Using OSM to increase use of little used public footpaths.

Hi, all.

I posted the following in the ‘Dev’ forum, but feel that it may be better placed here.

Here in the UK, we are fortunate to have a large network of public footpaths, some of which date back many centuries. Unfortunately, due to some footpaths being poorly signposted, and underused, they are at risk of becoming massively overgrown with vegetation, or just lost because they are no longer distinguishable. My question is, is there a way that OSM could be used to indicate which footpaths are most or least heavily used, allowing the general public to use/ explore the footpaths at risk of disappearing? I’m thinking that this could be ‘game-ified’ and people could use smartphones, etc, to gain points (or some other form of recognition), for using paths, or being the first person to record a track/ trace on one.

Not sure whether this is being looked at elsewhere, but I’d be happy to start to manage the resourcing, if necessary, but I do not have the coding skills to actually tackle the challenge.

Anyone interested? Let me know.

Many thanks,



  1. Where is my nearest footpath?
  2. Where is my nearest footpath that hasn’t been logged by another user?
  3. How do users score points for using a footpath, and what about points for mapping unmapped public footpaths?
  4. Could ViewRanger or similar be used to help implement these goals?
  5. How do we ‘gamify’ this, can Waze give us ideas, as it WAS an open source project?
  6. Need to incorporate guidance for footpath usage, i.e. respect landowners, cattle, etc.
  7. Which footpaths have I already used, should these be a different colour?

What do we need to make this a reality? Two (?) options, either incorporate this functionality into an existing (ideally) open-source application, or start another project.

For the latter, we need a list of goals, the above points would do to start with, a way to coordinate bugs/ feature requests, someone who can develop (code) the application, someone who can perhaps write documentation, and …


Anybody interested, please add your thoughts here.



Not lack of interest, but this forum is not really used, I just happened by because I was bored.

It would be better to post this question on the talk-gb mailing list where it will be seen by a far larger number of mappers.

Cheers Phil