Current status of the key smoothness=*

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Current status of the key smoothness=*

jgpacker
Hi,
I saw in the wiki page Key:smoothness that there is a section about the controversy over it's verifiability.

As far as I remember, this tag was throughly discussed here until a consensus was achieved (which was that it should be classified according to how usable the road is/which kinds of modes of transportation can use it).

Is this claim over it's verifiability still current?

I think it's not, and that this claim should be removed from the page (though it may be useful to write a section with a brief history of this key).

Cheers,
John
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Re: Current status of the key smoothness=*

Friedrich Volkmann
On 11.03.2015 12:56, jgpacker wrote:
> Is this claim over it's verifiability still current?

Yes, it is, because the photos contradict the verbal value definitions.

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Re: Current status of the key smoothness=*

AlaskaDave
In reply to this post by jgpacker
I'm not sure much can be done about the situation. Verifiability depends on one person's subjective assessment of the smoothness of a road. The illustration in the Wiki of a road that is "impassable" can be negotiated by a skilled rider on a mountain bike.

During the discussion of this topic someone suggested trying to make a quantitative measurement of smoothness by attaching some sort of gyroscope or accelerometer to a vehicle's bumper in order to produce a number. 



On Wed, Mar 11, 2015 at 6:56 PM, jgpacker <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi,
I saw in the wiki page  Key:smoothness
<http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:smoothness#Controversy>   that there
is a section about the controversy over it's verifiability.

As far as I remember, this tag was throughly discussed here until a
consensus was achieved (which was that it should be classified according to
how usable the road is/which kinds of modes of transportation can use it).

Is this claim over it's verifiability still current?

I think it's not, and that this claim should be removed from the page
(though it may be useful to write a section with a brief history of this
key).

Cheers,
John



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Chiang Mai, Thailand
Travel Blog at http://dswarthout.blogspot.com

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Re: Current status of the key smoothness=*

Pieren
I search an adjective about this tag and I hesitate between "very_bad"
and "horrible" ;-)
Btw, what's different today about its verifiability ? I think most of
the people rejecting this tag simply ignore the discussions around it.
This gives a different perspective about your "consensus". Removing
the "controversy" section will just give the false impression that
there is no controversy at all.

Pieren

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Re: Current status of the key smoothness=*

Martin Vonwald (Imagic)


2015-03-11 13:53 GMT+01:00 Pieren <[hidden email]>:
I search an adjective about this tag and I hesitate between "very_bad"
and "horrible" ;-)

In my opinion this tag is pretty bad.

 
Btw, what's different today about its verifiability ? I think most of
the people rejecting this tag simply ignore the discussions around it.

Which is another problem: ignorance never leads to a solution. Especially if those people don't come up with any other - practical and feasible - suggestion. And this brings us back to the tag smoothness. It is completely subjective if the tag is good or bad, excellent or horrible. But it is 100% objective that this is the best tag, simply because it is the only one (please remember: practical and feasible).

So I support the removal of the section "Controversy". Maybe add some note about the limited verifiability.

Best regards,
Martin

 



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Re: Current status of the key smoothness=*

Mateusz Konieczny-2
In reply to this post by jgpacker
There is clearly problem with verifiability of this tag, as in my case I am frequently
unsure which value should be used. And it is not even starting to cover problems with
multiple people having different opinions.

It is not changing fact that there is no better tag to describe surface that is made of asphalt
but of terrible quality.


2015-03-11 12:56 GMT+01:00 jgpacker <[hidden email]>:
Hi,
I saw in the wiki page  Key:smoothness
<http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:smoothness#Controversy>   that there
is a section about the controversy over it's verifiability.

As far as I remember, this tag was throughly discussed here until a
consensus was achieved (which was that it should be classified according to
how usable the road is/which kinds of modes of transportation can use it).

Is this claim over it's verifiability still current?

I think it's not, and that this claim should be removed from the page
(though it may be useful to write a section with a brief history of this
key).

Cheers,
John



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Re: Current status of the key smoothness=*

Jan van Bekkum
I fully agree with Martin.

Availability of a tag like this is very important. I have to be able to enter a value while I am driving without sophisticated measuring equipment. I rather have a rating that is one step off on the scale than no rating at all. Many of these roads are in areas where few mappers do site surveys (I think of the roads we drove in Kenya), so any input is welcome even if it isn't perfect. We ran into some nasty surprises during our trip because the road quality wasn't tagged at all.

Perhaps we can extend the library of pictures in the wiki to give people a better feeling which rating means what.

Again: better an imperfect tag than no tag at all.

