stop deleting abandoned railroads

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stop deleting abandoned railroads

Russ Nelson
Okay, this has to stop. It just has to stop. Whoever is saying "Yes,
go ahead and delete abandoned railroads wherever you don't see a
railroad" has to stop it. They just HAVE to stop it, because people
are using that advice to vandalize the map.

Now, you might think "Goddamnit, does Russell have to start again?"
Yes, I have to start again. I was in north-western Pennsylvania last
weekend looking for the Corry Junction Rail Trail. Problem: it hasn't
been entered into OSM yet. But that's not a problem, right? Because OF
COURSE the railway is there, marked as abandoned, right? It isn't. And
I couldn't find the damned trail because the Traillink description is
inadequate. I finally just drove around where the trail HAD to be, and
found it.

This is unacceptable because:

1) on the bing aerials you can see where the railroad went perfectly
fine. It's a line that goes through people's yards, there is a node
from the TIGER data where it used to cross the roads, there is a tree
line the whole way, buildings are aligned to the railbed, people's
driveways bend out of the way of the railbed, etc.

2) THERE ARE STILL FREAKING RAILS ON THE SOUTH END. What the hell??
This is crazy stuff, it's just crazy. Yes, they're not very long, but
they're still connected to the national railroad network. How can
somebody legitimately delete that's obviously there? Answer: they
can't.

and worst:

3) The majority of it is a rail-trail. And not y'know, two weedy ruts
from an ATV trespassing. No, this rail-trail has a stone dust base,
permissive gates (with a hole not big enough for an ATV), and tactile
crossings. This is a *serious* rail-trail.

And the railroad way that would be the trail got deleted. If you have
ever said "delete things you don't see", then you need to shut the
hell up, because you are making the map worse. Just stop!

When is it okay to delete things you can't see? Only if it's untouched
TIGER data and you've been there and didn't see it. That's the only
time. Otherwise somebody put that thing into OSM, and they probably
know something you don't.

--
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Re: stop deleting abandoned railroads

Andrew Wiseman
Hi Russ,

I would suggest you contact who is saying that or deleting it (if you can see who that is,) and talk to them, nicely, about your concerns. I bet it's just that people probably aren't familiar with the concept of abandoned railroads as a tag. If they don't see a railroad track where there's a railroad tag, they probably just delete it, thinking that's what you do. The unused: tag (or whatever you use) is not super well known, in my opinion.

From reading your message I am guessing you are quite familiar with railroads, but most people aren't. I've had a similar problem where people delete new buildings that are still empty lots on Bing. Not vandalism, just a
lack of understanding.

Andrew

Sent from my iTelegraph

On Aug 11, 2015, at 1:09 AM, Russ Nelson <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Okay, this has to stop. It just has to stop. Whoever is saying "Yes,
> go ahead and delete abandoned railroads wherever you don't see a
> railroad" has to stop it. They just HAVE to stop it, because people
> are using that advice to vandalize the map.
>
> Now, you might think "Goddamnit, does Russell have to start again?"
> Yes, I have to start again. I was in north-western Pennsylvania last
> weekend looking for the Corry Junction Rail Trail. Problem: it hasn't
> been entered into OSM yet. But that's not a problem, right? Because OF
> COURSE the railway is there, marked as abandoned, right? It isn't. And
> I couldn't find the damned trail because the Traillink description is
> inadequate. I finally just drove around where the trail HAD to be, and
> found it.
>
> This is unacceptable because:
>
> 1) on the bing aerials you can see where the railroad went perfectly
> fine. It's a line that goes through people's yards, there is a node
> from the TIGER data where it used to cross the roads, there is a tree
> line the whole way, buildings are aligned to the railbed, people's
> driveways bend out of the way of the railbed, etc.
>
> 2) THERE ARE STILL FREAKING RAILS ON THE SOUTH END. What the hell??
> This is crazy stuff, it's just crazy. Yes, they're not very long, but
> they're still connected to the national railroad network. How can
> somebody legitimately delete that's obviously there? Answer: they
> can't.
>
> and worst:
>
> 3) The majority of it is a rail-trail. And not y'know, two weedy ruts
> from an ATV trespassing. No, this rail-trail has a stone dust base,
> permissive gates (with a hole not big enough for an ATV), and tactile
> crossings. This is a *serious* rail-trail.
>
> And the railroad way that would be the trail got deleted. If you have
> ever said "delete things you don't see", then you need to shut the
> hell up, because you are making the map worse. Just stop!
>
> When is it okay to delete things you can't see? Only if it's untouched
> TIGER data and you've been there and didn't see it. That's the only
> time. Otherwise somebody put that thing into OSM, and they probably
> know something you don't.
>
> --
> --my blog is at    http://blog.russnelson.com
> Crynwr supports open source software
> 521 Pleasant Valley Rd. | +1 315-600-8815
> Potsdam, NY 13676-3213  |     Sheepdog      
>
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> talk mailing list
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Re: stop deleting abandoned railroads

