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Public Rights of Way Progress Tool Help

Data Updates

All the The information and reports in the tool are all based on live data from its internal database.

The OSM data in the internal database updated on a rolling parish-by-parish basis, which takes a couple of weeks to cycle through all the parishes. You can see the last update date for any parish at the bottom of its parish page. (Faster updates, usually within half-an-hour, can be requested by clicking on the "Add parish to priority update queue" button on the parish page.)

Official Rights of Way GIS data comes from each Surveying Authority (usually a county council or unitary authority). The date for each authority can be found on the main tool page. I update my data when I see that there's a new dataset available on Some authorities provide regular updates proactively. Others have to be asked for updates individually. Please let me know if you know of a more recent dataset being available, or you'd like a update for one that hasn't been updated for a while.

Main Page

The main page of the progress tool can be found at It contains a list of the counties that are currently being processed by the tool, and some summary information about the progress in each one.

County Page View

There is a page for each Surveying Authority (County Council, Outer London Borough, or Unitary Authority) that has been loaded in to the tool (e.g. Norfolk). This page provides a summary table, breaking down the county/area by district.

District Page View

For convenience, each Surveying Authority's area is split into districts. For counties, we use the local government districts. For unitary authorities, we just have a single district covering the whole area. Each district page (e.g. Breckland) contains a map of the district showing the parishes, where each parish is coloured according to its completion in OSM. A summary table is also provided showing information about the status of the Rights of Way mapping in each parish.

Parish Page View

Rights of Way are typically recorded by Parish in the official records of each Surveying Authority. Some work with a different system, and some continue to list Rights of Way by their historic parishes, which may not always correspond with the current local government parishes. In this tool, we usually stick to the parishes (or other areas) used in the official records.

Each parish/area page shows:

PRoW tag checks

OSM ways that are recognised as Rights of Way (either through an appropriate designation=* tag or any prow_ref=* tag) have their designation=* and prow_ref=* tags checked for appropriate values and consistency. The results are shown on the relevant parish page (under the 'Errors and omissions in PRoW tags' heading), and the number of errors in each parish is also shown in the table on the district page.

The issues that are flagged are as follows:

Access tag checks

OSM ways that are recognised as Rights of Way and contain a matching prow_ref tag are also checked for appropriate modal access tags. Any errors or omissions found are shown on the relevant parish page (under the 'Errors and omissions in access tags' heading), and the number of errors in each parish is also shown in the table on the district page.

Currently the tool checks for the presence of positive access for foot, bicycle, horse, horse-drawn_vehicle and motor_vehicle modes where these are permitted on the Right of Way. These access modes may be tagged explicitly or implied by higher-level modes (e.g. access implies everything, vehicle implies motor_vehicle, horse-drawn_vehicle and bicycle). Positive access values recognised are yes, designated, and official.

Right of WayFoot
(led or ridden)
Bicycles Non-motorised
foothorse bicyclevehiclemotor_vehicle
Public Footpath
Public Bridleway
Restricted Byway
Byway Open to All Traffic

For full details of the default implied access values for different types of Rights of Way see the PRoW Access Table.

Note that sometimes additional private or public rights will exist (e.g. for cycleways in urban areas, or Rights of Way that coincide with a Public Highway). The tool does not currently flag ways with extra rights above what would be implied by the Public Right of Way.

Also, a Traffic Regulation Order may be used to restrict some access (e.g. to ban motor vehicles from a Byway Open to All Traffic). These will be flagged as errors, though if a traffic_regulation_order=* tag is present, these will be marked in the parish lists, and omitted from the error counts in the district tables.

OSM Mapping Status & Consistency Checks

The OSM Mapping status is manually maintained by users who have been granted permission to do so. It records the degree to which each Right of Way have been correctly mapped and tagged in OpenStreetMap. The codes/symbols shown in the tool have the following meanings:

0 Unknown mapping status.
1 Route unmapped/untagged in OSM.
2+ Route partially mapped and tagged in OSM.
3x Mapped route in OSM does not follow Definitive Line.
4* Route completely mapped and tagged in OSM, and follows the Definitive Line.
5o Route completely mapped and tagged in OSM, follows the definitive line, and surrounding field boundaries and barriers (gates, stiles etc.) are mapped too.
−1· No mapping required in OSM because the route should not exist.

I decided that it would be too difficult to determine the mapping status automatically, but the tool does check to see if its data is consistent with the manually entered status. Warnings are shown if inconsistencies are found. The status values are highlighted on the parish page, and the Rights of Way are listed in the tables on the "Rights of Way that may need status updates" pages that are available for each parish and district.