Proposed features/advertising

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Status: Proposed (under way)
Proposed by: dieterdreist
Tagging: advertising=*
Applies to: node,area
Definition: for all types of advertising devices
Drafted on:
Proposed on: 2011-05-07
RFC start: 2011-05-07
Vote start: *
Vote end: *

Proposed key

This is a proposal for a new key advertising=* to tag advertising devices.

As of 2016-04, the proposed key has reached over 20000 uses. The feature pages have been marked as De Facto usage.


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.

Proposed Tagging

Applies to nodes Mf node.svg, do not apply to ways Mf way.svg, can apply to areas Mf area.svg and do not apply to relations Mf Relation.svg.

Tag Values


Used to describe advertising devices

Key Value Comment Icon Photo
advertising billboard billboard
A billboard advertising=billboard, which is lit (lit=yes)
advertising poster_box Designated board for putting up posters
advertising column Advertising columns
Morris Column
advertising flag Flagpole

man_made=flagpole and advertising=flag

Banners of XXXV Polish Film Festival in Gdynia 2010 - 2.jpg
advertising sign Advertising signs, also neon signs (use luminous) and logos
When Does the Match Start^ - - 1193161.jpg
advertising screen Advertising Screens
Advertising Sign, Piccadilly Circus, London W1 - - 1098037.jpg
advertising sculpture Advertising sculptures
Old Street Landmark.jpg
advertising wall_painting Advertising wall paintings
Levi Strauss sign.JPG

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


  • luminous=* - the object is light emitting, e.g. neon lights
  • animated=* - the object is animated
  • display_type=led/lcd/plasma
  • revolving=* - the object is turning. Interessting for columns, but probably for other objects, too.
  • orientation=* - the orientation of the object is portrait or landscape

Advertising Message


If the message ist static, then use this.

This can also be used for the advertising message of amenities, shops, ... For everything that has a advertising message!

Allowed are max. 255 characters. Only bold (<b>, </b>) and italic (<i>, </i>) format is allowed.

To have an individual tag for each feature that's offered would be great, but is not realistic.

Example: Our fitness gym offers you free drinks from Company XXX, a male and a female sauna and 3 different types of relax-massage. We have 10 coaches lead by box champion Max Mustermann and triathlon master John Doe.

This example shows that it is hardly possible to transform this message into tags.

And at last: User can get this way perhaps very valuable information about that POI. All other user might simply ignore this information.

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=*
  • faces=* - amount of "front faces", default is 1 (see also amenity=clock
  • lit=* - the object is lit
  • direction=* - to define the orientation of the billboard (exposure to the ad depends on this)
  • height=* - the height of the advertising object.
  • width=* - the width of the advertising object.
  • 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.
  • informal=yes - can be added for advertising in areas where formal permit would be required but the object was mounted without this permit.
  • operator=* - the company that operates the billboard
  • landmark=*
  • visibility=* - see amenity=clock
  • billboard_count=* - number of billboards when using advertising=small_billboards
  • level=* - to define if the billboard is underground use -1 (eg. for subway advertising)
  • support=wall_mounted - can be added for billboard fixed on the wall.

advertising=yes can be added for bus stops (amenity=bus_station) that have advertising on them (or with benches amenity=bench)


Software support

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


not yet started