Off-road guidelines

With the help of @crsCR from Chiang Rai, I have prepared a set of guidelines for improving the OpenStreetMap off-road network in Thailand with a focus on enduro, MTB, and hiking.

The goal is to bring together existing and new OSM contributors to make better maps available for the offroad community through supported mobile and Garmin applications. All up-to-date details are in the link above.

Status: In Use. If you have any feedback, concerns, or change requests, please post a reply below.

highway=path includes implicitly all non-motorized vehicles so bicycle=yes, foot=yes, horse=yes… do not need to be added, unlike motorcycle=yes which is implicitly excluded.

A common use-case where bicycle=yes is required would be on urban paths that are designated for pedestrians: highway=footway + bicycle=yes

  • these should be normally tagged as highway=path + motorcycle=yes + bridge=yes + layer=1,
  • and those that can only handle the weight of people as highway=footway + bridge=yes + layer=1 (e.g. bamboo/broken bridges)

Re: highway=path includes implicitly all non-motorized vehicles
In Thailand nearly all paths are used by motorcycles. I would have rather all two wheeled vehicles included with no need to tag paths as motorcycle=yes.

Re: highway=footway
It would be good to include hiking trails in highway=footway. In the OSM-wiki footway examples are only in urban areas

Hi Kurt,

Definitely, I will take care of updating the wiki and mentioned this in the forum.

Ideally yes, the problem is many hiking trails (at least in Chiang Mai) have been tagged as “path” instead of “footway”, probably because of the confusing wiki definitions. The plan is to review these paths and potentially change them to “footway”. The extra motorcycle tag is a way to mark them as reviewed (besides allowing future potential routing). Other mappers already use this approach when doing ground surveys.

I am aware that most of the paths/trails in Chiang Dao have been correctly tagged. I will share soon some links to review the data and I could help with automatically adding the missing tags. e.g. surface=unpaved is missing a lot in Chiang Dao and many outdoor applications render footways as paved when no surface is specified.

Long ago, on the rim of Batur caldera on Bali, I had my Garmin calculate the route to a hotel. It took a strange route: via the top of Batur volcano, because the hiking paths on the volcano were already mapped, with a path tag, to which I added a bicycle=yes during the map creation process…

Let me add a couple of photos - hoping the links will work (note: not all from Thailand)

Narrow bridge:

Concrete lanes (beware of buses on that road!)

Path used by motorcycles between paddies:

Carry your bike up to the bridge (likely not possible for motor cyclists):

Take care of falling rocks:

“Residential” road

Bamboo bridge, re-built each dry season:

Land slide

Strange bridge:

Beware of flooding:

Damaged surface:

Use the bridge with care

Facebook road:


formerly a bridge

sudden end

low water bridge

missing bridge and make-shift deviation

path in orchard

suspension bridge

iron lane bridge

dry season only road

So, a collection of fun from several countries. Likely, you won’t find a good tagging scheme for all of them - and you won’t need them all anyway.