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Available languages — Tag:power=pole
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Public-images-osm logo.svg power = pole
07335jfPuregold Estero Maypajo Market J. P. Rizal Mabini Streets Casili Bridge Caloocan Cityfvf 26.jpg
A single (often wooden or concrete) pole carrying low voltage, medium voltage, or high voltage lines up to 161,000 volts (161 kV). Usually composed of the pole itself and cross-arms, or only the pole, with insulators placed on the pole itself
Used on these elements
may be used on nodesshould not be used on waysshould not be used on areasshould not be used on relations
Useful combination
See also
Status: ApprovedPage for proposal

How to Map

Insert a node Node there on the electricity cable power=minor_line, where the mast stands and add power=pole. Detailed tagging may be used, as shown below, and is recommended when the pole has different functions or designs.


The tagging applies to both small poles for distribution lines and tall poles for lines with voltages from 50,000 volts to 161,000 volts. Poles on subtransmission lines (69,000 volts to 138,000/161,000 volts, or 66,000 volts to 132,000 volts) are common in North America, parts of Asia (Philippines, Thailand), and Australia. In Europe, lines between 50,000 volts and 150,000 volts (or 132,000 volts) use towers, either lattice, tubular, or multipolar structures, but may also use poles, especially on older lines. Structures composed of two poles and a cross-arm, whether they support a power=minor_line or power=line, should not be tagged as poles: they are considered towers (power=tower), usually of the H-frame type.

Here is the expanded power pole tagging.

Tag Value Description Recommendation
power pole It's a power pole mandatory
pole:type pole type Type of pole (see below for possible values). optional
ref pole reference Power pole reference number or code recommended
height height The height of the pole optional
operator operator The power pole operator's name. recommended
structure solid, tubular, or lattice The structure pattern of the pole. Default is solid optional
design pole design The generic design name of the pole. optional
material material The material which the pole is made of. optional

Pole types (pole:type=*)

The pole:type=* tag describes the function of a power pole, like an anchor or termination pole, that uses strain insulators, or a suspension pole, that may use either pin insulators or strain insulators. In case a pole supports both power=minor_line and power=line, tag the pole types for both lines supported, especially if the pole types differ for the lines carried. This is based on Tag:power=tower#Tower type.

Picture Key Value Description
115,000 volt pole, Philippines
34,500 volt distribution line pole, Philippines
pole:type suspension A pole where the conductors or wires are mounted on pin insulators or suspension insulators, either on a cross-arm or the pole itself. This is the default type and does not need to be tagged, except on an angle pole (usually guyed guyed=yes), where an anchor pole is normally used.
34,500 volt distribution line anchor pole, Philippines
34,500 volt angle pole, Philippines
anchor A pole that uses strain insulators, either mounted on a cross-arm or on the pole itself. These are usually guyed for stability, except where the pole is mounted on a foundation, lies on a straight section of power line, or uses heavier construction, like a second pole in place of a guy or thicker material.
34,500 volt dead-end pole with three 20 kV-240Y/139V transformers, Philippines
Termination pole on line-to-cable transition point, Australia
termination A pole using strain insulators on an end of a power line, like in a transformer (add transformer=* to the pole), substation, line-to-cable transition point (add location:transition=yes, or a short dead-end segment from a pole with a transformer or a turning location where the lines are connected on the air rather than on a pole. These poles are normally guyed (add guyed=yes) because of the tension from the terminating line.
branch A power line branches at this pole. If the branch line is a cable (except for overhead insulated cables), add location:transition=yes. The branch types may be as follows:
  • branch:type=tap - One of the lines in the pole branches off from the main circuit.
  • branch:type=split - One circuit of a power line supported on the pole branches off in another direction, like for example, a roadside distribution line with two circuits split off, with one circuit leading to another side of the road or another direction.
  • branch:type=cross - Two unrelated lines use the pole as a common support
Transposition A pole where the conductors exchange positions to balance the impedance. For example, a three-phase line with phases A-B-C changes arrangement into B-C-A at a pole, or vice versa.
crossing A taller pole used on locations where a line need higher height clearance, like where a line crosses an overpass. These are usually higher than the poles usually used.
location:transition=* yes A power line transitions from line to cable, or vice versa, at this pole, or on other cases, on a concrete structure. This is not used when the cable is an overhead type (power=cable with location=overhead.