On Wed, Mar 11, 2015 at 5:05 PM Mateusz Konieczny <[hidden email]> wrote:
There is clearly problem with verifiability of this tag, as in my case I am frequently
unsure which value should be used. And it is not even starting to cover problems with
multiple people having different opinions.

It is not changing fact that there is no better tag to describe surface that is made of asphalt
but of terrible quality.


2015-03-11 12:56 GMT+01:00 jgpacker <[hidden email]>:
Hi,
I saw in the wiki page  Key:smoothness
<http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:smoothness#Controversy>   that there
is a section about the controversy over it's verifiability.

As far as I remember, this tag was throughly discussed here until a
consensus was achieved (which was that it should be classified according to
how usable the road is/which kinds of modes of transportation can use it).

Is this claim over it's verifiability still current?

I think it's not, and that this claim should be removed from the page
(though it may be useful to write a section with a brief history of this
key).

Cheers,
John



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Re: Current status of the key smoothness=*

Friedrich Volkmann
On 11.03.2015 17:29, Jan van Bekkum wrote:
> Perhaps we can extend the library of pictures in the wiki to give people a
> better feeling which rating means what.

I agree that work on the pictures is needed. The values and their verbal
descriptions are approved, and they look sound, while the bogus pictures are
not approved and they do not match the definitions. We should either replace
those pictures or just delete them.

It seems to me that these pictures are the root of most of the controversy
and the reason why these tags are ignored by most mappers and data consumers.

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Adr.: Davidgasse 76-80/14/10, 1100 Wien, Austria

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Re: Current status of the key smoothness=*

David Bannon-2
In reply to this post by jgpacker

I consider the definitions quite reasonable for this tag. Yes,there is a degree of subjectiveness there,there has to be given what it is trying to do. Honestly, we really need to got over this dread fear of being subjective. Not everything can be measured in integer numbers, great when it can be but accept it when what is being described is, by its nature, difficult.

So I'd vote to remove the "controversy" section, but perhaps to move it to discussion for historical purposes.

Dave S, I think the suggestion of measuring such things using accelerometers was someones sarcastic attempt to show the tag is about as good as it can get.

Now, having said that, i don't use the tag because the names used are "horrible". Firstly, "smoothness" itself is not the only issue and the values ??  I live on a road I'd have to call very bad ? No way !

David

jgpacker <[hidden email]> wrote:

>Hi,
>I saw in the wiki page  Key:smoothness
><http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:smoothness#Controversy>   that there
>is a section about the controversy over it's verifiability.
>
>As far as I remember, this tag was throughly discussed here until a
>consensus was achieved (which was that it should be classified according to
>how usable the road is/which kinds of modes of transportation can use it).
>
>Is this claim over it's verifiability still current?
>
>I think it's not, and that this claim should be removed from the page
>(though it may be useful to write a section with a brief history of this
>key).
>
>Cheers,
>John
>
>
>
>--
>View this message in context: http://gis.19327.n5.nabble.com/Current-status-of-the-key-smoothness-tp5836692.html
>Sent from the Tagging mailing list archive at Nabble.com.
>
>_______________________________________________
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Re: Current status of the key smoothness=*

David Bannon-2
In reply to this post by jgpacker
I am a little unsure what the problem is with the pictures. Could you be a bit more specific please Friedrich ?

It would be very hard to have a set of pictures that cover every case but, as Jan said, if we are only one level out, thats still very useful information. Honestly, while not very clear, the pictures look about right to me.

David
.

Friedrich Volkmann <[hidden email]> wrote:

>On 11.03.2015 17:29, Jan van Bekkum wrote:
>> Perhaps we can extend the library of pictures in the wiki to give people a
>> better feeling which rating means what.
>
>I agree that work on the pictures is needed. The values and their verbal
>descriptions are approved, and they look sound, while the bogus pictures are
>not approved and they do not match the definitions. We should either replace
>those pictures or just delete them.
>
>It seems to me that these pictures are the root of most of the controversy
>and the reason why these tags are ignored by most mappers and data consumers.
>
>--
>Friedrich K. Volkmann       http://www.volki.at/
>Adr.: Davidgasse 76-80/14/10, 1100 Wien, Austria
>
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Re: Current status of the key smoothness=*

Jan van Bekkum
I don't say that the pictures are wrong, but it would be helpful to have perhaps six representative pictures of every level.

Related question: does the tag only cover uneven ground or also for example also deep soft sand that may be difficult to cross. The tag surface=sand in itself doesn't tell much how hard is is to pass. What I am looking for is a tag that tells me how much trouble I will have passing irrespective of the importance of the road (highway=*) or the surface.

