Rual/Unofficial Roads

What’s the recommended way to highway-tag ‘Unofficial’ or ‘rual roads’ in dense populated areas (aka ghetto or favela)?

I am working on Luanda/Angola. Many roads are inofficial, not-paved, have no name etc…

See here for example: (link to google air map)

I experimented with ‘unclassified’, ‘residential’, ‘track’… maybe I should use ‘path’ or ‘road’ ?

IMO the way they are rendered in Mapnick is misleading: It looks just like a normal road you can take - but in reality you don’t use any of the roads unless you have a proper reason… It’s easy to get stuck and lost if you don’t know them. Some cars might not make it… the road can be flooded or blocked… it can be very dangerous, too (especially at night…).

How shall I tag them? Personally highway=service looks nice but it’s not made for the purpose…



maybe this link can help you (a little bit)



Usually, I would say “highway=track” as it is the closest I find : narrowed, unpaved, not named. + “tracktype=gradeX” and “surface=X” for the car accessibility (forget ‘smoothness’).
Dangerousness is difficult to tag as it is very subjective (e.g. may also depend if you are local or foreigner etc).
But all of this may depend on local rules definitions for highway tag usage. You might have a look on this page:
or here:
to find out how it is done in other similar countries.



…would sound reasonable. I however added many hundreds of roads now which fall under this. Now they are mixed ‘unclassified’, ‘residential’ and some ‘tracks’ … so I want to be really sure before I change them all… :wink:


Hi I’m having more or less the same problem in Bolivia.

I will not mark it as traks just because there are not paved, many times in developing countries secundary roads are not paved, and if we imput that as tracks will not get the funcition of the road.

I agree what you are saying. But I am specifically talking about ‘un-organized’ roads. Roads that were ‘naturally created’ without someone planning them properly. We have a lot of them here. They are mainly very narrow, bumpy, not straight and often dead end…

Roads that look like they are planned and work properly I mainly tag as unclassified or residential (depending on area).

Welcome to the forum.

I strongly support this. The classification primary. secondary, tertiary, unclassified, residential is derived from the function of the highway for the traffic and not from the condition. In a populated area (settlement) the highways are residential or higher classified independent of the surface or if they are planned or “naturally grown” by usage. Even in developed countries many highways still follow former footpathes or tracks and thus are “naturally grown”.

According to wikipedia: Angola transport 25% (19,156 of 76,626 km) of highway are paved. I think it’s no good idea to tag the other 75% as highway=track.

Could you please stay in the subject of the OP which is about “inofficial, not-paved, have no name” ways and is nothing about “secundary roads”

Here in Senegal, i try to judge if the track will stay there after the next wave of squatting. Then i tag highway= residential, surface=sand. Outside villages and towns i just tag highway=track or if it might be difficult for a car: highway=path