Warin
On 11/08/2015 4:37 PM, Andrew Wiseman wrote:
Hi Russ,

I would suggest you contact who is saying that or deleting it (if you can see who that is,) and talk to them, nicely, about your concerns. I bet it's just that people probably aren't familiar with the concept of abandoned railroads as a tag. If they don't see a railroad track where there's a railroad tag, they probably just delete it, thinking that's what you do. The unused: tag (or whatever you use) is not super well known, in my opinion.

Appears to be a continuing problem. 
https://help.openstreetmap.org/questions/33455/what-happened-to-the-abandoned-railroads
In part it may arise from the OSM mantra 'tag what is on the ground'. 
If the abandoned railway is now a 'rail trail' then it should be tagged as a path/track, as that is what is on the ground. 

the tag is http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Tag:railway%3Dabandoned
and says "A tag to map former railways, where the rails have been removed but the route is still visible in some way.
If the rails are still in place use railway=disused instead."
That does lack any link to rail trial tagging... in fact OSM looks to lack any guide on 'rail trails'. 
 

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Re: stop deleting abandoned railroads

Christian Pietzsch
Hi
deleting abandoned railways if they are still clearly visible on the ground isn't okay.
Near my hometown we have one of these rail trails. http://www.openstreetmap.org/way/247337009
It has been a light rail track and now it is used as asphalt cycle way. As you can see it is tagged as railway=abandoned and as highway=cycleway and gets rendered as cycleway. So it seems the tagging and rendering should be fine for this kind of ways.
As Andrew already said, try to talk with the one who deleted the railways. In this case it might be a problem: http://www.openstreetmap.org/changeset/30174498
The person only made two changesets four months ago.

In the future the best practice might be:
  • Check who deleted the railway (for example using http://zverik.osm.rambler.ru/whodidit/)
  • try to contact the person (don't be harsh! allways try assume they made it by accident or lack of knowledge)
  • revert the changeset/part of the chagneset

Reverting the changeset without the permission of the the person might lead to an edit war so becareful.




2015-08-11 8:59 GMT+02:00 Warin <[hidden email]>:
On 11/08/2015 4:37 PM, Andrew Wiseman wrote:
Hi Russ,

I would suggest you contact who is saying that or deleting it (if you can see who that is,) and talk to them, nicely, about your concerns. I bet it's just that people probably aren't familiar with the concept of abandoned railroads as a tag. If they don't see a railroad track where there's a railroad tag, they probably just delete it, thinking that's what you do. The unused: tag (or whatever you use) is not super well known, in my opinion.

Appears to be a continuing problem. 
https://help.openstreetmap.org/questions/33455/what-happened-to-the-abandoned-railroads
In part it may arise from the OSM mantra 'tag what is on the ground'. 
If the abandoned railway is now a 'rail trail' then it should be tagged as a path/track, as that is what is on the ground. 

the tag is http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Tag:railway%3Dabandoned
and says "A tag to map former railways, where the rails have been removed but the route is still visible in some way.
If the rails are still in place use railway=disused instead."
That does lack any link to rail trial tagging... in fact OSM looks to lack any guide on 'rail trails'. 
 

