Request for assistance from the Norwegian community in the resolution of a mapping dispute

On the question of legality of access

Some consensus seems to have formed that the path in question does in fact exist, barring any major revelations. In light of that it makes sense to discuss the legality of access. This question is governed by the Norwegian Outdoor Recreation Act (Friluftsloven). An official English translation of which actually exists!

An important distinction between Norwegian law and law in some other countries (the U.S, I think, but feel free to correct me) is that it’s not just the literal text of the law that governs how it is applied. Judges are supposed to respect the intention of the law, however it might be worded, in matters of doubt. Thus, any serious discussion about the implications of a law must include a discussion of prior legal precedent. This can include court rulings, but also statements from various government agencies on how the law should be understood.

That out of the way, let us get to the core of the question.

Innmark (cultivated land) or utmark (uncultivated land)?

A core question in understanding the legal status of the path in question is whether it crosses “innmark” or “utmark” in the few meters where it crosses the property of Sprengsneset 67. That is, cultivated vs. uncultivated land, as the terms are defined in the law.

If the ground is considered “utmark” there is no discussion to be had, really. The path would then be open to the public, barring an official ruling by the municipality (see § 2). Such a ruling can also only apply to non-foot traffic. And not only that: Any attempt at blocking or removing the path, as well as attempts at discouraging usage, by signs, other “psychological barriers” is considered illegal. This latter claim is based on § 13, as well as the interpretation of this paragraph by the Norwegian Environment Agency, which I can only find in Norwegian.

If the ground is considered “innmark”, the matter gets a lot more complicated, but it doesn’t equivocally imply no public access. I’ll save this discussion for later, should significant doubt be cast on my argument as to the “utmark” status of the ground here.

The counterparts take

I’ll first try to honestly present the legal argument of my counterpart. To my understanding it is as follows.

The entirety of the properties of Sprengsneset 67 (the property the path crosses) and Sprengsneset 26 (the property that the path passes right next to) were zoned as a “residential area” in 1995. This makes said properties, in their entirety, into what the law refers to as “plots around houses and cabins”. Such plots are considered by § 1a to be “innmark”. It therefore follows that the path passes over “innmark” where it crosses the property of Sprengsneset 67.

My take

I deem this to be a misunderstanding, albeit an understandable one. The term translated as “plots around houses and cabins” literally means “house property” in Norwegian. As such it is easy to assume it refers to the entirety of any property in a residential area. However, precedent set by the Norwegian high court establishes that this interpretation of the law is wrong.

The high court has ruled that the “plots around houses and cabins” term, in the context of this law, only refers to a “private zone” in the immediate vicinity of any permanently occupied building on the property, so discounting garages and sheds. They have ruled that any land on residential properties not within said “private zone” should be considered “utmark”. One can read more about the implications of this in the interpretation by the Norwegian Environment Agency.

It is said that the determination of the extent of this “private zone” is ultimately an issue that requires bespoke consideration in each case. The first-line authority that can make such a determination is the municipality (§ 20), but their decision can be appealed to the county governor.

However, some guidelines exist, and in light of these guidelines I don’t think there is much doubt about how such a ruling would look like in this particular case.

Usually, the “private zone” is restricted to about 1000 m2 immediately around the building. This usually equates to a distance of about 10-20 meters from the outside walls of the building. For reference, the property of Sprengsneset 67 is about 2350 m2, so declaring is as “innmark” in it’s entirety would not pass court scrutiny. The path also passes the part of the property that is most distant from the cabin on the property, never coming closer than about 35 meters to the hut, so well outside a likely “private zone”.

One of the considerations that might lead to a larger-than-expected “private zone” is the question of “innsyn” (lit. insight). That is to say, to what extent passers-by are able to peer into living quarters. Basically, residents should have some confidence that they can parade around naked in their own living room without worry about being observed (close up). In this particular case this problem is almost non-existent (see for yourselves in google street view), so likely wouldn’t be taken into account. It is worth noting that the path has more “insight” into the cabin of Sprengsneset 26, but the interpretation of the law is that the “private zone” of said cabin cannot cross property boundaries.

