US Forest Service Roads

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US Forest Service Roads

Postby vectorspace » Mon Apr 29, 2013 2:12 am

I was going to revisit US Forest Service roads now, after catching up on a few things. This topic was brought up at the 2013 Meetup, where Ehud indicated he wanted detail there.

There are a lot of roads in NM like this and many more across the US. I know some people in the USFS in DC and am planning to ask for standards and detail. Has anyone else acquired such information, or asked?
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Re: US Forest Service Roads

Postby PhantomSoul » Mon Apr 29, 2013 4:41 am

Um, many of these roads are not maintained when it snows, since many are dirt or gravel roads. In such cases, their use can be downright dangerous. Is Waze equipped to handle that if we use such roads for navigation?

If we don't want to navigate through forest service roads, it seems they should just be of type private road then, no?
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Re: US Forest Service Roads

Postby doctorkb » Mon Apr 29, 2013 4:44 am

Dirt / 4x4 type could be used... That should allow people to specify if they want to be on there...
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Re: US Forest Service Roads

Postby vectorspace » Mon Apr 29, 2013 4:55 am

I imagine exactly how to represent them consistently would be a topic of conversation here. My initial interest is getting the data and naming conventions from a good source at USFS.

In my experience, many of theses roads on the map are of type street. Few are dirt roads. Some are actually paved, many very well maintained dirt roads to the point they are essentially streets to locals, and some not well maintained. I would hope to get that kind of data, but wonder if someone here already obtained it.
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Re: US Forest Service Roads

Postby Daknife » Mon Apr 29, 2013 5:03 am

I'm with Phantomsoul on this. Ehud isn't native to the US, I don't think he realizes how widely the quality of these often so called roads varies. Some are highly maintained during the warm months, and some even get maintained as snowmobile trails during the winter. Some might get a pass over with a grader every couple years and some are barely even mtn goat trails.

Further, out here in the West/Southwest/Mountainwest there is a long history of people getting into trouble because they followed a route their GPS gave them. (Once or twice a year) These events have resulted in deaths. As such I strongly disagree with mapping these roads. Additionally in many areas where we find these roads there is NO cell signal (let alone data) for MILES and thus the usability of Waze greatly diminishes. Let's stick to getting the actual road system mapped and working correctly, and get a working unimproved road option built into the mapping system before we even begin thinking about mapping these roads.

"4X4/Dirt" covers too wide a range of roads, trails, deer trails and hints of paths, to be trying to map these roads.

I don't delete such roads that actually have official FS names from the basemap, but quite often I delete unnamed roads going through the wilderness.
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Re: US Forest Service Roads

Postby PhantomSoul » Mon Apr 29, 2013 5:20 am

I don't mind mapping forest roads, but I think it could be dangerous routing people on them if they don't understand what kind of roads they are. As far as naming conventions, they're usually along the lines of "FS" followed by some number, but maybe some of the better developed ones that actually connect settlements might also have local "word" names.

The "street" type is probably from the base data import, since it seems like anything that wasn't some sort of highway or another was funneled into being type "street"

I get it about wanting to come up with a standard, and it will be interesting to see what develops. I just wanted to point out that many of these roads, particularly out west, can be dangerous for the typical kind of navigation that Waze appears to be targeting.
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Re: US Forest Service Roads

Postby jemay » Mon Apr 29, 2013 5:40 am

I have done several things.
1) In Washington a few of the Forest Service Roads are paved and are on the maps as main routes (and Noted as closed in winter) And yes I would drive those roads with a RV or with any car! The locals call the road one thing, but they are numbered.
2) If they are dirt I changed the street to 4x4/dirt. I know quite a few roads that do get service. As daknife pointed out a lot more do not have coverage. But with the capabilities of cashing the maps I do believe they should be mapped

So we can set a standard for FS roads and Maps that we could utilize that would be great! I do know that the base map has a lot of old FS roads that have been decommissioned so we can then delete the appropriate ones and keep the ones that are usable (even if they are 4x4)

Note: In my teen years, I had a route to a friends place that I knew of two possible routes, one route takes the main roads or the other route was FS roads (paved) and the FS road was the faster route!
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Re: US Forest Service Roads

Postby nnote » Mon Apr 29, 2013 8:05 pm

I mapped or corrected a number of trails, marking them 4x4/Dirt. Some of them only a modified Jeep could pass. I would bet a large number of them dont even have cell or data service, but the real reason I made them correct is for the possibility of getting someone OUT, not into the area. Some of the un-named ones I renamed to "South to Hwy" or "West to the Powerlines" etc.
At this point in technology, we have waze as it is, and cell/data service as it is. What if in 3 years satalitte cell/data is commonplace and cheap? Waze would be way ahead of the game if all the offroad and deep mountain paths were mapped where signals could reach with future tech.
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Re: US Forest Service Roads

Postby AndyPoms » Mon Apr 29, 2013 8:14 pm

As a result of the US Meetup, the "Dirt Road/4x4 Trail" is officially only for roads that a normal car (i.e. the family sedan) can drive on. The type will be renamed "Unpaved Road" in the near future. There was also talk of adding a "4x4" or "Off-Road" type.

Of course, there was a later discussing in the forums to make "Unpaved" a checkbox instead (and using the other road types) and renaming the exisintg type to be simply "4x4/Offroad".

HOWEVER, both plans consisted of taking the existing "Dirt Road/4x4 Trail" and making them the type that a sedan could drive on and ADDING support for things like a "modified Jeep".

This reminds me, there are bunch of things that weren't followed up on from the meetup... Off to make another post...
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Re: US Forest Service Roads

Postby vectorspace » Wed May 01, 2013 3:55 am

Thanks for the replies and great input. I think I understand everyone's points, and am really not biased toward a particular solution/approach at this point. I do think we should map the roads that are paved and well maintained as at least streets. After that I think this community can come up with the right approach.

I used to travel a lot of USFS roads in northern Wisconsin as a under-age driver (which you can do easily in a place with a population density of one person per 100 square miles or so) to explore, hunt, and have fun. The condition of the roads is definitely seasonal for some roads. On the other hand, some roads are so important that they are maintained well year-round.

I've made contact with the USFS and should be able to talk to a couple of their road engineers soon. I have a good friend that has been a tanker base manager in a number of regions in the SW and is in DC now that is helping. Hopefully I can get resources and advice from them and will post here. There are a lot online resources I've already cataloged.

My first focus is on standard naming conventions and a source of data on the status of roads that we might use for reference. If anyone has questions I should ask, post here or send me a PM.
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