From OpenStreetMap Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search


JOSM uses name:biological=quercus robur. I haven't found any endorsement yet though. Ipofanes 13:29, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

Tree Images

Definatly way way too large!. Something this size would require nothing to be within half a mile of it, to work on a map. Also, I think it should be from a birds eye perspective. Having them on there sides like this makes looking at a map a rather a wierd experience. Much like the gates in mapnik currently.

I use the image below in kosmos, as in example. It's 50% this size at z17, 25% z16, 10% z15, and 5% z14. A pine alternative would be easily created. Ben 20:17, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

Tree z18.png

Rendering of alley=left/right/both

The actual way that mapnik renders alley=left/right/both is, it simply ignores it. Is that wanted?--Shmias 16:27, 6 May 2009 (UTC)

Afaik alley isn't an approved tag at all. Discussions around the wiki still try to get a consensus how to map trees beside streets -- Malenki 19:17, 19 August 2009 (UTC)


Would it be useful to give the approximate distance across the whole of a tree? That is, the width as viewed from above. This could be used to plot circles rather than dots on maps, and give some indication of the amount of tree cover. Daveemtb 15:06, 6 October 2009 (UTC)

  • Gardeners call it the spread, but it its usage is abhorred by biologists, because it is more or less biologically meaningless. If you want to use suggest tree:spread=*or tree_spread=*. SK53 19:07, 2 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Arborists call what you are talking about Crown Width
    • Um; it is usually called the spread or less commonly, crown spread, in the UK. The word 'width' generally refers to the lower of two measures of an object - i.e., it should only be used when there is an implied or explicit length to go with it. Indigomc 22:33, 5 March 2011 (UTC)

Is it worth revisiting trees as areas again now that we are modeling towns in much more detail and often have access to very detailed aerial photography? I have plotted a load of large single oak trees in a park and they show as weedy little dots even though I can see from the imagery that they are substantial things in places nearly touch each other. The trunk would be assumed to be at the centre of gravity - for a very lopsided tree we could devise some other modeling system. Whatever biologists do we are about mapping what we see and what I see is a large volume or area not a tree trunk. PeterIto 07:22, 5 January 2012 (UTC)


species=oak is incorrect. There are over 400 species under the genus oak !! [1] --Skyper 14:29, 9 November 2009 (UTC)

It is not incorrect, it is inaccurate! --Skippern 14:11, 16 March 2010 (UTC)
It is plain incorrect. Oak is a genus, not a species. Indigomc
please introduces genus=* and seperate it from species=*. There is a huge difference !!--Skyper 10:55, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
+1 --westfa 18:59, 30 June 2010 (UTC)
+1, for this reason I use taxon=* which should allow Oak, Quercus etc., without providing precise details which may well be outside the interest/competence of many mappers. I think name, whether namespaced or not wrong. If I tag the Major Oak, I want to do something like name=Major Oak taxon=Quercus robur taxon:en=Pedunculate Oak. SK53 19:33, 30 June 2010 (UTC)
I don't think it is a problem to have just species for tagging, as genus can be derived from this e.g. by using the wikipedia database. Who knows the exact species can put it and it will be sufficient, genus and the rest can be concluded. If someone adds a genus description into the species tag whilst beeing biologically inaccurate, it will still be useful, and someone else can complete it or not. If someones reads species from the db and gets a genus he will discover this himself without any need to specify that he actually got just a genus and therefore incomplete species. --Dieterdreist 10:51, 5 July 2010 (UTC)
Then we should use genus=* and not species=*. If someone knows the species he/she can still use species=* in a correct way. Anyway we should think about using a db to get local names, genues and species. Otherwise we need to add 100 of tags to each tree.--Skyper 10:57, 8 July 2010 (UTC)
This can be acomplished by using the wikipedia interlanguage links. therefore it is strongly recommended to simply use latin names. All local names can be derived from that. -- Dieterdreist 10:26, 5 September 2010 (BST)
sorry, i didn't see this before my edits ... it's a wiki ;-) and it's really no problem having a genus tag (we use it on the german page too) -- Schusch 08:21, 11 September 2010 (BST)
Added in taxon= tag, I think any tag: species, genus or taxon would do, with enough tidying up of the data, it should be possible to get a sensible idea of what people are mapping either way. Personally, taxon makes sense to me. Taxonomists have been arguing for hundreds of years about the best way to define this so I doubt we will reach a consensus. There are some well established rules for dealing with taxonomic metadata called the Darwin Core These may help when thinking about the type of information to collect/tag Hawkeyes 19:27, 15 May 2010