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Re: stop deleting abandoned railroads

Andy Townsend
In reply to this post by Russ Nelson
On 11/08/2015 06:09, Russ Nelson wrote:
> Okay, this has to stop. ...

Here's what seems to have happened.  Via P1 undelete you can see:

http://www.openstreetmap.org/way/11896835/history

Someone's spotted that the TIGER way is iffy (via P1 it's possible to
see that it clearly was), and they're starting to draw it in more
accurately (in their next changeset, in fact).  Unfortunately that then
got deleted here by someone (who's now the subject of a long-term block):

http://www.openstreetmap.org/way/131281945/history

It got re-added a year ago:

http://www.openstreetmap.org/changeset/24647010

and deleted 4 months ago:

http://www.openstreetmap.org/way/259134943/history

by someone who's made exactly 2 edits to OSM, so I suspect this example
is a cockup rather than a conspiracy.  As everyone else has already
said, a changeset discussion comment saying "something appears to have
gone wrong; can I help" would surely be the way forward here?

Cheers,

Andy


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Re: stop deleting abandoned railroads

Frederik Ramm
In reply to this post by Russ Nelson
Hi,

On 08/11/2015 07:09 AM, Russ Nelson wrote:
> Now, you might think "Goddamnit, does Russell have to start again?"
> Yes, I have to start again. I was in north-western Pennsylvania last
> weekend looking for the Corry Junction Rail Trail. Problem: it hasn't
> been entered into OSM yet. But that's not a problem, right? Because OF
> COURSE the railway is there, marked as abandoned, right?

Errr... you are looking for a trail that follows an abandoned railway
line, and you complain that the abandoned railway line is missing from OSM?

If you were complaining that the trail isn't there then I'd understand,
and you'd have my full support for adding it. But complaining instead
that the abandoned railway isn't there...?

> 1) on the bing aerials you can see where the railroad went perfectly
> fine. It's a line that goes through people's yards, there is a node
> from the TIGER data where it used to cross the roads, there is a tree
> line the whole way, buildings are aligned to the railbed, people's
> driveways bend out of the way of the railbed, etc.

Yes, and therefore it is totally ok to map the buildings as they are,
the bent driveways, and other stuff that is there. This is not an excuse
to map an abandoned railway that isn't there.

I can understand that mapping historical railway lines is of interest to
some. I find it a very interesting topic myself, and I'd love to have a
project where I can simply say "give me the railway landscape as it was
in 1915". People who come up with a project to make that happen have my
respect. OpenStreetMap, however, is not that project.

> 2) THERE ARE STILL FREAKING RAILS ON THE SOUTH END. What the hell??
> This is crazy stuff, it's just crazy. Yes, they're not very long, but
> they're still connected to the national railroad network. How can
> somebody legitimately delete that's obviously there? Answer: they
> can't.

No, surely not, if there are actual rails on the ground then I'd say
they should be mapped. An abandoned railway line having some rails in
some places is not, however, sufficient reason to map the whole
abandoned railway line even where tracks are removed.

> 3) The majority of it is a rail-trail. And not y'know, two weedy ruts
> from an ATV trespassing. No, this rail-trail has a stone dust base,
> permissive gates (with a hole not big enough for an ATV), and tactile
> crossings. This is a *serious* rail-trail.

I see nothing against mapping this "rail-trail" as a proper track on OSM
if that's what it is today. Just not as an abandoned railway.

Anyone who maps the trail as an abandoned railway with an intended "side
meaning" of there also being a trail will risk this information to be
removed; map it as what it is, instead of what it was, and you'll be fine.

> And the railroad way that would be the trail got deleted.

Yes, the trail should have been mapped as a trail, not as a railroad.

> If you have
> ever said "delete things you don't see", then you need to shut the
> hell up, because you are making the map worse. Just stop!

Delete things you don't see (with some notable exceptions, abandoned
railways not being among them).

Bye
Frederik

--
Frederik Ramm  ##  eMail [hidden email]  ##  N49°00'09" E008°23'33"

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Re: stop deleting abandoned railroads

Greg Troxel

Frederik Ramm <[hidden email]> writes:

> No, surely not, if there are actual rails on the ground then I'd say
> they should be mapped. An abandoned railway line having some rails in
> some places is not, however, sufficient reason to map the whole
> abandoned railway line even where tracks are removed.