Furthermore, precedent by the high court has established that the notion of a “private zone” should be significantly more restricted in the 100 meter belt next to the coastline, claiming that property owners in this area should expect and accept close encounters with hikers. The conflicting area is about 70 meters from the shoreline, so is within this zone.

In light of all this I am more-than-confident in claiming that the path in its entirety should be understood to only cross “utmark”.

Final resolution

Although I’m confident in my claims, I must accept that I am not the authority that decides on these matters. As mentioned, that initially falls on the municipality. So, technically, we must at least recognise that there is a dispute, as long as the property owners disagree with my interpretation, even if their claim seems rubbish to me.

It is also worth noting that the property owners don’t have to ask for permission to block the path as if it was “innmark”. These barriers only become illegal when the municipality has made a statement on the matter.

Finally, it needs to be said that there are only a handful of players that can demand that the municipality actually make a ruling on the matter. According to § 20, only “the owner, user or an outdoor recreation organization with an interest in the matter may request a statement on the matter from the municipality”. The term “user” here refers to a tenant, not a passer-by, at least from my understanding. This means that my counterpart has the means to finally settle this matter, while I can’t.

As such, if we aren’t categorical in demanding that property owners seek such resolution for their edits to be respected, at least in matters of obvious doubt, they are incentivised to try to maintain the status quo with no clear resolution, in which they can take liberties. Both “on the ground” in terms of barriers, as we’ve seen in this case (albeit ineffective), but also using this doubt to justify edits in the OSM database.

This is why I claim we shouldn’t respect the edits of these property owners, until they have obtained legally binding clarifications from the municipality. Doing so would set unfortunate precedent for our project.

Small note on the parking lot

I don’t claim that the contested parking lot is a public parking lot. Only that it should in fact be mapped as a parking lot. It is reasonable to expect that the property owners have the right to restrict parking on their own residential property. Particularly since most of the parking lot falls within the “private zone” of no. 26.

The counter argument here is summarised as “yes, we use it as a parking lot, but sometimes we do other stuff there as well, like play games”. My feeling is that this is a pretty hollow argument.

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It’s a good opinion, but again, it’s another opinion among many. More people having opinions never resolves a feud. This case evidence - preferably from both parties, preferably the original parties. Nobody wants this to continue. Let’s find a solid and undisputable end to this squabble.

Agreed. But the squabble seems not to be about the correctness of OSM, but about public use of a path. OSM cannot mediate on public use of a path. A solid and undisputable end to the conflict would be an official verdict on the status of the path, but this doesn’t automatically provide an outcome for OSM. A verdict that the path is not for public use still means it can be mapped with an access tag.

There’s no doubt the path has been there for a long time and it’s very doubtful it has suddenly disappeared, especially since it’s still being used (as evidenced by Strava). Another photo of the path will not contribute significantly to document the path’s existence. Based on what’s been presented so far, it also seems less likely that the parties opposing the path will be swayed by a photo. If they are, that’s all the better, but in the case they are not, for whatever reason they have, the presence of the path in OSM must still be resolved to end the edit war.

Since the path exists and is in use, I see no reason it should be changed in OSM. If an official verdict concludes that the path is not for public use, it can be tagged with access to reflect that, and finally, if it subsequently becomes overgrown due to lack of use, it can be removed when it no longer exists.

To be clear; at this point I think we should assume my interpretation of the law is correct unless;

  • The counterparty, or others, express that they explicitly disagree with my interpretation.
  • Said parties present reasonable arguments. That is, I don’t think the counterparty should be able to say “no, I think you’re wrong, but I won’t defend my position, because I don’t need to. Go get a ruling from the municipality… which you can’t :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:”.

No but if we can clearly see that one side is correct, then we as a community can fully support a side and ask DWG to enforce. Legal stuff would let us decide correctly and thus eject the squabble from OSM and if it does continue, it will do so outside of OSM - which is what I want. This is ultimately not an OSM matter, but it has unfortunately become one.

