Network=lwn VS. rwn


I’m trying to map a hiking route but I’m on the fence whether I should tag it as lwn or rwn?

What is the criterion?

For example, this hiking route extends throughout one municipality for the most part, but parts of it also cross a few other other municipalities. Total length is cca. 90 km.

Would this already qualify as a regional route?

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I wouldn’t worry too much - it’s easy to edit later if you change your mind. I’d have a look in “Waymarked Trails” and see how similar trails around you and in neighbouring countries have been tagged.


Let’s say there are 1000 trails operated by the same local (one province) hiking association. The medium length is 6km, normal length 500m (connectors) to 14km, but as it is in the mountains, it may take you a day to ascend and return. You can usually do all of their routes in one day, besides 3, which are numbered in the same system and the same markers as the others, but are slightly longer, 44km, 64km and 74km, and one or two cross a provincial border. Should they be “regional”? Or are they still of the same (local?) network, albeit a little bit longer than the others? The 3 are not connected between themselves but are connected to a lot of the other trails.

This (edge between local and regional) can be a ticklish edge. It can be tough to “consensus into existence” of a real “network among larger networks” as these things have to be agreed to by many.

@dieterdreist makes a solid point for those “lengthier in the region” routes to become “more regional” and actually or potentially “promote” to regional with an rwn tag (from lwn). I’ve struggled with feeling, being or mapping as tall as I possibly can with my knowledge here. For example, in my state, there is a “rather vague” void in how we might (at a state-level) assign regional cycling numbering. So it’s best to not be (too) forward or suggestive, but be in much more of a listening mode. I’ve been putting a toe into these waters and pulling it out again for decades around here (including in OSM).

It’s possible to “have joy” with a (more-local, like city- or county-level) transportation agency which is also in this loop, really primarily. Suggestions can turn into heads nodding where a “tendency towards a particular acknowledgement of routes as more regional” happens. Not always, it’s a long, long, quite public dialog with many over time. Particularly at this local-regional level (in my experience). Talk to people. Bounce ideas, you might be surprised at how far a simple idea somebody might sketch out in an elevator pitch turns into a proposal that gets accepted, this does happen.

What I’m saying is that at least where I live and map, this is a tender conversation only in its more baby steps. So, it’s crucial to listen before suggesting. (Though if you have some polished suggestions up your sleeve, wait for someone to ask for a show of hands or something, and break out your sketch).

Sometimes what you have to suggest gets listened to, and heads nod, sometimes (quite often!), not. OSM is “equipped” (with its tagging) to have (roughly) local, regional and national “routing” (networking). As that gets not abused, but respected, the dialog strengthens and becomes more accurate simultaneously. OSM has respect here, we have earned it.