The design=* tag describe the design of the pole and the conductors it supports. Pole designs imply a presence of [a] cross-arm[s] mounted on the pole through brackets, except when the design name has "armless" suffixed, or described as an armless type. Cross-arms for telephone lines should not be included. This is based on Tag:power=tower#Tower design, but with some design names modified. If a pole uses more than one design, like a pole supporting both transmission/subtransmission and distribution lines, tag the design of the topmost part of the pole, that will usually hold higher voltage lines.

Diagram Picture Key Value Description
Single-level pole in Germany
Single-level pole in Israel
design one-level A pole with a single cross-arm, usually supporting only one circuit. This is the default type.
Semi-horizontal single-level pole on 13,200Y/7,620 volt line, Nueva Ecija, Philippines
semi-horizontal_one-level A pole with one cross-arm, but with one conductor placed offset (i.e. on the top of the pole).
Two-level pole supporting two 12,470Y/7,200 volt circuits, Ontario, Canada
two-level A pole with three cross-arms, usually supporting two circuits. Poles with two cross-arms, with two conductors supported on the upper cross-arm, and four conductors mounted on the lower cross-arm (resembling design=donau on power=tower) are considered two-level poles.
Three-level pole on branching point of roadside 69,000 volt line by National Grid Corporation of the Philippines, Laguna, Philippines
three-level A pole with three cross-arms, usually supporting one to three circuits.
Four-level pole supporting four circuits of 13,200Y/7,620 volt lines of Batangas II Electric Cooperative, Lipa, Batangas, Philippines
four-level A pole with four cross-arms, supporting four circuits.
Asymmetric pole on 69,000 volt line of the National Grid Corporation of The Philippines, Laguna, Philippines
asymmetric A pole with two cross-arms, but supporting only one circuit in a right triangle configuration. One conductor is mounted on the upper cross-arm, and the two conductors are mounted on the lower cross-arm, or vice versa.
armless_asymmetric Variant of the asymmetric pole with insulators mounted on the pole instead on the cross-armsame.
triangle Variant of the asymmetric pole, but with three cross-arms. Two conductors are mounted on the uppermost and lowermost cross-arms, and one conductor is mounted on the middle cross-arm. This is usually used on anchor poles, along with pole-mounted insulators, than on suspension poles.
Armless triangle pole on double-bundled 115 kV subtransmission line by Meralco, beside Pasig River in Makati, Philippines
armless_triangle Variant of the triangle pole, but with insulators mounted on the pole instead on the cross-arm. Two insulators are placed on one side of the pole, and one insulator is placed on the other side, in the middle position of the two insulators on the other side.
Wooden subtransmission pole, owned by Meralco, with cross-arm for 34.5 kV line, Philippines
flag A pole without cross-arms, with insulators mounted on a vertical arrangement. The design is similar to the flag design for power towers (see Tag:power=tower#Tower design. They usually use pin insulators, but may use strain insulators when used as an angle pole on a sharp angle or line termination point (either, pole:type=anchor,pole:type=termination, or pole:type=suspension) or both strain and pin insulators when used as an anchor or termination pole on a straight line power line segment.
semi-vertical A variant of the flag design, with one insulator longer than the two others. These are always used as suspension poles.
delta A pole with two insulators on two sides of the pole, and one insulator on the top of the pole. Unlike in delta tower, "delta" means a conductor configuration than a pole design.
monopolar A pole without cross-arms, with one insulator, either placed on the side or on the top, or an insulator set mounted of the pole. This typically hold single-wire lines, like single wire earth return systems on less populated rural areas or single-wire systems serving light loads, like houses or small businesses, or secondary distribution lines, including three-phase systems or split-phase systems.
guyed=* yes A pole with guy wires, used to stabilize it on a turning or terminating segment of a power line or to balance it on unbalanced power lines.
pole A pole with another pole, placed diagonally on the side and serving as a guy wire support.
design:incomplete=* yes A pole that supports only a number of conductors than the design is capable of.

If the pole supports street lamps, it may be tagged with highway=street_lamp.

If the pole supports a distribution transformer, add transformer=yes or transformer=distribution along with tags describing the transformer (voltage=*, rating=*, etc).


