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Available languages — Key:advertising
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Public-images-osm logo.svg advertising
Picadilly Circus London by night 2006.jpg
To characterize all types of advertising devices
Group: Advertising
Used on these elements
may be used on nodesmay be used on waysmay be used on areasmay be used on relations
Status: De factoPage for proposal


Used to describe advertising devices.

Outdoor advertising devices have many different forms and aspects, and they are visible by everybody in landscape.
They participate to the economic life of a site, and are necessary for trade and industry.
They can play a role of landmark and be used by people to orientate in the (urban) landscape.
But their many can generate 'visual pollution' and badly transform the landscape, by intruding their commercial messages into public space.
In any case, they play an important role in defining what a particular site or area really looks like.
For all these reasons, it is legitimate to have them into OSM.

Key Value Comment Icon Photo
advertising billboard Advertising billboard (also called a hoarding) is a large outdoor advertising structure, typically found in high-traffic areas such as alongside busy roads : either supported by a wall, or grounded and supported by one pole (or several poles). The size is an important characteristic. A billboard can be lit different ways, can be animated different ways ... Several attributes enable to fully characterize it.
Legaal aanplakken.jpg
AdvertisingBillboard 043.jpg
AdvertisingBillboardGrounded 006.jpg
advertising board Small billboard for neighborhood advertising, generally intended for pedestrians, but some of them can be along roads. Some of them are open to any fly posters, and not private.
IMG 6076.JPG
IMG 6094.JPG
advertising poster_box Dedicated box, around 1.15 m width * 1.80 m high, for putting up posters, generally with two faces, generally lit by transmission, sometimes animated.

Sometimes called 'lollylop' or 'snowshoe'.
Same kind of advertising poster box is found in numerous transit shelters.

AdvertisingTransitShelter 002.jpg
advertising totem Advertising totems are generally rectangular devices, around 1 meter width, and 6.5 meter high (up to 8 meter high). Generally implemented in the entrance of a place, or on the place where a commercial, craft, industrial activity takes place, to announce this activity. It is a form of advertising sign. Grounded, they can be lit, and they can be animated for example with digital prices for gas station. Very common advertising device.
AdvertisingTotem 004.jpg
AdvertisingTotem 003.jpg
advertising column Advertising column, initially 'the Morris' column, are cylindrical outdoor structures with a characteristic style that are mostly used for advertising of theathers, movies, concerts, artistic performances, and other purposes. Mostly found in urban environment. Generally lit by transmission, sometimes revolving.
Morris Column
advertising flag Advertising flag on mast

man_made=flagpole and advertising=flag

Banners of XXXV Polish Film Festival in Gdynia 2010 - 2.jpg
advertising sign Advertising sign, found on roof or facade of commercial building, to advertise activity being hold into the building.
When Does the Match Start^ - - 1193161.jpg
advertising screen Advertising screen.
Advertising Sign, Piccadilly Circus, London W1 - - 1098037.jpg
advertising sculpture Advertising sculpture, or any advertising object in 3D.
Old Street Landmark.jpg
advertising wall_painting Advertising wall painting.
Levi Strauss sign.JPG
advertising tarp Advertising on tarp, either on scaffolfing, or wall tarp. They are exceptional size advertising devices.
AdvertisingTarp 007.jpg

This table is a wiki template with a default description in English. Editable here.

Tag Values

Can apply on node Mf node.svg, ways Mf way.svg, areas Mf area.svg, relations Mf Relation.svg.

Generally speaking, the first-level attribute should be man_made=advertising, but this tag is not mandatory.


  • support=* - indicates what supports the advertising device.
  • size=* - indicates the size of the advertising device including the frame, but without the support (pole, post, mast, ...). Size is provided with two parameters separated with a * : length*height. Dimensions are given in meter.
  • height=* - the total height of the advertising object, including the support.
  • lit=* - indicates if the advertising device is lit.
  • luminous=* - indicates if the advertising device is luminous, i.e. if it emits some light.
  • animated=* - indicates if the advertising device is animated, and the way it is animated.
  • sides=* - gives the number of sides of the advertising device, default is 1. Number of sides should not be confused with the the number of faces. A 'face' is a single poster which is displayed, and when there are animated devices with winding posters, the number of faces is the number of different posters which are displayed, one after another. Then, different faces can be displayed on a single side.
  • operator=* - the company that operates the billboard.
  • message=* - gives indication on the type of message displayed.
  • ref=* - can be used to add a (e.g. registration) number, useful in some areas where a formal permit is required to set up advertising devices. There might be on each device a fixed plate which is inscribed the name of the company and the network to which it belongs (if any) and the registration number of the device.
  • orientation=* - orientation of the advertising device with respect to the flow of vehicles or passerby.
  • visibility=* - visibility of the advertising device.

Suggested combinations

In some cases it might be useful to have one or more of the following tags attached to further describe the advertising object.

  • brand=* - brand
  • width=* - the width of the advertising object. The width must rather be thought as the thickness.
  • informal=yes - can be added for advertising in areas where formal permit would be required but the object was mounted without this permit.
  • landmark=*
  • visibility=* - see amenity=clock
  • level=* - to define if the billboard is underground use -1 (i.e. for subway advertising)
  • doublesided=yes - to indicate that the advertising device has two faces. The use of sides=2 should be preferred.
  • direction=* - to indicate the orientation of the advertising device. The use of orientation=* is different, as it indicates the orientation of the advertising devices with respect to the flow of vehicles or passerby.

advertising=yes could be added for bus stops (amenity=bus_station) that have advertising on them (or with benches amenity=bench). But to be able to fully characterize the advertising device, it is preferable to add one OSM node on the transit shelter, and add advertising characteristics on this supplementary node.


OSM2World renders billboards (with direction=*), columns and man_made=flagpole.


This icone should appear with a large zoom : Pub panneau.p.32.png ([File:Panneau.svg Version SVG] from

Other icones suggestions for advertising billboards :

  • Advertising billboard on trunk : Billboard trunk.svg [File:Billboard_trunk.svg]
  • Advertising billboard on poles : Billboard legs.svg [File:Billboard_legs.svg]
  • Advertising billboard on wall : Billboard wall.svg [File:Billboard_wall.svg]
  • Advertising poster box : Poster box.svg [File:Poster_box.svg]
  • Advertising poster box on transit shelter : Poster box shelter.svg [File:Poster_box_shelter.svg]
  • Advertising totem : Totem.svg [File:Totem.svg]
  • Advertising board : Board.svg [File:Board.svg]
  • Free advertising board : Board free.svg [File:Board_free.svg]
  • Indication board : Indication.svg [File:Indication.svg]

JOSM style suggestion

See : Advertising Style
This style enables to visualize various types of advertising devices while editing them into JOSM.

See Also