An extra complexity is that the ease of passing may be season dependent (wet sand is easier to drive than dry sand), what about seasonal river crossings (seasonal=yes and ford=yes by itself don't tell the whole story).

"Smoothness" may not be the perfect phrase, but the bottom line question is: how hard is it to pass with a 2WD, 4WD, motorcycle etc.

On Wed, Mar 11, 2015 at 11:25 PM David <[hidden email]> wrote:
I am a little unsure what the problem is with the pictures. Could you be a bit more specific please Friedrich ?

It would be very hard to have a set of pictures that cover every case but, as Jan said, if we are only one level out, thats still very useful information. Honestly, while not very clear, the pictures look about right to me.

David
.

Friedrich Volkmann <[hidden email]> wrote:

>On 11.03.2015 17:29, Jan van Bekkum wrote:
>> Perhaps we can extend the library of pictures in the wiki to give people a
>> better feeling which rating means what.
>
>I agree that work on the pictures is needed. The values and their verbal
>descriptions are approved, and they look sound, while the bogus pictures are
>not approved and they do not match the definitions. We should either replace
>those pictures or just delete them.
>
>It seems to me that these pictures are the root of most of the controversy
>and the reason why these tags are ignored by most mappers and data consumers.
>
>--
>Friedrich K. Volkmann       http://www.volki.at/
>Adr.: Davidgasse 76-80/14/10, 1100 Wien, Austria
>
>_______________________________________________
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Re: Current status of the key smoothness=*

Warin
On 12/03/2015 5:05 PM, Jan van Bekkum wrote:
> but the bottom line question is: how hard is it to pass with a 2WD,
> 4WD, motorcycle etc.

That is a very complex question. You may add bicycle to the vehicles
too. Animals and humans .. too?

Soft surfaces may not support the vehicle weight (given a tyre size and
number).

Slippery surfaces may no provide enough traction.

Rough surfaces may though a vehicle off the require path.

Very rough surfaces may require lots of ground clearance. This might be
combined with the above 'rough surface'?

So that would be 3 measures .. they all have objective measures that
give numbers.. very few people would be able to measure and map them
though. And, as you say, they all change with weather and traffic. The
first vehicle to cross sand has a hard crust .. the next has a softer
surface.. after quite a few vehicles you get to a compacted surface...
with a covering of soft sand that has fallen back in to the grove.
Quantifying it is very difficult.





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Re: Current status of the key smoothness=*

Friedrich Volkmann
In reply to this post by David Bannon-2
On 11.03.2015 23:23, David wrote:
> I am a little unsure what the problem is with the pictures. Could you be a bit more specific please Friedrich ?
>
> It would be very hard to have a set of pictures that cover every case but, as Jan said, if we are only one level out, thats still very useful information. Honestly, while not very clear, the pictures look about right to me.

Ok, let's see...

Now that I look at it in detail, I realize that the verbal descriptions
might be flawed too. When there's a category /excellect/ "usable by roller
blade, skate board and all below", there should also be one even better
category like /perfect/ "desirable for roller blade and skate board". Raugh
asphalt is usable by roller blade, but fine asphalt is desireable.
Similarly, fine gravel roads are usable by racing bikes, but not desirable.
surface=ground may be usable by racing bikes when dry, but certainly not
when wet. All of this should be pointed out in the text.

BTW: Rollerblade is a trade mark. Better change that to roller skates and/or
inline skates.

One more text issue: the term "city bike" should be replaced by something
like standard/normal/conventional bicycle, because a city bike is a mountain
bike plus lights and reflectors, thus more robust than a trecking bike.


I'll be numbering the pictures from #1 ("excellent" line) to #8
("impassable" line).

#1 is a scanned paper photo or diapositive. You see dirt and scratches, and
the picture is not quite sharp. But the content of the picture seems
alright. It's intermediate quality asphalt with patches. Not optimal, but
easily usable for all.

#2 What part of the road do they mean? The carriageway looks similar to #1.
(No patches, but on the other hand there's a gully grid.) Or do they mean
the bus stop? Or the footway? The footway surface seems well suited for
roller skates and skateboard too, although some grass creeps in, and you
need to beware the seams and poles.

I suggest a photo depicting sand surface or very coarse-grained and uneven
asphalt or concrete.

#3 This looks like a ford or a temporarily flooded area. The photo should
probably go to the highway=ford wiki page. If you leave away the water, the
road is perfectly suitable for racing bikes, although the dirt indicates
that it may be even more dirty at seasons, making it less usable then.

