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Public-images-osm logo.svg power = line
High-voltage power lines used for power transmission, supported by towers/pylons, or in some places or situations, by poles
Group: Power
Used on these elements
should not be used on nodesmay be used on waysshould not be used on areasshould not be used on relations
Useful combination
See also
Status: in use

A power line is carried on power=towers, but may be supported by poles, especially on lines in the subtransmission grid, that connects the main grids with the distribution grid. Three cables or conductors correspond one circuit (except traction power lines and high voltage direct current/HVDC). Every circuit has one voltage=* level on which it operate. Draw one way for all circuits connected to one power tower or pole. All lines forming the transmission system are power=line. For lines of the distribution system (100-120/220-240 to about 45 kV, depending on the country or area), use power=minor_line. 'Use power=cable with location=underground for undergound or underwater power cables. name=* should be used for the name of the line (can be found below transmission towers), and ref=* corresponds to the line alphanumeric reference, that may be numbers, letters, or a combination of them.

A typical illustration of a power line: high voltage conductors supported by towers/pylons
High voltage power lines are usually mounted on towers, but may be supported by poles, like this. Such should not be tagged power=minor_line

Power transmission towers or poles have numbers/names on it. Tower or pole numbers increase from start to end point, but other numbering systems exist. Names or numbers for each systems can be found on power towers and are the same at each tower. These belong to the power=line and should be tagged on the way itself. Use source=survey if you track them! Towers/pylons usually carry high voltage lines, but poles are also used in some countries, however, it is typically on those forming the "subtransmission" grid, which connects the main transmission system to the distribution grids.

How to Map

Draw a Way way and add the power=line to it. The towers that support the power line can be mapped using Nodepower=tower. It is not necessary to tag power lines with a layer=* unless two lines cross over each other.

It is possible to connect power lines to power=portal inside power=substation using power=insulator on the connecting node.
power=terminal is also used at the connection with buildings without a dedicated power tower or portal to support the end of the line.


It is also possible to give some additional and advanced information about power lines :

  • The number of wires=* per conductor.
  • You may look at cables=* for the number of power-carrying conductor (bundles of wires) the line is composed of.
  • circuits=* corresponds to the number of electrical circuits (logical bundles of cables). The tag may be used when the number of physical cables is unknown (often the case for underground cable connections) or when the number of circuits is different from cables=* divided by 3 (or by the number of phases of the line).
Key Value Comment Recommendation
power line It's a power line, normally mapped as a Way. mandatory
voltage <operating voltage> The voltage at which the line is operated recommended
operator <cable operator> The name of the company which operates this power line section recommended
cables <number of cables> The number of different phase conductors for this power line section recommended
circuits <number of circuits> The number of different and separated electrical circuits built within this power line section recommended
wires <wire bundle per conductor> The bundle form factor for each conductor of the power line optional
frequency <operating frequency> The frequency given in Hertz at which the power line is operating optional
name <name> The name of this power line section. optional
ref <reference> The reference of this power line section optional

Since power lines cables aren't insulated, they can only be located overhead to protect them from grounding with external elements.


"Wires" means the number of cables of each line which are supported by insulators, typically those hanging from a cross-arm. Possible values are: single, double, triple, quad .. (table from User:Nahainec/PowerLine)

count picture tag count picture tag
1 JP Power Wires Single.JPG wires=single 5 JP Power Wires Fivefold.JPG wires=fivefold
2 JP Power Wires Double.JPG wires=double 6 JP Power Wires Hex.JPG wires=sixfold
3 JP Power Wires Triple.JPG wires=triple 8 JP Power Wires Octal.JPG wires=eightfold
4 JP Power Wires Quad.JPG wires=quad


Picture/Description Tags Mapnik
Electricity pylon and power lines


Power lines by voltage using the power lines map from ITO Map, now defunct

In addition to rendering on power lines on the standard mapnik view the following services are also available:

See also