RfC: Highway=Scramble

A “highway=scramble” is similar to a “highway=path”, but it is lacking in some ways. Most eminently, the trail is not continuously visible on the ground, especially when it passes over bare rock or blocky scree for example. Yet, people commonly manage to follow along, by looking at markers, cairns, take time for orienteering, spotting the continuation a bit further, consulting with a guide, and so on. It takes a bit of training. Second most eminently, in contrast to a “highway=path” a “highway=scramble” may and will comprise non-walkable sections, where using ones hands is required to get along. In some cases, ropes will be beneficial, if not necessary.

Useful combinations are: sac_scale=*, trail_visibility=*, assisted_trail=*, trail_blazed=*, scramble=grade*, climbing:grade:uiaa=*, and so on.

Scrambling combines hiking and climbing into an activity, where the goal is to traverse or reach points of interest in terrain that is neither welcoming to walking without first becoming knowledgeable of both the route and the area. Eventual climbs are not so spectacular as to merit mapping them as a climbing route. Scrambling calls for a diverse set of skills yet rarely requires extensive preparations. Good boots mostly will do, as fas as technical equipment is concerned. It is exercised in leisure time by a number of people.

Difficulties preferably get attributed in the spirit of the SAC scale for whole sections of a scramble at easily reproducible waypoints, e.g. where ways branching or at intermediate goals, in order to have them discoverable in overview renderings.

Which brings us to: Rendering: It is highly unlikely, that the standard map will render “highway=scramble” any time soon. Special maps or smartphone apps geared towards hikers can easily add rendering, if treating the same as “highway=path” and applying their usual styling that knows some of the attributes used in combination already. With enough adoption of the tag, micro-mapping facilities should come to life, that renderers can use to decorate noteworthy waypoints in scrambles with useful icons.

Description is copied from “RfC: Sport=Mountaineering” with only little changes and some additions. During the discussion there, I learned that my hearts desire actually goes for something more mundane, a “Here the fun begins” tag. Reading up on the Selvaggio Blu in Sardegna, a bit more research later I found Walk up Snowdon in Wales, and immediately found myself at home.

Currently, scrambles here get mapped with the “highway=path” tag. Alone in the area of my local knowledge I know of several. During the discussion on mountaineering I also learned, that “path” not only often does not fit, but actually stands in the way of mapping scrambles reasonable.

Therefore the idea, to propose “highway=scramble” as a base tag. Please share your thoughts!

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Ce sujet de discussion accompagne la publication sur https://community.openstreetmap.org/t/rfc-highway-scramble/2496