Proposed features/Aerodrome

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Status: Draft (under way)
Proposed by: Jgpacker
Tagging: aerodrome=*
Applies to: NodeArea
Definition: Used for classification of aeroway=aerodrome
Drafted on: 2014-07-24

This key is used to classify the importance and purpose of an aerodrome. Used with aeroway=aerodrome.


aeroway=aerodrome is used to tag just about anything that could be considered an airport, landing strip, aerodrome, airstrip, etc. These all fall very nicely within the ICAO definition for aerodrome: "A defined area on land or water (including any buildings, installations, and equipment) intended to be used either wholly or in part for the arrival, departure, and surface movement of aircraft."

This leaves us with the problem of differentiating between different types of aerodromes. They are very diverse in their size, use, and importance. Pilots may be interested in available landing facilities, passengers may be interested in the availability of flights, and town planners may be interested in the physical size and amount of traffic an airport has.

Enter the aerodrome=* tag. Mappers started this instead of the more ambiguous type=* (which is now commonly used to define Relation:multipolygon types).

type=* still has some (historic) traction

Mappers have started to use either aerodrome=* or the much more specific aerodrome:type=*. There are nevertheless many aerodromes that still use a combination of aeroway=aerodrome with type=*

   public: 2349
   multipolygon: 284
   military: 281
   civil: 232
   private: 173
   military/public: 68
   public;military: 38
   non-public: 37
   destination_sign: 30
   joint (civil and military): 25
   civil / military: 22
   joint: 13
   public/military: 13
   civilian: 10
   public / military: 10
   airstrip: 8

To make this list shorter, all the values that appeared less than 6 times were removed, and values that were different only because of some letter's case were "merged". This analysis was done on 2014-07-24.


It is proposed that type=* and aerodrome:type=* be replaced by aerodrome=*. This will clear up ambiguity, and also assist renderers and others in prioritising and determining the importance of an aerodrome.

See also the comparison of the keys aerodrome=* and aerodrome:type=*:


  • aerodrome=public for a public use airport (one that is available for use by the general public without a requirement for prior approval of the owner or operator) (public aerodrome provided with facilities to support aircraft operations and the embarking and disembarking of passengers and cargo);
  • aerodrome=private for a private use airport (usually owned by a company and often offering specialized flying services that are not intended for humans transportation, such as agricultural operations)
  • aerodrome=airsport: clubs where aircraft is used mostly for entertainment, and sometimes for informal teaching
    • There are some airsport clubs that don't have their own aerodrome, and share a public one, so perhaps this could be marked with another key.

Tagging a military aerodrome

If an aerodrome is exclusively used by a military station, then add the tag military=airfield to the aerodrome

If it is only partially used by a military station, then simply add landuse=military to the military areas (example)

Tagging an international aerodrome

Currently there is a considerable number of aerodromes marked as aerodrome=international. They seem to represent a public use aerodrome that has regular flights to other countries.

However the tag doesn't guarantee the aerodrome is public, and users are encouraged to note this information using another tag. Example:

  • international_flights=yes to indicate whether there are regular international flights (usually such an aerodrome will have physical facilities for dealing with customs and passport control, besides having those facilities operational).
    • Perhaps another key could be created indicating the flight range of flights regularly arriving in the aerodrome. (flights_range=international/continental/domestic/regional)

We could also reuse tagging from railway stations - maybe not all of them have sense (I marked them with *), but it's good to not reinvent tagging for similar objects:


Those are already used in our database. - Kocio (talk) 12:17, 18 March 2016 (UTC)