I can see that “oarn” is typing a message now, so hopefully we can get both sides of the argument on the table now.


Can you try contacting one of these to get it? (no idea how often they act in such cases - maybe they do it only in extraordinary and egregious clear-cut cases, maybe they do it routinely - so this idea may be a good one or terrible, no promises here)

I could, and I might. But I don’t think I should be required to by the OSM community, as this places a significant workload (of uncertain outcome) on a mapper who just wants to map, and that doesn’t have any personal stake in this (I live on the other side of the country from where this dispute is occurring).

I think this workload belongs with the party that is editing the map based on their personal property interests, i.e. my counterpart.

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Jeg kommer til å skrive på norsk.

Først et spørsmål, hva slags kart skal OSM være? Skal det et kart mest mulig korrekt eller skal det være et “lekekart” som er vanskelig å stole på, slik som feks. wikipedia.
Jeg skal kanskje presentere meg litt.
Jeg har jobbet med kartverk og lagt inn data i kart i ca. 40 år, så jeg vet at korrekt innlegging av riktige data er veldig viktig for at kart skal kunne stoles på.
Da det gjelder denne stien så ble den til ved at folk tok seg til rette og gikk over eiendommene uten å spørre, det var ingen sti her før hyttefeltet ble bygget. Selv om harahu påstår at han ser stien på flyfoto fra 1962, da mener jeg at man må ha god fantasi, har sett på det bildet og med litt fantasi kan man finne mange stier der, bildet har alt for dårlig kvalitet til å påstå noe sånt.
Det gikk noen stier (eller heller dyretråkk) her ute, men ikke her denne stien er blitt laget.
For her var veldig ulendt terreng før veien ble bygget.
Så kom DNT på banen og merket den som tursti uten å spørre, det ble tatt opp med DNT og kommunen, DNT la om stien utenom hyttefeltet og kommunen fjernet stien over tomtene her fra alle sine kart inkludert Norgeskart.
Derfor mener vi at den ikke skal ligge i OSM heller.
Har sendt plankartet over hyttefeltet til harahu så han kan se hvor stiene i området gikk.

Hei @oarn.

Jeg bemerker meg følgende.

Så her henger argumentet på at ingen har spurt om de får lov.
Men av det som @harahu argumenterer så trenger man ikke be om lov.

Fra nøytralt OSM-ståsted så kan man se at det er en sti der nå, og derfor kan den tegnes inn. Selv om den ikke fantes fra før så finnes den jo nå, og det er nok mange langt mer usynlige stier tegnet inn i OSM. Så det vi trenger å vite om det finnes juridisk grunn till å nekte folk å gå der eller ikke. Dette vil da ligge til grunn for eventuell access=tagging.

Kunne du lagt ved din kommunikasjon med DNT og kommunen (hvis den ikke teller som konfidensiell?)

Håper saken kan klares opp. Dette er en krangel vi ønsker vi kunne slippe i OSM og det hadde jo vært veldig fint om nabolaget kunne få ro også.

For å anlegge sti over regulert område så må man spørre om lov, og resultatet av at alle går i samme spor blir jo at de lager en sti.

You are allowed to dispute this, and unless required I won’t go into a protracted discussion on whether or not the path is visible in older photos. The age of the path is not at all relevant to my argument, so I see this as a distraction. The only thing of importance is that the path is in fact there now.

I understand this as a way to claim that the path has been created illegally and thus can be removed. Although putting active effort into creating a path in “utmark” could perhaps be deemed illegal, there is, as I see it, no legal grounds to assume passive effort, e.g. walking, can be seen as illegal.

In light of your claims that DNT established this trail without permission, I don’t think this can be seen as relevant now. Any markings of the trail have long since disappeared, all marketing regarding the trail has long since disappeared. It has even, due to your initiative, been gone from maps for many years. Yet people keep using it. To the extent that there is traffic there today, it must be seen as “organic” traffic originating from the fact that the trajectory of the path is a “natural” and convenient passageway. As such, even if the area was restored to a non-path state, it seems clear that the path would re-emerge, as long as access is not unduly hindered. And access should not be hindered, given that my claim that this is “utmark” holds.

