|Used for reference numbers or codes. Common for roads, highway exits, routes, etc.|
|Used on these elements|
|Status: De facto|
|Tools for this tag|
"ref" stands for "reference" and is used for reference numbers or codes. Common for roads, highway exits, routes, etc. It is also used for shops and amenities that are numbered officially as part of a retail brand or network respectively.
This key and variations are frequently used to avoid the use of relations.
For cycle routes:
There is a wide use of ref:* as namespace prefix. Main variations listed here :
|key||used on||description||see||taginfo (13 June 2013)|
|ref:ctb=*||highway=bus_stop||Signposted on Citybus & NWFB bus stops|||
|ref:kmb=*||highway=bus_stop||Signposted on KMB & LW bus stops|||
|ref:INSEE=*||admin_level=*||INSEE code of the French communes||Key:ref:INSEE||74,178|
|ref:isil=*||library||International Standard Identifier for Libraries||Key:ref:isil||1,062|
|ref:lmi=*||heritage||id in Lista monumentelor istorice||Proposed features/heritage||0|
|ref:mhs=*||heritage||id in the French database Mérimée of historic monuments||Proposed features/heritage||4,764|
|ref:nid=*||heritage||id in Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa historic monuments||Proposed features/heritage||1,533|
|ref:nrhp=*||heritage||identifiers for (United States) National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) records 22||NRHP advanced search||24|
|ref:rce=*||heritage||id in Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed||Proposed features/heritage||8|
|ref:bic=*||heritage||identifiers for (Spain) Bien de Interés Cultural (BIC)||Bienes culturales protegidos by the Spanish Government.||?|
|ref:sandre=*||river||ref of the French Sandre agency||WikiProject France/Cours d'eau||2,336|
|ref:svhl=*||station-keys of Lübecker Stadtverkehr (Germany)||Lübeck/Importe||2,289|
|ref:whc=*||heritage||id of the Unesco World Heritage||Proposed features/heritage||226|
|ref:ERDF:gdo=*||line or substation||Id of French power distribution facilities||Key:ref:ERDF:gdo||0|
|ref:FR:PTT=*||central_office||Id of French telephone copper local loops facilities||Key:ref:FR:PTT||0|
|ref:bag=*||Id of Dutch buildings||BAGimport||0|
|ref:De_Lijn=*||platform route_master||signposted on bus/tram stops in and around Flanders, Belgium||WikiProject_Belgium/De_Lijndata||38355|
|ref:TECB=*||platform route_master||signposted on bus stops in and around Brabant-Wallon, Wallonia, Belgium||TEC data import||3582|
|ref:TECC=*||platform route_master||signposted on bus stops in and around Charleroi, Wallonia, Belgium||TEC data import||3993|
|ref:TECH=*||platform route_master||signposted on bus stops in and around Hainaut, Wallonia, Belgium||TEC data import||5691|
|ref:TECL=*||platform route_master||signposted on bus stops in and around Liège-Verviers, Wallonia, Belgium||TEC data import||9302|
|ref:TECN=*||platform route_master||signposted on bus stops in and around Namur, Wallonia, Belgium||TEC data import||5368|
|ref:TECX=*||platform route_master||signposted on bus stops in and around Luxembourg (province), Wallonia, Belgium||TEC data import||5814|
|ref:UrbIS=*||building=* addr:*=*||Reference Key of Urbis Database for addresses in Brussels||Brussels#CIRB_UrbIS|||
|ref:usrn=*||Unique Street Reference Number - a primary key use by the National Address Gazeteer in the UK|||
User defined values
Any valid syntax value
Examples on relations
States and provinces are often tagged with a postal abbreviation in ref. For example:
- ref=CA The state of California (type=boundary, admin_level=4, name=California - currently relation 165475)
On road routes, the ref is a bare number, relying on network=* to convey information about the road network:
Similarly, on cycle and walking routes, the ref is a bare number and cycle_network=* indicates the route network:
Bus routes use ref to label the bus route. For example:
- ref=23 Bus route 23. (type=route, route=bus, name=Shanklin>Newchurch>Newport - currently relation 312207)
Examples on ways
There are no global standards as to whether the refs include spaces, hyphens or other characters. At least when nationally consistent, tag what's on the ground. Some countries use spaces on the signs, others don't. In some countries the usage on the signs varies and guidelines are under discussion.
- ref=A 1 Default reference (German and French references with a space; e.g., A 1)
- int_ref=E 15 Internationally referenced as
- nat_ref=A 1 Nationally referenced as (German and French references with a space; e.g., A 1)
- reg_ref=A 1 Regionally referenced as (German and French references with a space; e.g., A 1)
- ncn_ref=54 The number reference for a National Cycle Network. See Cycle_routes
- ref=A 3;A 7 Default for more than one reference (German and French references with a space; e.g., A 1)
Examples on nodes
- ref=23 US Highway exits are often just a number
- ref=23B Sometimes exits have been split into A and B exits.
ref is sometimes used on bus stops:
ref is sometimes used to label an entrance into a large parking area. For example a shopping mall may have entrances A - L:
- ref:svhl=* - station-keys of Lübecker Stadtverkehr (Germany) - details look at Lübeck/Importe
- ref:luebeck=* - internal reference for objects the area of Lübeck
- ref:bufa=* - 4-digit key of the local German tax and revenue offices (Bundesfinanzamtnummer)
- ref:vatin=CC12345678 - VAT identification number of companies, use CountryCode (e.g. IT for Italy) and the number
- official_ref=* - Used in cases where the official administrative reference for a road (or other feature) is not identical with the road signs (or other feature ref), e.g. because they are old, or because the administration doesn't have the money to change the signs.
- ref=xxxx - Used to mark official company store number assigned to a place. Example (ref=7872) CVS (You'll see a reference tag added to the building)
- For highways shared by more than one route see Relations/Routes or Faq#What shall I do for roads that have multiple values for a tag?. Relations seem to be the preferred method for tagging this.
- If more than one reference is given, you are recommended to separate them with a semicolon and without a space character, because this is the widely established syntax in Germany and maybe other countries. But note, this syntax is being heavily discussed in Germany. A better approach might be to have a namespace and add the entity that has issued the ref, e.g. ref:foo=x ref:bar=y.
- Do not confuse this issue with the space that is present in some countries between the letter and the number in a reference itself.
- When a road has no number, leave this key unused; this makes sure that routing programs do not try to describe the road by a number.