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Available languages — Tag:waterway=canal
Public-images-osm logo.svg waterway = canal
Grand Union Canal.jpg
An large artificial open waterway, often used for transport purposes. Consider waterway=drain or waterway=ditch for smaller features.
Used on these elements
should not be used on nodesmay be used on waysshould not be used on areasuse on relations unspecified
Useful combination
Status: Unspecified

Use waterway=canal for man-made waterways used for transportation or also for the largest waterways created for irrigation purposes. For a smaller artificial waterways used for irrigation consider waterway=drain or waterway=ditch. For a natural watercourse use waterway=river or waterway=stream. For water caried in pipes use man_made=pipeline.

How to Map

See also: Waterways

Create a simple way in the direction of flow of the canal and tag it with waterway=canal. In order to allow routing, do ensure that the ends of the way connect correctly with and other related waterway features, including other canals, rivers, streams, lakes etc.

Sections with a lock should be tagged with lock=*, with nodes marked with waterway=lock_gate at each end. Usability for navigation by different vessels can be given using a variety of tags. Use boat=* to indicate that it can be used for a rowing-boat, motorboat=* for a motorboat. For more seriously commercial navigation use CEMT=* in Europe and ship=* elsewhere.

Engineering features can be shown using cutting=*, embankment=*, bridge=aqueduct and tunnel=* as appropriate. Consider adding width=* to indicate the width in meters, for example width=5 or alternatively use waterway=riverbank to create an area for the canal in addition to the linear 'canal' feature along the centreline.

Use name=* and name:xx, for example name:fr=* for the name in the local language and also optionally in other languages.

The service tag can be used to distinguish between transportation, water power, or irrigation.


Canals are drawn as blue lines on the standard Mapnik rendering. They are rendered in dark green on the fluv.io map.

Waterway canal.png


See Also

Common Tagging Mistakes

amenity=canal - If you know places with this tag, verify if it could be tagged with another tag. Automated edits are strongly discouraged unless you really know what you are doing!