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Available languages — Key:smoothness
Public-images-osm logo.svg smoothness
Jena Track roots.jpg
Provide a classification scheme regarding the physical usability of a way for wheeled vehicles.
Group: Properties
Used on these elements
should not be used on nodesmay be used on waysmay be used on areasuse on relations unspecified
Useful combination
Status: ApprovedPage for proposal

smoothness provides a classification scheme regarding the physical usability of a way for wheeled vehicles, particularly regarding surface regularity/flatness. Usability by a particular type of vehicle means that the vehicle can traverse the route without significant risk of damage (e.g., to vehicle undercarriage/drivetrain) or injury (e.g., by falling). The tag can be applied to all driveable ways and areas: highway=*, parking areas, beaches, etc.

tracktype=* is also an important surface property and refers to surface firmness, regardless of shape.

surface=* refers to surface material and sometimes to material structure. It may suggest a surface smoothness sometimes, but because the same surface material/structure can exhibit various shapes, it is still advisable to add smoothness=*.



Key Value Element Usable by Rendering Photo
smoothness excellent Mf way.png Mf area.png (thin_rollers) roller blade, skate board and all below Highway secondary-photo.jpg
smoothness good Mf way.png Mf area.png (thin_wheels) racing bike and all below Bus prumyslova.jpg
smoothness intermediate Mf way.png Mf area.png (wheels) city bike, sport cars, wheel chair, Scooter and all below Map feature ford.jpg
smoothness bad Mf way.png Mf area.png (robust_wheels) trekking bike, normal cars, Rickshaw and all below Smoothnessverybad.jpg
smoothness very_bad Mf way.png Mf area.png (high_clearance) Car with high clearance, light-duty off road vehicles Mountain-track1.jpg
smoothness horrible Mf way.png Mf area.png (off_road_wheels) heavy-duty off road vehicles and all below Jena Trackexample profile.jpg
smoothness very_horrible Mf way.png Mf area.png (specialized_off_road_wheels) tractor, ATV, tanks, trial, Mountain bike and all kind of off-highway vehicles (see also mtb:scale=*) Mountain-track5.jpg
smoothness impassable Mf way.png Mf area.png No wheeled vehicle (see also sac_scale=*) Smoothness impassable.JPG

Please note: Photos are examples ONLY ! Because the smoothness of a way should be assessed solely based on whether the way is usable by the vehicles mentioned above. This is my whole point: as a user of a certain road or path I am only interested whether I can drive on this road or not.

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


This tag isn't in use on the renderers at, but Hiking/openhikingmap and the Motorcycle map of Romania are using "surface" and "smoothness" to depict real state of roads.

In developing countries, the HDM model is using some values of smoothness=* to help define road quality.


It is clear from discussion on the mailing lists that a major part of the community does not like this key, based on the guideline of Verifiability. Please have a look at the discussion page and the mailing-list (thread starting at [1], contiued at [2]) and make up your own mind. As always on OSM you are free to use the keys you like in the way you like! Use the page Talk:Proposed features/Smoothness for the controversy details. Please help improving the tagging of roads by posting constructive comments to Proposed_features/surface_unification.

  • The key could be made more verifiable changing the values to thin_rollers, thin_wheels, wheels, robust_wheels, high_clearance, off_road_wheels and specialized_off_road_wheels. (See Proposed_features/usability) for a transition.)

See also