An abandoned line with some rails is almost certainly a topographical
feature, called "old railway grade" in the USGS topo maps.   I can see
your point where the only trace is lot shapes.  But I see a lot of
things where there is clearly a cut/fill topography and the railbed
itself is a feature on the ground.

Deleting something with a comment by someone who has actually been there
and looked is one thing.   I think Russ is objecting to remote
deletionists who aren't actually observing if there is a ground feature,
in a particular case when  Russ  knows full well there IS a ground
feature.

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Re: stop deleting abandoned railroads

Warin
In reply to this post by Frederik Ramm
On 11/08/2015 8:07 PM, Frederik Ramm wrote:

> Hi,
>
> On 08/11/2015 07:09 AM, Russ Nelson wrote:
>> Now, you might think "Goddamnit, does Russell have to start again?"
>> Yes, I have to start again. I was in north-western Pennsylvania last
>> weekend looking for the Corry Junction Rail Trail. Problem: it hasn't
>> been entered into OSM yet. But that's not a problem, right? Because OF
>> COURSE the railway is there, marked as abandoned, right?
> Errr... you are looking for a trail that follows an abandoned railway
> line, and you complain that the abandoned railway line is missing from OSM?
>
> If you were complaining that the trail isn't there then I'd understand,
> and you'd have my full support for adding it. But complaining instead
> that the abandoned railway isn't there...?

Say there is a railway line ...

OSM has it mapped

Then say the railway line becomes abandoned ...

I think OSM should retain the data and simply tag it as abandoned

Then say the abandoned railway line become a rail trail

Now OSM has the data of where the old railway line was .. and a simple
additional tag results in the addition!


I'd prefer to retain the data .. even if it is old. Untill such time as
new features are made on the ground.

Why?

Because the new features may chose to use some (if not all) properties
of the old features. And that would make the old data usefull for
entering the new data.


So, for me, I'd try to retain the data at least untill it is overwritten
by new data. The old data could be retagged abandoned:store=baker for
example. Won't be rendered but there for future use if wanted.


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Re: stop deleting abandoned railroads

dieterdreist
In reply to this post by Greg Troxel

2015-08-11 12:15 GMT+02:00 Greg Troxel <[hidden email]>:
An abandoned line with some rails is almost certainly a topographical
feature, called "old railway grade" in the USGS topo maps.   I can see
your point where the only trace is lot shapes.



+1, and even by the wiki these would not (if at all) mapped as railway=abandoned but as dismantled or sth like that (and this tag is maybe not to be used because dismantled (absent) features should not be mapped).

 
  But I see a lot of
things where there is clearly a cut/fill topography and the railbed
itself is a feature on the ground.


+1, looking only for tracks is too few. When the railbed is there it could be mapped with a railway tag IMHO.

cheers,
Martin

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Re: stop deleting abandoned railroads

lsces
In reply to this post by Warin
On 11/08/15 12:10, Warin wrote:
> I'd prefer to retain the data .. even if it is old. Untill such time as
> new features are made on the ground.

Which around here is new track being relaid ...
We had this debate recently on gb list over railway viaducts
disappearing because the line was removed ... some abandoned lines are
not open to public access, but their existence is still real even if the
actual rail has been removed.

--
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-----------------------------
Contact - http://lsces.co.uk/wiki/?page=contact
L.S.Caine Electronic Services - http://lsces.co.uk
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Rainbow Digital Media - http://rainbowdigitalmedia.co.uk

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Re: stop deleting abandoned railroads

Paul Johnson-3
In reply to this post by Frederik Ramm

On Tue, Aug 11, 2015 at 5:07 AM, Frederik Ramm <[hidden email]> wrote:
If you were complaining that the trail isn't there then I'd understand,
and you'd have my full support for adding it. But complaining instead
that the abandoned railway isn't there...?

