Guide for mapping in Colombia
This guide was created to standardize the names, labels, classifications of roads, streets and roads in order to create a map of Colombia that is usable, detailed, clear and consistent.
Please do not use data that violates people's privacy or data from military or police zones.
DO NOT COPY DATA OR OTHER WEBSITES AS GOOGLE MAPS / IGAC ETC UNLESS YOU ARE AUTHORIZED TO DO SO.
Before mapping and editting in Openstreetmap it is good to read the OSM beginners guide ,the good practice guide, get to know the editing standards and conventions, and the limitations of armchair mapping.
Tags of roads in Colombia
- For street names use name=*. Do not use the tag ref=* for the name.
- Always use the full name of the streets. Do not use abbreviations.
- For streets that have more than one name use the semicolon as a separator.
- Always use the new street name. If you know the old name can record it with old_name=* label
name=Calle 77 name=Carrera 19A name=Diagonal 45 name=Avenida Chile; Avenida Calle 72 name=Autopista Norte; Avenida Carrera 20 old_name=Avenida 13
Although street classifications are well documented in Map_Features#Highway, the physical infrastructure of many roads is the same in Colombia and are therefore mapped according to their administrative authority.
- highway=motorway. These roads simply do not exist in Colombia. Even roads with local names containing the word "autopista" (motorway) do not meet the requirements for motorways. Roads tagged with this tag are therefore in error and should be fixed.
- highway=trunk. National trunk roads ("troncales" and "transversales") are defined by the Colombian Transport Ministry as primary roads which start at international border crossings and connect major state capitals and/or ports. Some mappers have extended the definition within cities to encompass major divided highways that have at least two lanes in each direction, traverse the entire city or connect major cities and are maintained either by Invias or through a state concession. Examples in Bogotá: NQS, Calle 80, Autopista Norte, Avenida Eldorado, Avenue of the Americas, Avenida Boyacá; in Medellin: Via Las Palmas (segment where it is a divided highway).
- highway=primary. National highways which are not defined as trunk. They connect major cities are are maintained by Invias (or a concession). Within cities, some mappers have extended this definition to encompass main roads interconnecting neighborhoods across the city. Examples in Bogotá: Carrera 7, Calle 68, Circunvalar, Avenida Cali.
- highway=secondary. Main roads connecting large towns which are maintained by state government. In urban areas, main streets in local areas. Examples in Bogota Carrera 15, Carrera 11, Calle 85, Calle 92, Calle 94
- highway=tertiary. In rural areas, these are roads connecting municipalities. Within cities, thee are minor streets through neighborhoods. Administered by the municipalities. Examples in Bogotá: Calle 86A, Calle 90
- highway=unclassified. Minor roads, often unpaved, that connect hamlets and administered by the municipalities. (“The word 'unclassified' is a historical artefact of the UK road system and does not mean that the classification is unknown; for roads where the classification is unknown to the mapper use highway=road.” (See highway=*).
- highway=living_street. No legislation exists in Colombia for comparable roads in other countries. Use of the tag in Colombia is therefore discouraged in the interest of maintaining tag semantics across countries.
- highway=track. Roads used mostly for agricultural or forestry reasons, that a 4 wheel vehicle or farm tractor could travel on.
- highway=path. This is for small paths that a 4 wheeled vehicle could not travel on and are usually used by people on foot or 2 wheeled vehicles. They may or may not connect settlements or lead to farm fields.
- National highways and other highways having been assigned an identifier by a government agency use ref=*. For example, the segments of National Highway 50 are tagged:
In cities, addresses in Colombia follow the format
[street name] # [number1] - [number2], e.g.
Calle 72 #7-12. The number sign (#) can be alternatively abbreviated as No.. In theory,
number1 refers to the previous intersecting street, and
number2 is the distance to that intersection. In the previous example, the address is on Calle 72, 12 meters away from Carrera 7. Of course, the real world does not fit the model so nicely, but that's the general idea. Example tagging for address: Kr 14 no. 67-23 in Bogotá
- addr:street=Carrera 14 Note: Do not abbreviate.
- addr:city=Bogotá D.C.
Outside of cities where streets aren't numbered, addresses can be expressed by stating the nearest milepost and the name of the road, e.g.
Km. 25 Autopista Medellín. Alternatively, a higher approximation can be given using meters, as in
Km 25+500, meaning 500 meters past milemarker 25. Since the addr=* schema doesn't quite work for these cases, addr:full=* can be used instead.
Additional tags that can be useful/necessary
- addr:housename=* For buildings, farms, schools that have an official or widely used name.
- addr:state=Cundinamarca Use state for departments .
- addr:province=Sabana Centro Some departments have provinces.
- addr:district=* List of districts in Colombia
When possible, you should add these tags to the area you draw for the building, using for example the building=residential. Sometimes more then one building has the same address, this happens with condominiums were a group of apartment buildings share the same front gate (and one address). In this case it is probably best to draw a polygon around the condo and tag as landuse=residential and then add a main entrance node on the line of the polygon with tags entrance=private and the address details. Additionally you can then draw the buildings and tag them building=apartments but do not also add the address tags to them.
Postcodes were introduced recently in Colombia. Although not widespread used yet, it is worthwhile to add them to OSM. Postcodes contain six digits, the first two being the department, the next the two postal zone, and the last two the postal district. All postcodes and their district boundaries can be found here. They can be added to the address using; addr:postcode=xxxxxx.
|Norte de Santander||54xxxx|
|San Andrés y Providencia||88xxxx|
|Valle del Cauca||76xxxx|
Mass transit bus
Public transport can be mapped using the general guide lines
- For bus lines that have their own closed street like the Transmilenio in Bogotá use labels:
- The stop is a node between the two lanes of Transmilenio with tags:
- The station (where users access the bus) can be mapped using:
- The label for the portal is:
amenity=bus_station name=Portal 80
Generally the global guide can be used for mapping bike lanes
- Add cycleway=lane to highway=*. A cycle lane that lies within the roadway and is generally not separated by more then a marking on the road.
For cycleways that lie separated (by grass, kerb etc.) from the road there are two conventions in use at the moment in Colombia (and the rest of the world).
- Create a separate track next to the road and use highway=cycleway. This is useful because it often allows for more details but can cost more time then the second option.
- Add cycleway=track to exciting road.
Often cycle ways have different directions then the part of the road used by cars. The general wiki provides a good guide for all different possibilities.
In many major cities in Colombia, certain roads are closed to motorized traffic on Sunday mornings for the citizens to bike, walk and exercise (see Wikipedia).
Use conditional restrictions to tag these restrictions. For example:
access:motor_vehicle:conditional=no @ Su 0700-1400 access:bicycle:conditional=yes @ Su 0700-1400 access:foot:conditional=yes @ Su 0700-1400
In Bogotá, for example, the roads that are closed on Sunday morning can be found on the website of the IDRD .
One can also think about creating a relation between all the ways that make up that section of the route. For example, all ways that make up the route of Ciclovía on Calle 147 in Bogotá are in a relation. More information about relations and how to make routes using them.
Be careful with the name tag. The name of the rivers does not include the word Rio. For example: name=Rio Magdalena is incorrect. Better is:
Nor is it necessary to label in another language e.g. name:en=Magdalena River. It is a mistake because:
- The word river does not belong to the name
- Magdalena is written the same in Spanish and in English.
They also may include other labels to add important information.