The name 'alley'

It seems to me that this is an inappropriate term here. In English, an alley is a type of road, has nothing to do with trees and will cause confusion. If the intention is to use the French or German terms (e.g. allee), then it would be better to use that spelling. If an English word is to be used, then the nearest equivalent is avenue, (though the word is now often used for roads without trees). Indigomc 08:20, 19 March 2010 (UTC)

Benefit for the blind

In city centers with few trees blind users with guidedogs need to know where the trees are, not only to avoid running into them (that works fine with the white cane), but also as a poi, because the dog needs a place to drop excrements. Read more on OSM for the blind. Lulu-Ann

Subtags to indicate the significance

These subtags were introduced to the main page, but are still in discussion:

Tagging Symbol Description Picture Comments Hints / Links
  • historical or traditional name
  • name given in memory of special events (> memorial tree)

The usual rules for names apply. This tag should not be used for a description of the species.

why don't we simply use the definition from name=*: use it for named trees, not as a description. I don't see why we should limit this to historical and memorial names.Dieterdreist 20:50, 11 September 2010 (BST)
denotation=* defines the context of the tree
  • the tree is remarkable due to its size or prominent location
  • usually visible from great distances and useful for navigation
why not landmark=*? wikipedia:Landmark
  • especially old tree, often with a particular shape. Usually protected for its uniqueness
why not monument=*? wikipedia:Natural monument
  • Trees aligned along a road

Usually it is sufficient to mark the way with tree_lined=yes instead of mapping individual trees.

in case of urban avenues: I'd suggest to use avenue and prioritize it over urban wikipedia:Avenue
  • "Urban trees"

Trees found within settlements, e.g. in parks or spread through residential areas. For large or dense groups of trees it may be better to just map the surrounding polygon with landuse=forest

  • "Generic Cluster"

Generically marks trees that are not standing alone. This tag is a rough estimate placed by bot to distinguish unmarked trees which are close together and therefore are more likely to be urban trees or forests rather than landmarks. If known, this value should be replaced by one of the more precise descriptions above.

automated edits are not necessary. I think this tag is useless because you can see this from the data and define your own limits. Not combineable with urban and avenue Dieterdreist 20:50, 11 September 2010 (BST)

This list is incomplete. What about a few trees on a meadow? They might not be landmarks, are no clusters as they rather stand alone, ... --Scai 17:44, 21 September 2010 (BST)

Map the meadow as a meadow, each tree as natural=tree. What other data do you want to enter about those trees? --Tordanik 19:06, 21 September 2010 (BST)
Of course, that’s what I did and what others did, too. But "some" people want to have the denotation tag on every tree. Just take a look at any natural=tree and you'll see a denotation=cluster and a fixme on them that states to correct the denotation tag to any of the above. --Scai 21:12, 21 September 2010 (BST)

A missing denotation=* value would be one for trees that are not worthy of being called denotation=natural_monument, but are added just because they are rarely occuring trees. For example here in Finland most consider Larches notable trees just because of the species (usually even if planted by man). They're not inherently endangered, nor protected as such. The same goes for some other so called "noble" broad-leaved tree trees, i.e. trees that are common for example in central Europe, but flourish here only in small, especially suitable environments (most common ones being Maple, Oak, Elm, Hazel). These might well occur in a cluster, but with other trees mixed in between, or next to them, so denotation=cluster would be misleading. Alv 09:28, 15 July 2011 (BST)

Typo "broad_leafed"?