They're often prominent features, especially in rural areas, as these can be highly visible decades after the land use changes, sometimes by something as subtle as how crops grow on them, due to the much higher soil compaction and use of herbicidal compounds to support  and keep the line clear when it was an active railroad and can be readily used to orient yourself to if you have a map of the area that makes note of it.  There's an inordinately large number of abandoned railroads in the panhandles of Texas and Oklahoma and adjacent parts of New Mexico, Colorado and Kansas (within my travels, what seems like about a 100+ mile wide swath from Gunnison, CO to Guymon, OK) that are north of 100 miles long that are sometimes not much more than a graded spot nothing grows on unless deliberately cultivated, and maybe not even then without some noticeable stunting.

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Re: stop deleting abandoned railroads

Russ Nelson
In reply to this post by Frederik Ramm
Frederik Ramm writes:
 > Hi,
 >
 > On 08/11/2015 07:09 AM, Russ Nelson wrote:
 > > If you have
 > > ever said "delete things you don't see", then you need to shut the
 > > hell up, because you are making the map worse. Just stop!
 >
 > Delete things you don't see (with some notable exceptions, abandoned
 > railways not being among them).

Yep. You're one of the people who needs to shut the hell up. I wasn't
going to name names -- thank you for fingering yourself as one of the
guilty parties. Thanks for your cooperation in ceasing this practice,
I really appreciate your help.

--
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Crynwr supports open source software
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Re: stop deleting abandoned railroads

Ian Dees

I appreciate that there are strong feelings about this topic, but we could certainly use more constructive language and have a civilized conversation. "You're one of the people that needs to shut the hell up" is not a great way to win hearts and minds and especially not a great representation of our community.

Please reconsider your approach here, Russ.

On Aug 13, 2015 1:01 AM, "Russ Nelson" <[hidden email]> wrote:
Frederik Ramm writes:
 > Hi,
 >
 > On 08/11/2015 07:09 AM, Russ Nelson wrote:
 > > If you have
 > > ever said "delete things you don't see", then you need to shut the
 > > hell up, because you are making the map worse. Just stop!
 >
 > Delete things you don't see (with some notable exceptions, abandoned
 > railways not being among them).

Yep. You're one of the people who needs to shut the hell up. I wasn't
going to name names -- thank you for fingering yourself as one of the
guilty parties. Thanks for your cooperation in ceasing this practice,
I really appreciate your help.

--
--my blog is at    http://blog.russnelson.com
Crynwr supports open source software
521 Pleasant Valley Rd. | <a href="tel:%2B1%20315-600-8815" value="+13156008815">+1 315-600-8815
Potsdam, NY 13676-3213  |     Sheepdog

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Re: stop deleting abandoned railroads

Warin
Snipped for PC below, meanings remain.

On 13/08/2015 9:30 PM, Ian Dees wrote:

I appreciate that there are strong feelings about this topic, but we could certainly use more constructive language and have a civilized conversation.

Passion is what can make a good mapper. But keep it in perspective people.

Please reconsider your approach here, Russ.

On Aug 13, 2015 1:01 AM, "Russ Nelson" <[hidden email]> wrote:
Frederik Ramm writes:
 > Hi,
 >
 > On 08/11/2015 07:09 AM, Russ Nelson wrote:
 > > If you have
 > > ever said "delete things you don't see", then
 > >  you are making the map worse. Just stop!
 >
 > Delete things you don't see (with some notable exceptions, abandoned
 > railways not being among them).

Yep. You're one of the people. I wasn't
going to name names -- thank you for fingering yourself as one of the
guilty parties. Thanks for your cooperation in ceasing this practice,
I really appreciate your help.

I have deleted things I did not see. For years I passed that spot and never saw these things....
One day I went there to do some mapping not just passing.. those thing I deleted .. they were there!!!!
So I put them back... but I hope I learnt a lesson.. if there is something in OSM;
I really should not deleted it/them.
I can change the tags, and certainly add notes, fixmes ... but not remove unless I'm absolutely certain that the information can never be used in the future!

For example a demolished building .. may have a new building built on the same spot .. with the same outline.
Leave the node data in OSM, change the tag building=yes to building=demolished (may not be rendered nor official OSM tagging) add a note as to who/why ..
and then if rebuilt change the tag back to building=yes... with a source tag please.
If the site has a different shaped building then the nodes will have to be changed, or the site gets used for something else .. then change it. But untill then leave the old data there.