I suggest a photo of a road with fine gravel or compacted gravel surface
instead.

#4 is a big step from #3. This is indeed unusable for racing bikes, but
usable for trecking bikes and normal cars (although vegetation is near to
the limit). This photo seems to match the description, but I am not shure
about rikshaws.

#5 This track looks like the same as #4 or even better because there's less
vegetation and the surface looks harder and less prone to waterlogging. You
do not need a high-clearance vehicle for that track.

I suggest to move the #5 photo to #4, and to use a photo of a track with
10-20 cm deep ruts (but otherwise similar to #4) for #5.

#6 This shows a track you can use with a normal car. The grass will make
some noise, but it will not damage the car. You can add this photo to the
smoothness=bad examples, i.e. 2 rows up.

The photo for smoothness=horribly should show a very uneven and either muddy
or densely vegetated road.

#7 This photo looks like a clip, you don't see the whole way. Just throw
that photo away.

#8 This looks smooth enough for MTB. It might be to steep to drive uphill,
but experienced MTBers drive this downhill no matter how steep it is.

Steepness (see incline=*) is an important factor we should consider. A track
may be smooth enough for a sports car, but so steep that only a tractor can
make it. I think that we should explicitly include or exclude steepness in
the smoothness definition. Opinions?

--
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Adr.: Davidgasse 76-80/14/10, 1100 Wien, Austria

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Re: Current status of the key smoothness=*

Warin
On 12/03/2015 5:39 PM, Friedrich Volkmann wrote:
> I think that we should explicitly include or exclude steepness in the
> smoothness definition. Opinions?

Exclude. 'Steepness' is covered by the incline tag.
There is no mention of width or surface in the smoothness tag.. nor
should there be. The surface=concrete can be very smooth, rough or
impassable. Still a concrete surface.

Numbers? Something like?

Very smooth = less than 1 mm bumps (rise/fall) in a  1 square metre area?
Impassable = >0.3 m bumps in a 1 square metre area?

I'm not suggesting measuring it objectively .. but subjectively it gives
an idea?

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Re: Current status of the key smoothness=*

dieterdreist
In reply to this post by David Bannon-2

2015-03-11 23:15 GMT+01:00 David <[hidden email]>:
I consider the definitions quite reasonable for this tag. Yes,there is a degree of subjectiveness there,there has to be given what it is trying to do. Honestly, we really need to got over this dread fear of being subjective. Not everything can be measured in integer numbers, great when it can be but accept it when what is being described is, by its nature, difficult.


+1, I believe that the main problem are the value names. If these were called grade1 to grade8 many more people would likely use these values and I guess there would be much fewer objections. The property of smoothness is really quite important to many users of a road, in the more extreme cases likely important to all.
The thing is, that these verbal descriptions of a smoothness hierarchy are mostly not easier to apply than any numeric scale. "Excellent", "good" and "impassable" are exceptions, but you can't tell the dfifference between "bad", "very_bad", "horrible" and "very_horrible" without looking this up in the wiki.

I suggest to add another column to the definition which is about objective figures (without removing the use classes), e.g. the biggest grain size you can frequently find on the road (i.e. the biggest rocks / pebbles) and or the size of eventual cracks and holes, the steepness of steps, height of humps, etc.

cheers,
Martin

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Re: Current status of the key smoothness=*

dieterdreist
In reply to this post by Warin

2015-03-12 7:24 GMT+01:00 Warin <[hidden email]>:
That is a very complex question. You may add bicycle to the vehicles too. Animals and humans .. too?

Soft surfaces may not support the vehicle weight (given a tyre size and number).

Slippery surfaces may no provide enough traction.

Rough surfaces may though a vehicle off the require path.

Very rough surfaces may require lots of ground clearance. This might be combined with the above 'rough surface'?



+1, an (almost) perfectly smooth surface will likely require low speed because it will be very slippery, a (theoretical) perfectly smooth surface will be unpassable (no traction). These conditions do not typically occur on roads though, save for ice roads ;-)

Cheers,
Martin

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Re: Current status of the key smoothness=*

Felix Hartmann-2
In reply to this post by dieterdreist
+1

But make it 1-8 note grade1-grade8 for simplicity IMHO. The grade1-grade5 for tracktype is an error in itself...

It does not matter if it's easier or more difficult - the main thing is that people using it should know what they enter. With the current values like good some mappers just use it without knowing what is behind the value - therefore often rendering smoothness unusable - because the values are unrealiable.

