions to the Mountainbike wiki page, with relevant information that OSM can proudly host. I am looking for new tags to define the following:

  1. Entry point to a single. These can be later used as POIs on navigation devices, very useful when riding in new areas.
  2. Drops along singles, with height, difficulty, chicken line (if present, on which side) and such. Again, these are node tags for a specific ‘drop’ or other obstacles along a single.

I’m asking other MTB-ers to join the discussion of what needs to be tagged, before we dive into discussing the how of tagging.


I suggested that if a path has no official name, then the known (by MTB’ers) name should be used.
e.g. a path known as the Romani Single, has no official name, so this can be used as the way’s name.

It’s also because there are MANY free off road tracks published in the internet.
And I would guess that it’s a good way to attract new mappers… :wink:

I can guess that in some places OSM is just as good as any other (commercially available) source.
OSM is unique in the way that you can ride in a newly opened way, go home, map it, and it’s instantly available for everybody when they get a new map.
No commercial product can offer this!

This may be true in specific singles.
In most cases, if a single crosses a track, then it should be cut into smaller parts.
If a single is oneway=true then it should be tagged as such.

And finally, the Mountainbike wiki page linked above covers this. Search the word “trailhead” there.

Mostly covered there. See “Basic Tags related to Mtbiking”

While you’re at it, ask them to be active OSM mappers! :wink:


But should this name be under a ‘name’ tag, or ‘mtb:name’ tag? How are the two rendered (Mapnik, opencyclemap)? Will it be possible to search for ‘mtb:name’ as well as ‘name’?

Not sure a single can be ‘oneway=true’, as this tag has more of a legal meaning than a technical one. Some singles are harder to climb than others, but they can still be climbed.

Didn’t find a ‘trailhead’ tag on the wiki, but some trails over the world have ‘highway=trailhead’ at the starting node of a trail. I am looking for a node tag, not a way tag.

Again, I am looking for node tags. This is a high level of resolution, but after seeing individual trees marked in main parks in Germany, I think this may be used too. “Basic Tags related to Mtbiking” covers way tags for the track/path.

I suggest to use the “name” tag, and use the “mtb:name” tag when there’s a different (official) name.
Mapnik uses the “name” tag.
AFAIK, OpenCycleMap uses the name tag as well.

btw, it sould be helpful to contact OpenMtbMap and ask them to produce a map for Israel as well.
I hope it would boost use among Israeli Garmin users…

Some singles are oneway.
Of course, the same path can be used both up and down, pending gear choice and rider strength… :wink:

It’s on the section called “Relevant proposals that can accompany mtb tagged trails”, I believe this is what you’re looking for.

Oh, ok. I see what you mean. A “drop” in the MTB context.
That would be hard to tag on a node. You’ll need to tag the direction of the drop, and that’s tricky on a node.

Maybe you could use a small natural=cliff way crossing the single?

In any case, I suggest taking these question to a larger audience.
e.g. the Mountainbike wiki, or is discussion page.


Both Sport tracker and Sporttracks which i use on a regular base use mapnik and cyclemap. if i’m correct both don’t show mtb:name names on the actual map.

i agree with talkat that mtb:name should be used only if another name exists for a certain path.

Another MTB related subject.

should mtb singles be tagged as bicycle:yes or bicycle:designated?

tagging them bicycle:designated seems to gives them a good emphasis in mapnik which is good for real time trail navigation.

yet another post. I’ve started to map and organize misgav forest singles based on peer generated data. however i do not know the correct MTB scale for each single as i didn’t ride them all. anyone who knows a single and can rate it is welcome to contribute…

From the Key:access wiki:

access=yes The public has an official, legally-enshrined right of access, i.e. it’s a right of way.

access=designated The way is a preferred/designated route for a specific vehicle type or types (by law or otherwise) but not compulsory, often marked by a traffic sign.

If it’s a specifically marked bicycle way then it should be tagged bicycle=designated
If others can move on that way (e.g. hike, 4x4, etc.) then it should be tagged bicycle=yes

The fact that “bicycle:designated get a good emphasis in mapnik” is because in essence, bicycle=designated is the same as highway=cycleway


This should be posted in relevant (read: out of OSM) forums.
e.g. Tapuz (various forums and communes), velik, etc.

That way, OSM would get publicized, and hopefully, new mappers would join and add new features.


I looked at the site, see FAQ
Is there a ‘geofabrik’ for Israel? I’m not sure what they mean.

Still not it - from my narrow knowledge, there is no ‘tourism=information’ or ‘information=map/guidepost’ at a head of a single. I’d like to propose ‘highway=trailhead’ for this purpose. There are only 34 tags like this world-wide right now, this is not common yet. I saw even lesser use of ‘access=trailhead’ and ‘amenity=trailhead’, but I think they go against the purpose of their keys.

Right - I didn’t think of direction at first. Is there another key (other than ‘oneway’) that can imply the direction in which a single is down-wards? Then one can place something like ‘mtb:drop’ and ‘mtb:step’ keys on nodes, or similar.

Hmmm… Found the discussion page, not sure on the right way to post there. Can you help?

geofabrik prepare osm data files per region.
They produce data files for all the continents, but not for every country.
openmtbmap doesn’t want the hassle of “cutting” the data per country.

There is a (supposedly) weekly service that does prepare data files per each country, it’s CloudMade.
btw, CloudMade is a good place to introduce people to the benefits of OSM. They prepare a file (gmapsupp.img) ready to install on Garmin units.