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Re: stop deleting abandoned railroads

Ruben Maes
On Thursday 13 August 2015 21:54:39 Warin wrote:
> Leave the node data in OSM, change the tag building=yes to
> building=demolished (may not be rendered nor official OSM tagging) add a
> note as to who/why ..

I advocate using demolished:building=yes as described in https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Lifecycle_prefix. This is clearer for data consumers.

--

The field "from" of an email is about as reliable as the address written on the back of an envelope.

Use OpenPGP to verify that this message is sent by me. You can find my public key in the public directories, like pool.sks-keyservers.net.
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Re: stop deleting abandoned railroads

Mateusz Konieczny-2
In reply to this post by Warin
On Thu, 13 Aug 2015 21:54:39 +1000
Warin <[hidden email]> wrote:

> For example a demolished building .. may have a new building built on
> the same spot .. with the same outline.
> Leave the node data in OSM, change the tag building=yes to
> building=demolished (may not be rendered nor official OSM tagging)
> add a note as to who/why ..
> and then if rebuilt change the tag back to building=yes... with a
> source tag please.
> If the site has a different shaped building then the nodes will have
> to be changed, or the site gets used for something else .. then
> change it. But untill then leave the old data there.

This is a bad idea. Maybe [note=this building is demolished] to protect
against mapping from outdated aerial images may be OK.

But expecting data consumers displaying buildings to filter out
building=demolished, building=razed, building=proposed etc etc is a
really bad idea.


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Re: stop deleting abandoned railroads

dieterdreist
In reply to this post by Warin


sent from a phone

> Am 13.08.2015 um 13:54 schrieb Warin <[hidden email]>:
>
> Leave the node data in OSM, change the tag building=yes to building=demolished


the key building does follow some semantic rules, the value should be yes, no or a building type. Demolished is not a building type but a lifecycle state.

cheers,
Martin
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Re: stop deleting abandoned railroads

Ruben Maes
In reply to this post by Mateusz Konieczny-2
On Thursday 13 August 2015 15:10:14 Mateusz Konieczny wrote:

> On Thu, 13 Aug 2015 21:54:39 +1000
> Warin <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> > For example a demolished building .. may have a new building built on
> > the same spot .. with the same outline.
> > Leave the node data in OSM, change the tag building=yes to
> > building=demolished (may not be rendered nor official OSM tagging)
> > add a note as to who/why ..
> > and then if rebuilt change the tag back to building=yes... with a
> > source tag please.
> > If the site has a different shaped building then the nodes will have
> > to be changed, or the site gets used for something else .. then
> > change it. But untill then leave the old data there.
>
> This is a bad idea. Maybe [note=this building is demolished] to protect
> against mapping from outdated aerial images may be OK.
>
> But expecting data consumers displaying buildings to filter out
> building=demolished, building=razed, building=proposed etc etc is a
> really bad idea.
Or you use demolished:building=yes as I said an hour ago.

This is clearer than a note IMO,
allows to retain all tags of the demolished building for reference and
caters for potential data consumers interested in demolished buildings.

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Re: stop deleting abandoned railroads

max-2
In reply to this post by Russ Nelson
so here is a concrete example:

http://www.openstreetmap.org/edit#map=16/41.7971/-88.3293

there is a hole in the abandoned railway, which orgiginally was probably
going through. How would you map this?

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Re: stop deleting abandoned railroads

lsces
On 13/08/15 14:59, Max wrote:
> so here is a concrete example:
>
> http://www.openstreetmap.org/edit#map=16/41.7971/-88.3293
>
> there is a hole in the abandoned railway, which orgiginally was probably
> going through. How would you map this?

This is a perfect example of something which should be covered by OHM,
but a stop date on the abandoned track bed would flag that information.
The missing bit should have information somewhere that shows when it was
lifted and the new structures added. It would not surprise me if the
service road foundation was the old track bed anyway? What IS there
needs mapping ;)

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