Proposed features/advertising2

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Status: Proposed (under way)
Proposed by: Barnes38
Tagging: advertising=*
Applies to: node,way
Definition: for outdoor advertising units
Drafted on:
Proposed on: March 10th 2015
RFC start: March 10th 2015
Vote start: *
Vote end: *

Proposed key

This is a second version of the proposal for a new key advertising=* to tag advertising objects. I started from here of course : I wanted something more complete, more exhaustive, so I restart anew. The intention is to merge them at the end, and to have only one version. So far, this feature is just prepared in general terms, a real proposition of the best way of tagging the advertising is being prepared.


What is "Advertising": any shape or image to inform the public or to attract his attention.

What is "Outdoor advertising" : all advertisings signage which can be found outside the home/shops/malls/subway networks/train stations/airports.

What is "Out of Home Advertising" : All advertisings signage found outside the home.

What is "Mobile Advertising" : Advertising displays affixed to moving vehicles (bus displays, rail displays, and mobile truck displays, any moving vehicles that is equipped with one or more poster panel faces. These moving vehicles can either be parked at specified venues or driven around designated localities.

Advertising units (advertising billboards, advertising signs, advertising indications, and more) are often landmarks and used by people to orientate themselves, they can be used as waypoints to describe directions to other people. They often play an important role in defining what a particular site or area really looks like, so omitting them from OSM would be a pity. Moreover, in the idea of ​​preserving the quality of life and the landscape environment, some regulations may exist in each country, as far as advertising objects are concerned. As a matter of fact, preserving the quality of the living environment, a major challenge for the territories and populations, is at the heart of landscape policy of each country. Therefore, having a geolocated inventory of advertising objects in OSM is desirable.

What advertising mapping can be done into OpenStreetMap ? All outdoor advertisings except the mobile advertisings.

How to inventory and characterize advertising objects

There could be several ways of doing that, trying to inventory below :

Classification according to the condition of implantation

Wall advertising

Installed on a previously constructed support, initially dedicated to any other purpose than to support advertising: the wall of any building, fence wall, fence... As opposed to advertising "sealed to the floor or installed directly on the ground".

Advertising sealed to the floor or installed directly on the ground

In contrast to the "wall advertising" because it is not installed on a support that existed previously. It is generally set on one or more legs specially designed and planted in the ground for this purpose, more rarely placed directly on the ground (see easels).

Advertising on tarps

Tarps mainly installed on scaffolding for building works. Tarps on building facades.

Advertising affixed to street furniture

The main possible categories are :

  • Transit shelters

Advertising displays affixed to a curbside structure located at regular stopping points along a market's bus or tramway routes. The ad displays are framed glass showcases that are typically backlit and measure approximately 2 m high x 1 m wide. Bus shelters, tramway shelters.

  • Newspapers kiosk
  • Columns doors posters

Column "Morris"

  • Other urban furniture

Furniture receiving non-advertising information, general or local character: street furniture information, planimeter (supporting the city map), benches, trash cans, glass or other material recovery, clocks ....

Classification according to the type of property where it is located

Regulations, which differ from one country to an other one, are sometimes not the same when advertising unit is installed on a private property, or on a public property.

  • Public land: the advertising device is located on a land or field owned by a municipality , a local authority, a town, a department, a region, a state.
  • Private land: the advertising device is located on a land or field owned to an individual, private property.

Classification on the proximity between the advertising device and the place where the activity takes place

Seometimes the advertising units look similar, but according to the fact it is placed on the property, close to the property, or away from the property where the activity takes place, then the advertising unit is not of the same kind.

Advertising on-premise signs

Advertising on-premise signs or advertising sign : a sign that advertises products or services that are produced, manufactured, sold or furnished on the property where the sign is located, any registration sign affixed to a building and on an activity carried on therein. - Facade signs depending on whether they are located in flat or perpendicular - Signs roof - Signs sealed soil or located directly on the floor.

Advertising off-premise signs

Advertising off-premise signs or advertising indication : a sign that advertises products or services that are not produced, manufactured, sold or furnished on the property where the sign is located, but quite close to it, to announce an activity, to indicate direction to this activity, to indicate remaining distance to this activity, to indicate opening hours/days of an activity. Any sign indicating the proximity of a building that has a particular activity.

Adverstising billboards

Advertising billboards or advertising boards : generally speaking, any board not specially close from what is advertised. Many sizes and formats, depending on the country. In each country, popular formats have their own names.

Ranking based on the advertising message or not

The main types are :

  • Advertisement on the activities of non-profit organizations
  • Display opinion
  • Advertise on cultural events
  • Advertising to inform the public about the dangers he faces or obligations on him in places considered
  • Legal advertising
  • And of course commercial advertisings which consitute the vast majority.

More technical characteristics on advertising devices


There are different display formats and size, depending on country. In each country, a specific format has a specific name which refers to a partcicula type of unit. The measurement units can be different from one country to an other.


  • Non-luminous, non-illuminated, Un-illuminated advertising - An unit that has not been equipped with lighting for nighttime illumination of an advertising message. The visibility rating for an un-illuminated unit is calculated using a 12-hour viewing period.
  • Illuminated advertising - An unit equipped with lighting that provides nighttime illumination of an advertising message, usually from dusk until midnight. The visibility rating for an un-illuminated unit is calculated using an 18 or 24-hour viewing period. Several technics can be used :
    • Illuminated by transmission, transilluminated.=
    • Illuminated reflectors, illuminated by the projection light.
    • Lettering and light boxes, neons.
    • Numeric devices, led displays, plasma, giant TVs, jumbotrons.

Static/Electrically operated

Trivision : An unit that allows three different copy messages to revolve at intermittent intervals.

  • Tri-vision by rotating triangular blades.
  • Tri-vision by successive unwinding posters.

Number of faces

The number of faces of an unit where advertising is displayed. A unit may have more than one face. Sometimes only one face, sometimes 2 faces, 3 faces or 4 faces are possible.

Type of unit or type of device

  • Screen
  • Posters
  • Flags
  • Giant inflated plastic structure


Display company, or advertising company, or brand


Exact reference of the unit

Impact or visibility

The major challenge for a brand is the impact of its advertising campaign, so the visibility of signs on which the advertisement is displayed. On a opposite way of seing things, this indicator measures the nuisance of the advertising sign, the visual pollution , the landscape deterioration.

To compute the visibility several parameters must be taken into account :

  • Size and height
  • Position relative to the flow of vehicles, in the direction of the flow, parallel to the flow, same side than teh flow, opposite side of the flow
  • Position relative to the number of flows, for example, a sign on an intersection can be seen from four different angles...
  • Attendance of the place, the number of people or cars passing by must be taken into account etc.