We have previously discussed why this isn’t considered a formal clarification under § 20. See my correspondence with Turid.

At this point I’m not interested in private correspondence from you, and sending things to me in private does not help inform the case for the community. If you feel that this map helps your case I suggest you share it in this thread instead.

With the reply from @oarn, the presented reason for removing the path from OSM is a claim that it should not have been there in the first place over twenty years ago. This is not for OSM to judge. The fact that it is there now was not disputed by @oarn. In light of this, I stand by the conclusion that it should remain in OSM, and that an official verdict will affect the access tagging.

On a side note, the main road should also not have been built this way in the first place. Its actual size, position, and intersections differ dramatically from the plan. OSM should map the world as it is, not as it (possibly) should have been.

Bildene du poster her er jo bare sesongvariasjoner på faunaen. Grønt gress om sommer, brunt/gult gress om høst/vinter.

Hei. Det vil komme et svar, men det tar noe tid å vurdere og skrive et saklig svar tuftet på norsk lovgivning og regulering.

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Men husk at dette ikke er en rettssak. Ytterlige argumentasjon er ikke det som trengs. Det vi trenger her er avklarte rettssaker (eller tilsvarende) som viser til noe som er vedtatt.

Kjære harahu!
Du viser til at flyfoto fra 1962 som viser sti over eiendommene. Jeg har etterlyst dokumentasjon på dette flere ganger. Jeg forventer fortsatt svar siden det var du som tok det opp i brev til meg. Du må i hver fall svare på hvorfor du ikke vil vise sti på flyfotoet t fra 1962.
Det er tydelig hvem som står bak denne saken da jeg finner lik argumentasjon på flere steder.
Det ser ut som noen i denne stiftelsen prøver å overgå norsk lovverk både kommunalt og statlig. Norsk lov eksisterer visst ikke i OSMs verden!
Jeg ser på meg selv som en likeverdig deltager på lik linje som harahu og skjønner ikke hvorfor han har flere “stemmer” enn meg?
Spørsmålet fra meg er da, hvor seriøst er OSM? Når ikke medlemmene har lik verdi, men noen hever seg over andre?
Foreslår at enkelte bør skolere seg på å lese flyfoto slik at det ikke blir flere stier i bekkefar. Siden denne fadesen ble rettet opp av utlegger SELV så må andre kunne rette opp i feil.
Turid Nordbye

Hvis Harahu kan poste argumentasjon så er det vel åpent for at andre også kan poste ytterligere argumentasjon? Hvis ikke må all argumentasjon til Harahu slettes da den ikke bygger på juridiske vurderinger eller tilsvarende etablert praksis men hans/hennes personlige meninger, følelser og synsing.

Jeg tenker at @Wulfmorn prøver å si at argumentasjon til OSM-miljøet om hvorfor man mener stien er privat, eller ikke skulle ha vært der til å begynne med, har liten hensikt. Slike lovmessige (og skjønnsmessige) uenigheter kan ikke OSM-miljøet avgjøre – det må kommunen eller andre myndigheter gjøre, og så kan den avgjørelsen være grunnlaget.

I repeat, I find the question about whether the path was there in 1962 thoroughly uninteresting. It has no impact on any of my arguments.

Here’s the photo from 1962. I’ve added the property boundaries for reference. This is a slightly different crop than the other photos. Hard to recreate my exact crop from yesterday. Hope that’s ok.

I stand by my claim that the path is visible here. You are free to disagree.

In the end, none of us should have a vote, neither me, nor you. We, the parties to the dispute, are by this point all wearing colored glasses. Mapping practices are a matter for the community to decide. I’m asking them to pass judgement here, and for that purpose I count neither myself nor you as part of the community. I’m merely presenting my stance on this, and I’ll leave it to others to judge whether it has merit.

Kjempe at du endelig er på! Og hvor var stien? Det må du markere.