I would assume that the value should be broad_leaved, see e.g. wikipedia:Broad-leaved_tree, but I'm not a native speaker. Is this a typo or intentional? --Tordanik 03:34, 31 January 2011 (UTC)

Broad-leafed is sometimes seen, but it is not correct, it should be broad-leaved. It is probably misapplied from the word 'leafed', which is correctly found with a different meaning, as in I leafed through the book. Indigomc 22:52, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
Thanks. This leaves us with the question what we should do about it. Unfortunately, that value has been added to the data a few ten thousand times, for example by the tree import in Girona. Simply fix the wiki page and add a note about the fact that there are lots of misspelled tags in the database? Ask the tagging mailing list? --Tordanik 23:25, 19 February 2011 (UTC)
Yes, I'd say to fix the wiki page. I did think about doing this last night, but thought I'd wait to see what other opinions were. Actually I would also look to change it wholesale in the data if such a thing is possible.
However, having done some google searches, it seems that there is a still a lot of use of 'broad-leafed'; about 100000 returns, compared with about 500000 for 'broad-leaved'. It might therefore be said that it is an accepted alternative form. I would still say it is incorrect.
Indigomc 11:50, 20 February 2011 (UTC)
I've changed to broad_leaved - going to create a page for this soon as well as coniferus and palm and mixed etc and try to get a bit more guidance together. I'll add information about this discussion and change so any using the data will know to look for broad_leafed as well. Hawkeyes 13:12, 17 October 2011
I perhaps shouldn't have changed this to broad_leaved or should it be broad-leaved(?) so quickly. There is wood=coniferous/deciduous/mixed/palm that is synonymous (partially) with type=conifer/broad_leafed/leaved. Also foliage= has been suggested. See wood= discussion page.

The usage of type=* for non-relation elements should be avoided. There is a proposal for new keys leaf_type and leaf_cycle. See Proposed features/leaftype. --Rudolf (talk) 16:05, 8 May 2014 (UTC)

Circumference and girth

The text recommends using the term 'circumference=?' to record the trunk diameter in meters. I see some problems with this.

One, the term generally used in my experience is 'girth'. The word circumference would more likely be thought to be the measure of the tree's crown outline.
Two, it recommendeds measure is the girth at 1 meter above the ground. Is this the standard height for measurements anywhere? In the UK it is more likely to be 1.5m, though 1.3 and 1.4 are also used by some people. I believe that this girth value would need two values, both the circular measure and the height of measurement.

Indigomc 22:41, 5 March 2011 (UTC)

Maybe we can use:


where h is the height of the measurement above ground and d is the diameter as currectly used

--Computerfreaked (talk) 14:32, 14 March 2014 (UTC)

Also see

I have added in 'habitat' and 'plant community' links. I thought this would be relevant here. If anyone would like to help create more guidance or has any experience or examples of habitat/species mapping please get in touch Hawkeyes

Commemorative trees

Some trees are planted to commemorate individuals, or to mark visits by notable people, or other occasions. For example,

We may need some extra tags:

(all of which I've used on the above example)

and perhaps to make use of historic=memorial

Thoughts? Andy Mabbett (User:Pigsonthewing); Andy's talk; Andy's edits 11:26, 20 November 2011 (UTC)

How about dedication=* rather than or as well as commemorates=*? I got a certificate through the door for a tree some company had planted on my behalf, which I'm guessing bears my name, but I'd rather not think of it as commemorating me ;) Craigloftus 12:17, 20 November 2011 (UTC)
Good point, but what about "opening of school gym" or "visit by the queen"? Here's another example: Andy Mabbett (User:Pigsonthewing); Andy's talk; Andy's edits 18:32, 20 November 2011 (UTC)
(I think you meant historic not historical? I think we should use this because it will make a commemorative tree a special type of memorial, rather than a separate type of entity Grahamjones 13:33, 20 November 2011 (UTC))
Yes; thank you. But not all such trees are memorials (assuming memorials means "to dead person" rather than just an event or visit). And we already have "trees" as entities, this just adds details. perhaps we should tag Tree=commemorative? Andy Mabbett (User:Pigsonthewing); Andy's talk; Andy's edits 18:32, 20 November 2011 (UTC)
Make it a general thing, and just write it up with no proposal as a tag in its own right, to be used with anything, not just trees. Do some taginfo searches first to make sure you aren't overloading an existing tag. I'd prefer dedication=<entity-or-event>, with the caveats that a) an object probably shouldn't be dedicated to the default deity of an existing religion=* tag (though their saints, or gods-with-special-attributes would be fine) and b) it probably shouldn't retread the same ground as the any of the name=* attributes. We have several amenity=benches round here dedicated to dead members of the local community, or indeed fictional characters (Node 413626566 (XML, Potlatch2, iD, JOSM, history)) with the name of the dedicatee engraved on a tasteful little plaque. name=* isn't really the right tag to use, but right now you sort of have to use it. Other possibilities for the name exist if those are taken: dedicatee/dedicated_to, dedicator/dedicated_by. --achadwick 17:54, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
Would it be useful to use start_date= and end_date=. Nice information to have if you are planting commemorative trees or community orchards etc. I suppose end_date could be used for significant tree stumps? For instance, there are many Sequoia tree stumps which would have end_dates? Hawkeyes 21:28 11 Jan 2012
I think that natural=tree combines well with historic=memorial, in case its memorial characteristic is obvious to visitors. --Fkv (talk) 10:05, 12 January 2015 (UTC)

