Need help on what type of a road (or path) is? (Key issue)

[First a forum question!] I wanted to past in a screen shot and say “what is this” but cannot see how to do it. Is it possible? I got the tags to go in, but it will not accept the paste of an image between the IMG tags. Is it possible to show a screen shot in the forum to better explain my question? If so please let me know how.

So now… the actual question is: there is a type of “double-dash” or “broken dashes with breadth” shown quite frequently on the map I am looking at in Think of it as what you would see with a series of hypen characters and below them a series of underscore characters (see, it is very hard to describe this without a screen shot!). As i understand it, the map is based on OpenStreet, with OpenCycle enhancements. I looked on the Open Cycle Key and no such marking is shown ( I looked on the OpenStreet Key ( and it says “tunnel”. It is similar to “railroad” but it is not railroad (alternating spaces between the dashes are not shaded like ‘railroad’). But, these are definitely not tunnels. they are quite frequent, all over the place. (If you want to try to see it, look for Fall City, WA, and then look about a half mile NE and there is a whole network of them all over the place, if you zoom in pretty far). There is often a blue dash line (cyclepath) and then that line ends and it changes to this type of “double-dash” line.

Questions - Is there a better key than the links i provided? Can anyone tell me what those paths/trails in that symbol are?


At this moment, you have to upload the image to another website and use a link to that image with the img-tag

You mean e.g. ?
With the tags highway=track, foot=permissive ?

Thanks for the responses, escada!

On the IMG tag…would be a pretty practical feature when what is being discussed is “Maps” to be able to paste a screen shot. All you developers…can you add it?! A workaround approach might be to provide a dummy web site where we could upload images and a button to make it easy to do. My question is indeed very hard to even ask without being able to “see it”. If i could paste the image with exactly what i’m talking about highlighted…the question itself becomes more accurate and therefore so do the answers.

On the map - first of all, can you tell me what the definition of “Track” is? Really, my issue is that i want to plan a bike ride. I use and OpenCycleMap to do the route planning. I see some segments, portrayed as I described, that connect two roads i want to use. So, i want to figure out if i can get my bike through on that track/path/item/whatever you want to call it. So, i am not sure if your answer refers to what i was asking about. And, secondly i wonder what a “track” really means.

Your link does not show the items i am talking about (tho the geography is exactly the correct spot). So, this item must be in another layer I am guessing; presumably OpenCycle. But, their key does not show it. Here’s what i’m looking at You might need an account to see it (free).

Overall i would make a suggestion to OpenStreetMap/Cycle to have “better keys”. The only key i find calls this a “tunnel” which it is not. Not sure how to “drill down” to see the tag level. Is it something a non-expert (“just a map user”) can do without training?

Thanks much for the time for the response, tho. I appreciate it!

The cycle map is a loss leader from a third party, commercial, map server provider that is used as an example of what can be done with OpenStreetMap. It is therefore, not under the control of OSM.

A track in OSM is defined in, quoting:

In the case of public maps, rather than using an image, it is normally better to give a URI for the map itself, or ideally the feature in question. The URI for the feature itself will tell you the tags, so would have answered your initial question.

Unfortunately, as you have not contributed to the map, it isn’t possible to work out the specific feature you are referring to based on your mapping history, and I’m not sure of a good place to find an example of track, however, to get a link to a feature, you can either enable “Map Data” on the layers menu, or use the ? button and then select the exact features from the left hand panel. For just a basic map, you can copy the URL from the title bar. There is also a tool for getting a URL with a position marker.

Regarding drilling down, the intended use of the maps on is to help mappers, who would be expected to want to drll down. As I said, OpenCycleMap is provided, there as an example. On it is, presumably, an end user map, but is not maintained by OSM.

As to images, it is not normal for forums to allow images on the actual forum. That will be partly because of the amount of disk space and network bandwidth they consume, but also because they are particularly prone to abuse and may need to be taken down extremely rapidly because their contents is illegal for the site operator to possess.

I think it is a misunderstanding that all contributors to OpenStreetMap, or people using the forum are programmers.
Many people are interested in OpenStreetMap because they use or like maps.

I presume you are refering to something like this: Blue lines on side of roads as a casing are in-carriageway cycle lanes. In some cases there is also a parallel cycleway and the two clash at smaller scales giving rise to an apparent dashed casing.

Thanks for all the help, explanation, and thoughts.

I now have a URL i can post that i believe gives the same view i am seeing.

So, does anybody know what all those “double-dashed” ‘tracks’ that are NE of Fall City, WA, are?

Based on the openstreet map key, they look somewhat similar to the key item that is “tunnel” but not quite an exact match. (They are definitely not tunnels, though).

There is no match to this “double-dashed” track on the opencycle map key.

So, any ideas? Or best to just consider it a “track” as per the definition given previously. In other words, can’t really count on what you’ll find by looking at the map…would need to cycle out there to investigate to find out what it is.

Or, is there another key i should be looking at? (now using and

Thanks again for all the comments!

In the absence of a complete key, what you can do is have a look at the underlying data. If you go to OpenStreetMap in that area - - you can use the “question mark” at the right to click on things on the map. One of them is . I think in this case it’s just “a track”.

There really isn’t any ambiguity. They’ve been tagged as “track”, which has a specific definition in OSM as previously mentioned. In this part of the world - and assuming that the mappers have chosen an accurate tag - these are most likely to be unpaved logging roads.