Nodular barrier=fence

Hi everyone!

I’d like to discuss the current usage of the barrier=fence tag on nodes. While I understand the general logic behind restricting this mapping approach in the current version of OSM wiki page, I recently encountered a specific case in my hometown that made me question this restriction.

In my city, there was a municipal program a few years ago aimed at fencing municipal buildings, resulting in the blocking of many existing roads, paths, and footways with fences. Here are two examples:

Photos (click for more details)

I have come up with some mapping approaches acceptable to the Wiki and validators for such situations, such as splitting the road lines or using barrier=yes with explicit access=no. However, in my opinion, it could also be a logical option to add explicit barrier=fence with access=no to the road node, and here’s why:

  • The road itself still remains continuous; the only change is the presence of a barrier - fence in this case (but the ‘road’ definition may be questionable in this context, though). IMO it’s similar to other barriers like jersey barriers or blocks on the road, which are acceptable when mapped as nodes without splitting the road.

  • Satellite imagery often makes it difficult to distinguish between gates and fences in such cases. By explicitly tagging the node as barrier=fence, we can prevent potential misinterpretation and avoid connecting divided roads or adding non-existent gates.

From my perspective, using nodular tagging for fences in such situations makes sense and better reflects the physical reality. It’s worth noting that there are more than 10k existing nodes with the barrier=fence tag. While most of them might not be relevant to this specific use case and probably were added mistakenly, I believe some have been used in similar scenarios.

What do you think about this?

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