Carved trees

Here's another type; a carved tree, as an artwork, such as the Elfin Oak (OSM; Wikipedia). Andy Mabbett (User:Pigsonthewing); Andy's talk; Andy's edits 10:40, 4 December 2011 (UTC)

Meanwhile, the new tourism=artwork tag has been applied to it, but I would say that it is still a tree, even though it's dead. I suggest natural=tree + ruins=yes in addition to tourism=artwork. --Fkv (talk) 09:57, 12 January 2015 (UTC)


At this page we have "type=broad_leaved/conifer/palm", but at Tag:natural=tree we have "wood=coniferous/deciduous/mixed". Deciduous tree can be broad-leaved tree and can be small-leaved tree. It is easily to distinguish deciduous tree from coniferous and from palm, but it can be hard to non-specialist to distinguish broad-leaved tree from small-leaved tree. If I understand correctly, one type of trees can contain both broad-leaved subtype and small-leaved subtype. So I propose to add 2 new values: type=small_leaved (for small-leaved tree) and type=deciduous (for broad-leaved or small-leaved tree, if editor can't realize specific type of tree). Dinamik (talk) 16:01, 26 September 2013 (UTC)

What is a "small-leaved" tree? Perhaps my English just isn't good enough, but after reading the Wikipedia article for "Broad-leaved tree", I was under the impression that the term covers all trees that have actual wide leaves rather than "needles". --Tordanik 14:43, 27 September 2013 (UTC)
Broad-leaved trees are Laubbaum (de) Frondosas (es), Conifers are Nadelbaum (de), Coniferas (es) a term which is presumably even applicable to the Gingko which has broad leaves but is a conifer. The real problem is the horrendous use of deciduous as some kind of apparent synonymy for broad-leaved. Currently I am retagging woods/forests which I have mapped with deciduous=yes. Unfortunately my talk on this subject at SotM-13 was not recorded. I will add the slides on Slideshare soon. I particuarly focused on Larch (Larix) woodland and evergreen oaks (Holm Oak, Quercus ilex; Cork Oak, Quercus suber) as these groups of species highlight the absurdity of the wood=deciduous tag. It might be fun to have a concerted effort to map larch woods this autumn as they are particularly obvious as Goldener Laerchen. SK53 (talk) 15:01, 27 September 2013 (UTC)
While wood=* or leave_type=* and leave_cycle=* may be useful on areas (landuse=forest, natural=wood), I think that we better omit that kind of tags for single trees, because they are subjective to some extent (is a cypress needle-leaved?). We better use species=* or genus=* tags from which foliage can be derived. I created a dumb conversion table in the rendering section. Note that Ginkgo is NOT a conifer according to current classification, where Ginkgophyta and Pinophyta are different plant divisions. --Fkv (talk) 09:50, 12 January 2015 (UTC)
Of course species=* is the most precise, but also the most challenging. People rarely know the latin names, and often don't even know the local names except for the most common species. Tags like leaf_type=* may not work in every single case, but they are still applicable often enough to be very useful. --Tordanik 18:11, 12 March 2015 (UTC)

The usage of key:type for non-relation elements should be avoided.

