In late 2021 the Trails Working Group was formed bringing together stakeholders to improve trail tagging throughout the US to reduce traffic on “social trails” or trails whose use is discouraged or illegal. The use of social trails is well documented in certain areas however the entire coverage and extent throughout the US is not well documented with limited research to fully understand all aspects of the problem. To support trail tagging clean-up efforts a team of Locana trail enthusiasts set out to research the full extent of official trails vs. social trails in certain areas throughout the US. Using official US government trail layers and OSM trails data we examined geometry, topology, and tagging schemas to identify differences helping improve data while keeping hikers safe on maintained paths. Our goal is to provide factual data to support communications and outreach for improving data while testing a technical approach to help identify and fix tags throughout the country.
The OpenStreetMap US Trails Stewardship Initiative is a collaboration of government, volunteer, and private sector stakeholders working to address issues in trail mapping, outdoor recreation, and public land management. Our work includes tagging guidelines for trails and rendering recommendations for public apps.
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The flexible data schema of OSM lends itself to a questionable data quality, which is often highlighted by people with limited knowledge about the OSM. Map errors in OSM are most often...