According to Map Features, a track is “Roads for mostly agricultural or forestry uses”. Also, “tag is not describing the quality of a road but its use”. Also, “if you want to tag a general use road, use one of the general highway values instead of track”.
I know this is an old issue, but the Thailand map is riddled with perfectly good roads tagged as tracks. I’ve emailed 5 users asking to change them and got 3 yesses, one no, and one no response. I didn’t email everyone who uses the track tag, such as FB.
These are mistakes, not options based on personal preference. They also mar the appearance of the map and make it less useful, as most people will avoid them.
No matter which mapper drew them, if they have been paved, I change them and would very much like to get rid of all except the actual agricultural tracks. Is there a fair and civil way to do it? The ‘no’ came from a major contributor.
This conversation will end up deadlocked just as the last one did. The people who prefer using track over other classes of highway will hold on to their assessment. When I encounter a highway=track that’s obviously not a track, I change it. I don’t send an email, I just do it. Many of those tracks were put into OSM a long time ago when guidelines were sidestepped as being less important than getting the ways onto the map. I can’t tell you how many tracks I’ve reclassified but it’s quite a few.
AFAIK, there’s no good way to change them all in one go. Each must be inspected individually. We have new imagery now too which makes the job easier but it’s still a PITA and a long slog.
Most of the ways were traced from imagery, during armchair mapping. So it is easy that some public roads with actually good condition were mistakenly tagged as “tracks”. When you’ve been to that place, and you are sure it’s a public road, and not a good agricultural/forestry track, then just change that.
By the way, I cycled on a grade1 track with good concrete surface somewhere near Phangnga: https://www.openstreetmap.org/way/224087909#map=17/8.50956/98.53851 That eventually ends at a fenced farmland. So, good track do really exist. But sure, many will be classified incorrectly.
The track tag has been discussed in the past and agree that there is no really fair way to do unilateral changes en masse.
However, I also recall Bernard taking the view that better to show as a track, than a road if it’s not been surveyed or can been seen on the aerials with a degree of clarity.
I agree with that, as this was one of the biggest problems of the FB teams imports.
And I know that many roads tagged as track in the past have now been surfaced, and of course these should be changed without reference to the mapper.
But I would also like to mention that by way of example, I just happened to be fixing a note in Saraburi a few days ago, only to notice a plethora of unmapped two lane paved roads in the area. So sure, upgrade tracks as you come across, but there is still a lot of unmapped minor and tertiary roads that need adding, which should be the focus of our attention.
On that note, what’s happening with the glorious FB teams imports, as I’m kind of surprised they have not imported these by now. Have they stopped?