[will not be done] Proposed bot edit: remove pointless fixme tags asking to add surface info, on ways without surface info

We do not need for example fixme=surface or fixme=Needs surface= tag

If surface tag is missing then fixme adds nothing.

It gets even worse and unclear if someone added surface without noticing or looking at fixme=surface - then it turns from useless to highly confusing.

I propose to remove such fixme tags from roads which have neither surface nor tractype tags.

I reviewed and fixed sample of them, doing all manually is a pointless drudgery.

Or more specifically I propose to remove

  • fixme=surface
  • fixme=surface?
  • fixme=tracktype, surface
  • fixme=tracktype;surface
  • fixme=tracktype; surface
  • fixme=add tracktype or surface
  • fixme=add surface
  • fixme=tracktype/surface
  • fixme=surface=?
  • fixme=Surface?
  • fixme=Needs surface= tag
  • fixme=check surface
  • fixme=tracktype/surface
  • fixme=confirm surface
  • fixme=verify surface
  • fixme=Check surface
  • fixme=Surface?
  • fixme=surface=?
  • fixme=Survey surface
  • fixme=add surface tagging
  • fixme=Needs surface= tag
  • fixme=tracktype+surface
  • fixme=specify surface

and the same values of FIXME

from objects with one of

  • highway=motorway
  • highway=motorway_link
  • highway=trunk
  • highway=trunk_link
  • highway=primary
  • highway=primary_link
  • highway=secondary
  • highway=secondary_link
  • highway=tertiary
  • highway=tertiary_link
  • highway=unclassified
  • highway=residential
  • highway=living_street
  • highway=pedestrian
  • highway=service
  • highway=track
  • highway=road

and without surface tracktype tags.

1000+ objects in total, edit would be repeated in future if matching cases would appear again


Are there particular groups of users adding these? Have you tried asking them why they added these tags?

One possible reason might be that they’ve done an initial survey from aerial imagery and are using the fixme as a “note to self” to say that a particular section needs an on-site survey. Whether “note to self” fixmes (and notes added by e.g. StreetComplete) are useful depends on how people use them - discovering 100s of “obvious” fixmes for “tag X is missing” is indeed annoying, but I can imagine some examples where it makes sense, too.

1 Like

not really, but I guess I can make such analysis if you think it would be useful and ask people who added them - if you think that it would be useful

I support this edit, and also I support doing the analysis to figure out if there’s an opportunity to educate users that are adding large numbers of these.

1 Like

Why did you excluded values like path or cycleway?

If someone left a note to self and hasn’t acted on it after… Let’s say somewhere between 1 to 3 months(?), I wonder if it’s still plausible that they’re going to do so or whether it’s more reasonable to assume they forgot about it and won’t. But that period is very subjective of course.

I’d be in favour of such an edit, but I can see how taking the age of the fixme into account can prevent deleting fixmes someone made with good intentions as a note to self.


I’ve just checked the two most common fixme=surface variants in UK/IE (filter that list by “surface”). They are Check access, smoothness, surface, tracktype, trail_visibility and check surface.

The first is just used by one local mapper, and they do actively add surface tags, so that looks like an entirely reasonable use of “fixme” to me as they’re not creating work for other people, just keeping track of what has been done so far.

The second is also seems to be mostly a couple of mappers, and in this case seems to include some “surface is probably X but might need checking”.

In neither case would the quality of OSM data go up if these tags were removed.

note that neither is proposed to be removed by bot edit discussed here

It seems to me unhelpful to bot edit fixme tags: even if obscures, if they are handcrafted they at least show that a mapper felt something was missing in their contributions.

Please don’t do this.

fixme=surface or similar is really useful when you’ve retagged a road from imagery to a more likely highway value, and that value would usually imply a particular surface; but you’re not entirely sure from the imagery whether that assumption is correct in this particular case. So you add a fixme to mark that it particularly needs survey.

This is a big issue in the rural US, of course, where roads were imported from TIGER class A41 as highway=residential. These all need to be reviewed. Many can be retagged from imagery but the difference between fine gravel and the paved surface implied by the highway tag is not always obvious.

But I’ve also used in the UK for rural service roads, and there are French voies vertes where it would be useful too.


Actually, that’s also probably really true: that this is a topic that should be answered per country (by it’s community), and can’t be decided on globally. Is that still open for discussion?

OK, I see no clear support here so this specific bot edit will not be done.

I guess that more thorough analysis could be done, but it is more effective to do something else entirely.


When should a fixme used or not used?

I thought it was ok to indicate if a tag is missing. But of course you could put fixme’s on every highway, because there are always something which could be added.

that seems entirely pointless to me, especially if no context is given

fixme=surface missing, this road is likely unpaved despite being important in road network may make some sense

fixme=surface adds nothing over surface tag being missing and is likely to be confusing when someone adds surface= without noticing/editing/removing it.

See also 25 699 fixme=yes. Or useless fixme=Import CTR Veneto. Collegare ways. Integrare con sport=* e surface* | Tags | OpenStreetMap Taginfo and fixme=Import CTR Veneto. Sostituire con building=stable (stalla) o building=barn (fienile) | Tags | OpenStreetMap Taginfo added by import.

1 Like