Thailand’s Minor Road Classifications Revision Proposal (unclassified vs service vs residential vs track)

Based on the recent valuable feedback from the global community, I would like to propose below a few changes to the minor road classifications wiki that I believe will solve the most common issues:

A) In a nutshell, the proposal revolves around limiting:

  1. highway=residential to road segments found only within residential areas (populated areas typically found under landuse=residential inside cities, towns and rural settlements) and giving the public access to one or multiple residences.

  2. highway=unclassified to roads only with a significant thru-traffic function (the equivalent of “quarternary”, used to reach a settlement or another road of higher or equal importance)

  3. highway=track to road segments with only the function to access the surrounding land (fields, forest) that do not give access to any particular places.

  4. highway=service for all other minor use-cases e.g.

    • roads inside estates (driveways, attractions, factories, commercial areas, parks…)
    • roads leading to places outside residential areas (temples, lodging, farmhouses, remote residences, attraction, dam…)

Note: major road classifications (tertiary+) have already been covered in the wiki.

B) This proposal would solve these common issues:

  1. highway=residential used for anything giving access to buildings (Grab, Facebook). We would have now a clear distinction between residential, service, and unclassified. Since the correct classifications can often be known with ground information, it will of course not solve the issue of remote mappers choosing the wrong classifications. But encouraging them to use highway=road or not changing them can be a solution.

  2. highway=unclassified used for non-significant roads (local mappers). There are currently too many unclassified roads making the general public network hard to visualize and interpret for routers. I believe this is due to the misconception that service roads can only be private. Only tagging the significant thru-traffic ones with unclassified and the rest with service will help tremendously.

  3. highway=track used for anything unpaved. Many of these dirt tracks actually give access to farmhouses, and temporary residences and deserve (Grab) a higher classification like service

Your thoughts?


Thank you for taking the time to develop these guidelines.

I know this is a difficult issue because the wiki page for residential, unclassified, and track still have some ambiguity about their distinctions. I agree that we should establish a better guidelines to help us choose the appropriate tag for mapping.

Overall, I think this proposal is reasonable, and I have found no obvious conflicts with my own practice. Even the best guidelines we can implement will inevitably have an exception, so if it helps in the majority of cases, that’s fine.


This certainly improves the situation.

Just to make it obvious: The examples listed under “B” are typical tagging problems we observed in Thailand, mainly due to large-scale organized editing in the past. These situations are now better described.
If you happen to come along such bad tagging, feel free to improve it using the guidelines along “A” as hints. As always: Use common sense. There might still be corner cases.


As per my previous proposal, I have prepared a wiki revision that would improve the following two wiki sections:

  • Urban and Local Roads wide enough for motor cars
  • Rough guidelines for minor highway tag decision-making (useful in most cases)

Link to Revision Proposal: User:CMoffroad/Minor Road Classifications - OpenStreetMap Wiki

The main focus is on differentiating unclassified (significant thru-traffic) from other minor roads (residential vs service vs track).

Please let me know if you have any objections, concerns, or suggestions.