The usage of key:type for non-relation elements conflicts with the use of the key for a relation's type and should be avoided. It may also create conflicts on multiple tags for the same element. To find a distinct tagging scheme there is a new proposal Proposed features/leaftype for new keys leaf_type and leaf_cycle. --Rudolf (talk) 07:20, 13 May 2014 (UTC)

Please consider to use the approved key leaf_type=broadleaved/needleleaved instead of type=broad_leaved/conifer. Please consider also updating the tagging of existing elements that you have mapped yourself. --Rudolf (talk) 22:17, 6 June 2014 (UTC)
As I just wrote below (see "Possible Rendering" section), type=palm cannot be replaced. Remember that type=* on trees is approved too. With currectly 375 671 occurences on natural=tree, it cannot become disapproved, even though some radical extremists have been removing it from the wiki and doing illegal mass edits in OSM data. --Fkv (talk) 09:17, 12 January 2015 (UTC)
type=* on elements does not conflict with a relation's type as long as the element is not a relation itself. If you would use type=conifer on natural=wood areas, a conflict may arise, because you may need a multipolygon relation for the area, and the relation cannot be tagged both type=multipolygon and type=conifer. But for natural=tree, type=* is ok, because you never need a multipolygon or any other relation to map a single tree.
What do you mean by "conflicts on multiple tags"? I can hardly imagine a combination of natural=tree with any other of the keys which have a type=* attribute defined, e.g. aeroway=aerodrome. I agree that we should avoid additional use cases for type=* tags, but it's ok to keep the established ones, because applications need to be aware of them anyway.
--Fkv (talk) 09:17, 12 January 2015 (UTC)

Cleanup suggestions

I think the page would benefit from some cleanup. I suggest the following measures:

  • remove mentions of the very rare tree=* key, including the "Other tags without documentation" section
  • remove one of the duplicate mentions of natural=tree_row (either from "Tree rows" section or "See also")
  • remove leaftype proposal link (the approved keys are now documented in the "Additional tags" section
  • merge "Related Projects" into "See also"

Any objections? --Tordanik 00:30, 27 June 2014 (UTC)

+1 --Rudolf (talk) 06:17, 27 June 2014 (UTC)
OK Chrabros (talk) 06:44, 27 June 2014 (UTC)
Done. --Tordanik 14:51, 28 June 2014 (UTC)

Is key:tree_lined still in use?

The tag tree_lined=* is not documented. This page mentioned tree_lined=yes. The page DE:How_to_map_a mentioned tree_lined=left/right/both . Is this key still recommended or deprecated? --Rudolf (talk) 06:34, 27 June 2014 (UTC)

Well, it is used some >1000 times. That seems enough to justify proper documentation. Of course, the documented values should not differ between translations. --Fkv (talk) 09:29, 12 January 2015 (UTC)

“Possible Rendering” section

What is this intended for? It could encourage people to use the tags wood=* (confused use of values) and type=* (confused use of values and can’t be used with woodland multipolygons) when in fact they are being steadily replaced across the database with leaf_type=* and leaf_cycle=*. --Andrew (talk) 07:37, 12 January 2015 (UTC)

It is intended for rendering. (Does that come as a surprise?) Literate people will certainly find out that tagging is not rendering, and that the "How to map" section describes how to map.
Replacing type=* on trees is evil, because leaf_type=* and leaf_cycle=* do not retain the information if it's a palm. Consider that some renderers may use a distinctive symbol for palms. You need at least a genus=* tag AND the conversion table to get along without the type=* tag.
--Fkv (talk) 08:38, 12 January 2015 (UTC)

Taxon vs Species/ Genus

taxon=* and species=*/genus=* (see discussion from 2010, above) are not both needed; the latter pair is a subset of the former. How should this be resolved? Andy Mabbett (User:Pigsonthewing); Andy's talk; Andy's edits 15:38, 27 April 2015 (UTC)

Use species=* if you know it, otherwise genus=* if you know it. taxon=* is fine if you don't even know the genus (e.g. taxon=Pinaceae), or (in addition to species=*, which is easier to process) if you know a subspecies, variety or forma (e.g. taxon=Pinus nigra ssp. nigra). It's neither necessary nor wrong to set all 3 tags redundantly, as long as they are consistent. --Fkv (talk) 21:28, 27 April 2015 (UTC)