Milestones are public domain but not in OpenStreetMap

Hello dutch openstreetmap community,

I found that the milestones of the motorways in the netherlands are available to the public domain (licence: CC-0) [1] but are not mapped in OpenStreetMap. To encourage mapping, I made a small gamified version of a hectometerborden-Map for the netherlands [2] (takes a while to load the data, be patient).

My question is: As there are currently almost no milestones mapped in the Netherlands: Would an import be easier or are there any objections to such an import?

Greetings from Germany


This is a cross posting that I also put on the mailing list but as it’s not very frequented I decided to post is here aswell

There was a small typo (missing final dash) in that URL, this is correct:–punten-

Thanks, I corrected it in the original posting.

Moin dktue, I would not advice you to make an import of it, even if its available. There is to much difference between the theoretical list and the practical use of the markers outside. They tend to walk if damaged and one could be 20 m out of line.
The time they were used to mark a spot or way are behind us since GPS has been available, it is just a marker so that some one who wants to point were an emergency is, it is good enough to say N206 6.3 or Rijksweg A4 32.9 Li. The emergency services than have enough information to reach you and then it is not important if it is 20 m to the start or the end of the road.

That’s exactly the use case: More and more emergency services start using OpenStreetMap and that’s where of course it’s an advantage to have it all in one dataset, namely OpenStreetMap.

So why not import it?

As stated before, the import is not good enough, go out and survey, just to get more quality into OSM. Everybody could import it onto a map. But survey takes more worktime, with reliable results.
So don’t import it.

There are currently 162 highway=milestone tags in the Netherlands:, I do not see this being completed by hand.

I am not sure how reliable the data of Rijkwswaterstaat is, would be good to do a limited test, but if the data is good, I see no problems with an import an sich.

Just like the AND data, 3dShapes, BAGimport, etc. I think it can improve the usefulness of the data.

Once imported, what happens then? Hands-up for cleaning up and maintenance of hectometershield data on all roads.

This is doomed to fail unless the people who use it perform the maintenance of this dataset in OSM. If it’s aimed at emergency handling, the emergency people or providers of emergency applications would have to maintain the dataset.

When we have to glue the milestones to the road…that will be a heck of a job.

Send location to the emergency control room. Consent to locate mobile phone. => geolocation.
Use OSM as background and for navigation / routing instructions to the pinpointed geolocation.

I have a principle objection against having safety critical information in OSM itself; information that everybody, willfully or unintentionally can change or damage. These services can use OSM as background and have their own layer, on their own server, over it.

This apart from my personal preference that I do not appreciate too see all hydrants, lampposts, milestones (kilometermarkers by the way here), electrical cabinets, emergency accesses in OSM.

I have a few questions about a possible import of these hectometer signs / ‘milestones’:

  • How accurate is the location of the signs? I think the best location to put these in OSM is at the exact location of the sign, next to the road. Would this import lead to a lot of signs spread over the roadway or would they be exactly on the location of the sign (e.g. accuracy of 25 cm).
  • How would you translate the information on the signs to OSM tags? They usually contain a distance in km with 1 decimal accuracy, a road number and a carriageway reference (Li, Re, or a letter).

The traffic sign code of a hectometer sign is BB07, so I think the tag traffic_sign=NL:BB07 should be added to the hectometer signs.

I would like to add to the people saying; survey it.
It’s practically impossible in my view to survey these signs with any degree of accuracy. The problem is that you can’t get close to them, and if you try anyway you’ll have Rijkswaterstaat stopping on the shoulder in no time asking what on earth you are doing!
Maybe with the new 7,5 cm aerial imagery combined with very high quality rapid automatically taken photographs from a car you could do it, but it would be a massive job.
So I think, either import them or don’t add them at all.

How’s this handled in other countries? Dktue, do you have any insight there? From Germany and/or elsewhere?

Hectometer signs is not something I’ll survey, neither am I missing them. But I can imagine use cases, so I wouldn’t mind a well-executed import.

Just wondering, is there a layer that shows the milestones?

Can anybody explain why we even would like to have these markers at an accuracy of 25 cm, when even possible? Emergency services do not need that at all.

Do not only ask yourself the question what is possible, but think about the added value. Hectometermarkers is imho too farfetched.

We have talks with the emergency people of different safety regions (Veiligheidsregio’s) about using OSM for emergency handling. We have asked them what is important. None of them have mentioned milestones.

The Roadside Assistance (Wegenwacht, “triple A”, Pannenhilfe) might have use for it, but if that is the case, they should at the same time build it into their applications and organize the maintenance and quality assurance of the data. My guess is they already use an application of their own, showing a layer with “official” data on top of a background map which might even be OSM. Probably only whole kilometers, not hectometers.
Callers don’t need them because they are on the road and can see them live.

I think this use case is very weak. That said, there are a lot of those in OSM: no use case, but it’s a visible thing, so it can be mapped. If anyone thinks it’s important* and makes work of it, fine, map it, import it with the usual doc / prep / check, maintain it. Provided that the geolocation data is accurate enough, so we don’t get milestones all over the roadway. If that happens (not incidental but structural), I say revert and clean up the data before retry.

  • I micromap underground waste containers. No use case at all, I just do it. My quirk.

I’ve been accused that removing a non-used road (i.e. tags connected by a line) would cause too much server load:
Please never use this excuse again, if someone decides that importing milestones would be a great idea.

In the german Bundesland Thüringen mappers did the effort and mapped all milestones with Mapillary (Overpass for all Milestones in Thüringen, Example for one milestone).

Hi dktue, I don’t get it, it looks like the Dutch community has any appetite to take the task you’re carrying and advertising.
Even adding the use of Mapillary is not a well thought option since there are less and less users over here, even the hardest fans of the system are leaving it behind. Since the buy out of idealism has brought another captain to serve Mapillary.