Wooden pole on 115 kV subtransmission line, Philippines

Lagunajf8737 01.JPG

Key Value
power pole
structure solid (can be omitted as implied)
material wood
design armless_triangle
operator Meralco
ref *

Suspension pole with transformer on 11 kV power line, England

Bridleway, Atwick - geograph.org.uk - 386117.jpg

Key Value
power pole
structure solid (can be omitted as implied)
material wood
design single_level (can be omitted as implied)
pole:type suspension
transformer distribution
voltage 11000;400
phases 2

Termination pole with street light and transformer, New Jersey, USA

2015-04-12 14 05 33 Utility pole and street light on Peck Avenue in Ewing, New Jersey.jpg

Key Value
power pole
structure solid (can be omitted as implied)
material wood
design monopolar
pole:type termination
transformer distribution
voltage 7200;240
phases 1
guyed yes
highway street_lamp

Guyed wooden pole with street light on power line branch, Nevada, USA

2015-04-20 13 14 28 Utility pole and street light along Morrison Avenue in Golconda, Nevada.jpg

Key Value
power pole
structure solid (can be omitted as implied)
material wood
design single-level
pole:type branch
branch:type tap
highway street_lamp
guyed yes

Anchor pole with street light, Maryland, USA

2016-05-18 08 18 22 Old-style street light support along Hollywood Road (Maryland State Route 245) near Point Lookout Road (Maryland State Route 5) in Leonardtown, St. Mary's County, Maryland.jpg

Key Value
power pole
structure solid (can be omitted as implied)
material wood
design single-level
pole:type anchor
highway street_lamp

Angle pole, Japan

Sunset view at Kaneda seaside 金田海岸の夕暮れ - panoramio.jpg

Key Value
power pole
structure solid (can be omitted as implied)
material concrete
design two-level
guyed pole
pole:type anchor
operator TEPCO
operator:ja 東京電力

Guyed steel anchor pole on 115 kV subtransmission line, Philippines

Cavite,Batangasjf0557 09.JPG

Key Value
power pole
structure tubular
material steel
design flag
operator Meralco
pole:type anchor
ref *
guyed yes

"Trident" pole on 132 kV line, England


Key Value
power pole
structure solid
material wood
design one-level
operator British Power Networks
ref WPA 43

Pole on underground cable to overhead power line transition point on 20 kV line, France

French distribution line with transition.jpg

Key Value
power pole
structure solid(can be omitted as implied)
material concrete
design one-level(can be omitted as implied)
operator Enedis
pole:type termination
ref *
location:transition yes



Possible key for poles or small masts of overhead power lines with low- or medium-range voltages between about 0.4 and 30 kV. 0.4 kV lines (such as the one in the third image of the four examples) are still often found in small towns and villages. Outside villages in rural areas, the medium-voltage net is also often made of overhead lines on poles or small masts. At the terminal masts, the line either changes to an underground cable or goes into a transformer which steps down to about 400 V.

Rest of the world

On North America, Oceania, and most Asian countries, poles typically carry most low to medium voltage lines along roads, so work may be done by bucket trucks, but on some locations, lines run underground or carried on aerial cables. Low voltage lines, that may be the three-phase system (230/400 V, 240/415 V, and 220/380 V) or split-phase (usually 120/240 V, typical in North America), may run on their own poles, although they may run below the medium voltage lines (10-35 kV, depending on the utility's practices). Cable count per circuit may range from 1 to 3 wires, with one wire systems primarily used on single-wire earth return or lines on areas with light loads (e.g. residential areas). Medium voltage lines usually run beside roads, primarily on rural areas, but may occur in some urban areas, however, underground cables are being favored because of cluttering the landscape. Lines usually have pole mounted transformers on the middle of the line, instead of having all of them on the termination poles, and lines forming one separate circuit may meet, requiring pole-mounted switches that can be opened or closed in case of an emergency. Transformers can be single-phase or three-phase, but it may depend on regional practice, that is, single-phase transformers are common in countries using single-phase or split-phase power and usually 60 Hz frequency, with three-phase distribution transformers typically being three single-phase transformers, and three-phase distribution transformers in countries using three-phase power and usually 50 Hz frequency. On some poles, an overhead power line may transition to ground cable or change to an overhead cable. Two to four circuits may use the same pole, and low voltage circuits usually run below the medium voltage circuits. Street lamps and communications lines may be mounted on the poles.


Power poles support medium or low voltage power lines, and are typically small, but tall poles are used also in high voltage lines. Poles are usually composed of the pole itself, and [a] cross-arm[s] where the insulators are mounted, but poles without cross-arms are also used. They typically support power lines and transformers, but may also support street lamps, switches, fuses, and small power compensating equipment (capacitors and voltage regulators/AVRs).

Please don't confuse these with overhead lines which are not for energy supply, e.g. those used for telephone wires.


Related terms: ‹ power pole ›