On 12.03.2015 10:36, Martin Koppenhoefer wrote:

2015-03-11 23:15 GMT+01:00 David <[hidden email]>:
I consider the definitions quite reasonable for this tag. Yes,there is a degree of subjectiveness there,there has to be given what it is trying to do. Honestly, we really need to got over this dread fear of being subjective. Not everything can be measured in integer numbers, great when it can be but accept it when what is being described is, by its nature, difficult.


+1, I believe that the main problem are the value names. If these were called grade1 to grade8 many more people would likely use these values and I guess there would be much fewer objections. The property of smoothness is really quite important to many users of a road, in the more extreme cases likely important to all.
The thing is, that these verbal descriptions of a smoothness hierarchy are mostly not easier to apply than any numeric scale. "Excellent", "good" and "impassable" are exceptions, but you can't tell the dfifference between "bad", "very_bad", "horrible" and "very_horrible" without looking this up in the wiki.

I suggest to add another column to the definition which is about objective figures (without removing the use classes), e.g. the biggest grain size you can frequently find on the road (i.e. the biggest rocks / pebbles) and or the size of eventual cracks and holes, the steepness of steps, height of humps, etc.

cheers,
Martin


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keep on biking and discovering new trails

Felix
openmtbmap.org & www.velomap.org

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Re: Current status of the key smoothness=*

Martin Vonwald (Imagic)
In reply to this post by dieterdreist


2015-03-12 10:36 GMT+01:00 Martin Koppenhoefer <[hidden email]>:
I believe that the main problem are the value names. If these were called grade1 to grade8 many more people would likely use these values and I guess there would be much fewer objections.

Is grade1 now excellent or horrible?

No, numeric values are not a good choice - really not. I also don't like the values much, but at least it's clear that "good" is better than "bad". 




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Re: Current status of the key smoothness=*

dieterdreist

2015-03-12 11:21 GMT+01:00 Martin Vonwald <[hidden email]>:
Is grade1 now excellent or horrible?

No, numeric values are not a good choice - really not. I also don't like the values much, but at least it's clear that "good" is better than "bad". 


it really doesn't help you a lot to know whether "good" is better than "bad", you have to know if "good" or "bad" are sufficient for your current means of transport.
I'd use grade1 etc. because this is an established scale from tracktype, and should be understandable therefor. To use these values you'll have to look them up, and this can be seen as an advantage: unlike "good" or "bad" (which do have precise meaning according to the wiki, but are often used by the expectation the user has of their meaning) it will improve consistency (hopefully).

cheers,
Martin

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Re: Current status of the key smoothness=*

Jan van Bekkum
There are two fundamental approaches to this and I believe that in this discussion the two are mixed:
  1. The physical status of the road is described as well as possible and it is left to the receiver of this information to judge if he/she can use the road. This is quite complex as many parameter play a role: on gravel and rock roads smoothness is important, on sand roads how soft the sand is, for fords how deep the water is, but also the bottom structure etc. Furthermore it is season dependent: a road may be perfectly OK in the dry season and hardly passable in the rainy season
  2. The tagger determines how hard it will be to use the road, irrespective of the reasons why it is hard or easy: there can be different reasons why a road is horrible. This approach requires a distinction between different types of vehicles: I have driven the Turkana route in north Kenya in a small convoy with motorcycles and 4WD cars. Some parts of the road had boulders as big as children's heads and were relatively easy for the 4WD's, but very hard for the motorcycles. However, crossing a small stream with a very steep decline/incline was relatively easy for the motorcycles and very hard for the cars.
I would favour the second approach as the judgement is made by someone who was there and has seen it; I admit this is subjective. The approach does require an attribute describing the road per type of vehicle, and sometimes also per season. I share the opinion that grading in words is better than in numbers: in case of hotels 5 stars is the best, for the tracks grade 5 is the worst. So in its most extensive form you would get something like road_quality:car:rainy_seasion=very_poor.

On Thu, Mar 12, 2015 at 11:36 AM Martin Koppenhoefer <[hidden email]> wrote:

2015-03-12 11:21 GMT+01:00 Martin Vonwald <[hidden email]>:
Is grade1 now excellent or horrible?

No, numeric values are not a good choice - really not. I also don't like the values much, but at least it's clear that "good" is better than "bad". 


it really doesn't help you a lot to know whether "good" is better than "bad", you have to know if "good" or "bad" are sufficient for your current means of transport.
I'd use grade1 etc. because this is an established scale from tracktype, and should be understandable therefor. To use these values you'll have to look them up, and this can be seen as an advantage: unlike "good" or "bad" (which do have precise meaning according to the wiki, but are often used by the expectation the user has of their meaning) it will improve consistency (hopefully).

cheers,
Martin
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