Proposed features/reef

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Status: Abandoned (inactive)
Proposed by: Davidbstanley
Tagging: natural=reef
Applies to: area,node
Definition: A rock, sandbar, or other feature lying beneath the surface of the water (sea)
Rendered as: Area:Lighter than sea (coastline). e.g. leisure=playground. Node:Just use name
Drafted on: 2009-07-05


A reef is an area of sea bed which can be made from rock or possibly a sandbar. It is usually just beneath the surface and may be exposed at low tide levels.

Wikipedia provides a detailed explanation of a reef [1]


There is currently no suitable tag for a reef. Reefs are popular destinations for diving/snorkelling. They frequently pose a hazard to shipping/marine activities.

How to Map

Example & Description

The Great Barrier Reef is famous throughout the world as an area of natural beauty. Popular with tourists, divers and marine biologists, it is currently completely unmapped. See [2] and click on edit to see one area that is unmapped.

Another example here [3]. Again click edit to see what is missing.

Extended Usage

Could also add:

  • type=coral
  • type=oyster
  • type=fringing - Where the reef is attached to an island.
  • type=barrier - Where the reef forms a barrier near an island leaving an area of water between the shore and the reef.
  • depth=number - The depth of water above the reef at lowest tide. So if number is 0, the reef is uncovered at low tide.
  • artificial=yes|no - If the reef is natural or from a sunken ship for example. artificial=no is assumed if tag omitted.

Rendering could be different for various types and also if depth=0. Note: Parts of a reef that are never covered by water should be considered as land and tagged appropriately.

Alternate Name Suggestions?

  • subsea=* - currently ~ 1000 coral reefs mapped that way
  • sub_sea=* - currently ~ 600 coral reefs mapped that way


Please use the Talk:Proposed features/reef for discussion.