RfC: New Key foot_scale=* ("now for something a bit recreational")

I didn’t read the full discussion but if I get it right you are proposing a new tagging scheme for telling how hard a path is to “walk”. Where walking means anything from using a rollator to needing climbing skills.

I like the idea that I could tell the router something like:

  • “I had a knee surgery last month. Show me only paths I can walk with crutches.”
  • “I like to hike and climb. Show me paths that fit this hobby.”

So to answer your question, yes there is interest. For me it’s just that I do not have enough interest to realy participate. And I do not have detailed knowlege about existing tagging schemes that may already carry the same information.

Have seen that so many times :cry:

Raise a draft & initial discussion with comments made by only a few people. Go to RFC with a few more. Go to voting & 20 people appear complaining that you didn’t do this, specify that, or asking questions, despite the “rules” saying that you can’t make any changes to a proposal once it’s in voting :roll_eyes:

I’ve got pictures, I just haven’t got round to adding them yet. And I talked a lot on the previous thread already!

I have taken many pictures of trails and will look through them for good candidates, but have been away from the computer for the weekend. Will add some in the next week.

Following a question that was just asked regarding fords, what would you call stepping-stones as shown at Key:ford - OpenStreetMap Wiki ?

& would you add a difficulty (surefooted / attentive) tag to them?

I’m not a picture guy myself.
However a few suggestions crossed my mind: pictures by the sea (beach walking?), arid places, meadows.
All the corner cases of the recents “is a path a path” discussions would maybe not be iconics, but would trigger interesting discussions when trying to classify them through this proposal.

These are troll tags if used in combination with highway=path. The way should not be tagged as a path at this point.

A new highway=trail maybe. But if I was routed down a path near a town that required these things I’d delete it as soon as I got home.

I can see that argument for not_walkable, but not for the other two. I don’t think there is any quality requirement for highway=path. I know plenty of commonly used paths that require surefooted walking, they should be on the map as people use them. Of course they should be tagged with the correct additional tags, to be taken into account by routers among other things, and this proposal is precisely aimed at encouraging that.

Realistically I don’t think that would ever get the consensus needed in OSM. Previous attempts to make the highway=path tag less overloaded, such as highway=scramble, have not been able to get that support. I understand the current proposal as accepting that the top level tag is not going to change, and trying to improve the secondary tagging as much as possible so that renderers and routers can make that kind of distinction.


I am in a similar situation, I am interested, but travelling away from my personal computer and not really in a position to contribute photos right now. I also find the wiki generally hard to deal with on a mobile phone, I even struggled to simply log in this morning. I wouldn’t read too much into a lack of response to this specific request.

The above describe a significant percentage of the trails around here (Colorado). Generally I think they are appropriate categories for highway=path.

This is why she need something like highway=trail for this stuff highway=path is being diluted to the point of meaninglessness by stuff you can’t walk down.

We already distinguish highway=track as the (rough) vehicular equivalent to something that might not be drivsble so it’s not a great leap.

Isn’t that what we are trying to do here, effectively coming up with a rough equivalent to tracktype for paths? Highway=track covers everything from smooth asphalt to almost undrivable, if you want to tell them apart you need to look at the tracktype grade and other secondary tags.

As for highway=trail, as I already said, regardless of whether it is a good idea, if people couldn’t agree to separate a scramble from a path, how would we ever get trail accepted?

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This Eurocentric view of tracks has been argued over many times in the past and I’m not going to re-open this here.

To me this proposal covers a wide enough gamut of usability that it effectively makes the path tag completely useless and this tag would become the primary key. You say some tracktype grades are “almost impassable”, this includes things that are actually impassable except via means that you’d normally only resort to when crossing unmapped wilderness.

This proposal has nothing to do with what is or is not a path. This should be made very clear. This tag is not meant to answer that question. Mappers should determine highway type separately from foot_scale.

You can put foot_scale on a path, on a footway, a bridleway, steps, a via_ferrata, … I can think of at least one (unpaved) primary that requires attentive_walking.

Of course, as things stand, for better or worse, highway=path is tagged on many “paths” that are not walkable in any meaningful sense of the word (just look at the pictures in the Wiki for sac_scale=difficult_alpine_hiking).

This proposal does not change, challenge or legitimise that. If highway=scramble or similar ever takes off, the highway tag on some of these “paths” can be changed, without making any changes to their foot_scale rating, because highway type is separate from foot_scale.


I would consider all of those classifications as being paths, and I wouldn’t be surprised if a path was tagged as such and I encountered those conditions. We already have too many high level tags for path-like objects: highway=path/footway/cycleway/bridleway/steps and there are pistes to consider for winter use

Winter piste:type=x are a completely orthogonal tagging scheme: more than often they don’t even have a highway= tag, with reason.

You will be very busy then. At least – in my area – if you happen to go anywhere but to the next super market from anywhere but the tram station.

Mind you, I do not see a hw=path e.g. in the Pike of Stickle picture (H4A in the gallery) neither, but the mapping community at large seems to think otherwise and the voting community on hw=scramble was split. Perhaps posting this very picture in the examples section may have been detrimental to the proposals success – it put the bar too low! I again posted it, because that distinction needs to be sharpened!

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@osmuser63783 @Adam_Franco @alan_gr I created tables for you! @yvecai You may not the picture guy, thank you for the suggestions, I rather have you gauge pictures of paths you are familiar with, over me just guessing.

Please look at the Gallery as base for evaluation, don’t be afraid to post outliers, they may shape the way forward.

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You could perhaps argue that for not_walkable, which would address the issue where some app developers think that anything tagged highway=path implies “a Sunday afternoon stroll”. I don’t think that you could argue that for the other two though, surely?


No, climbing skills are explicitly out. Even for casual_walking you should at least consult what’s in surface/smoothness when bound to a rollator. As I understand it, with crutches you should be fine on casual_walking trails. On attentive_walking ground, it might depend on how long you been on crutches and how your abdominal muscles have grown in time – otherwise, you are a pedestrian like anybody else is.

Surely sac_scale can do this for you.