There are several options, probably more:

  1. Contact GeoFabrik and ask them to prepare a file for Israel on a regular basis, and then ask openmtbmap to produce a map for Israel.

  2. Contact openmtbmap and ask them to use the Israel data from CloudMade.

I’m not sure you need a trailhead at each single endpoint.
Just like named streets in a town aren’t tagged at the beginning and end.

If someone wants to travel on a named single, they look it up, and tell their gps to route to it.
Just like you’d do when you want to reach an address in a city.

You need to create a wiki user, and simply edit that page, adding a section with a heading and text, and preferably signing with your username.


I tried the second one, let’s see how it goes.

Looking up a single by its name will not tell you where it starts, and you might end up making your way to the wrong end. It is also useful to export entry points to singles as POIs for Garmin navigators or similar, where the concept of routing is more loose.

I do agree this is similar to reaching an address in a city. Just as streets have numbers along them, a single has one or more entry points (if the single is ‘broken’ into parts, accessible by other routes). Can we use relations for this, and tie a few POIs as entry points to a specific single? The word ‘trailhead’ doesn’t seem to fit now, as it is unique per trail/single. Not sure I am familiar enough with the ‘relation’ concept…

When you tell your gps to navigate to a street with no house number (or a single, which obviously doesn’t have house numbers), then the gps will navigate you to the middle of the way.

Now, if you want the single to have only one trailhead (i.e. people should ride it in only one direction), then tag it as oneway=yes, and the gps will navigate you from the right direction.
If you want the single to have 2 trailheads (i.e., it isn’t oneway) then don’t add the “oneway” tag, and let the gps navigate you.
If you want to reach a specific intersection, tell the gps you want to go to that node.

Relations are a great way to create one long(ish) way from several smaller ones.
We have several such relations (usually hiking trails, also bus routes in Jerusalem) already.

Personally, I’m not sure it’s the best way to have several sections of a Single combined into a long Single route with relation.
I believe that sections should be there for a reason, and that maybe in the future, each section would get its own name.

Think of long streets in a city, they sometimes change name in intersections.
They started as one long street with one name, and as time went by, it was split into several shorter sections with different names.

And a relation is used to combine several (sometimes lots) of small sections into one long route.
Sometimes the same section belongs to more than one relation.
e.g. Yam2YM and Israel National Trail. They share a lot of sections between Tel Aviv and Ben Shemen.


i would argue that mtb singles, having been built for bicycle use are bicycle=designated :slight_smile:

This is true for routing navigation software, which I use when driving my car. On a bike, navigation is different - I have a statically rendered map (trails and POIs), and I navigate by my position only. There is no indication like ‘turn left in 200m’. The best case is ‘you are X away from the waypoint you are trying to get to, in this general direction (shown by an arrow)’. This is what I meant when I said that “the concept of routing is more loose” when riding a bike, hiking, etc. And this is why having a POI indicating the ‘right end’ of a single is helpful.

The entry point to a single is, in my opinion:

  1. An easily accessible point on the single by nearby singles / tracks.
  2. A point from where I can ride along the single in a generally downward direction

Thus, a single can have a few ‘entry points’, even if it can be climbed in the ‘opposite’ direction. So, oneway=yes does not seem fitting…

I was thinking more about relation between a set of POIs and a single, not a relation between parts of a single.

For simplicity let’s look at Garmin. It has 2 models of navigating:

  1. Follow a route, or Follow Road. (you can follow a route in off-road mode, but then it’s like following a track as in model 2 below)
  2. Follow a track, or Don’t Follow Road, or as the craw flies.

Each model has its advantages and drawbacks.

If you use routing (follow-road) then the gps will navigate you like an on-road car gps will, telling you “turn right in 50 meters”, “bear left”, etc. until you reach your destination.

If you use a track (off-road, or as the craw flies) then all discussion is irrelevant, and you have to prepare the track yourself beforehand.
If you are in some place, and you want the gps to take you to another location in off-road mode, then it will tell you the bearings, and that’s it, but that’s not why you bought a gps with routing capabilities, is it?..

Ok, fair enough.
Then why not use highway=trailhead, and when some other proposal was voted into the standard, just go over all these nodes, and replace them with the standard.
That shouldn’t be a problem for anyone with basic scripting capabilities.

You’ll need to add highway=trailhead to your style file, and typ file (if you use any)

p.s. Sometimes I prefer to ride my bike in a generally upward direction.
Although, I do admit that riding downward is a little easier, and can be fun in high speed… :slight_smile:


You caught me here - I don’t use a Garmin device… My experience is second hand here, but I know that many people use navigators in off-road mode, and still would like to get the benefit of OSM.

Added a discussion on the wiki page, let’s see how that goes.

My first time here.
Can I use data from here to map bike trails in Yaar-HaMeginim?

Yes, but that will be like giving him a fish.
If you want to teach him how to catch a fish and cook the fish and have lunch every day,
then it would be best to contact that user, and ask him to upload their gps tracks to OSM as well.
(Best would be if he could also edit them, and he would know best which part is a track, and which is a path)

I know him, and there’s a good chance he would agree, especially if you would tell him about the velik map that is updated on a daily basis.
His contact details are easy to find. Just follow the links to his gpsies user, then twitter, then blog, and from there you can send him a private message in Tapuz… :slight_smile: