Approval status

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The Description templates, including ValueDescription and KeyDescription, provide a description box for describing keys and tags. One of the included parameters is status= which describes the approval or community acceptance status of the key or tag, representing a feature or attribute.

Status values

  • abandoned: the approval process for this feature has been terminated before completion
  • approved: the feature has successfully competed the approval process
  • de facto or defacto: the tag is in widespread use, but no formal proposal process has taken place or it was not completed
  • deprecated: tags that will not be used anymore
  • discardable: a few features not carrying any meaning anymore like Tag:odbl=clean
  • draft: the feature has a draft proposal being written
  • in use or inuse: the feature is in use
  • import: the tag is imported from an external database
  • obsolete: a feature which is no longer found in the database, typically replaced by a new tagging method
  • proposed: the feature has been formally proposed
  • rejected: the feature was rejected during the approval process
  • unspecified or undefined or unknown or  (empty): unclear situation, a potentially abandoned draft of a proposal and some usage only
  • voting: the feature is currently being voted on as part of the approval process


Keys and tags which have been proposed should have a link to the proposal:

  • statuslink: name of the proposal page, for linking

This should always be included for tags with status approved or rejected, and should be included for all tags and keys which had a proposal, even if the status is now de facto or in use - approval statuses which do not require a previous proposal.

"Green" values:

approved and de facto tags have usually been accepted and supported by the community, and the majority of features in the database are tagged with one of these tags. Most are listed at Map Features. The wiki highlights these statuses in green.


  • approved features and attributes have completed the Proposal process and been approved by a majority or supermajority vote. Mappers and database users can expect these tags to usually be well-thought-out and developed. The original proposal should be available as a small link just to the right of the word "approved".

De facto

  • de facto or defacto is used to describe the map features and attributes which have been strongly adopted by mappers, without completing the approval process. Many of these tags were developed in the early years of OpenStreetMap, before the approval process developed, but others developed organically more recently. A tag that is marked de facto is used by many mappers and has been used very frequently for a number of years.

"Red" values:

abandoned, deprecated, discardable and rejected status values are highlighted in red. These tags are usually not found on the list of Map Features, except as historical notes, in the case of some deprecated tags. There may be another tag with the same meaning which is more widely used and supported.

  • abandoned tags were proposed, but the proposal process for tag was abandoned before completing it. Note that tag itself may independently have in use or de facto status even if the proposal was abandoned.[1].
  • discardable tags have no use. Usually they were created by an import or clean-up process, but are no longer needed. Editor applications may automatically discard these tags without requiring human intervention.
  • deprecated tags should not be used any more. Usually there is an approved replacement tag which has been discussed and agreed upon by the community, and is listed in the page deprecated features
  • rejected tags were proposed and discussed, but not approved by the community. Read the linked proposal to see the reasons for rejection. Another tag may be suggested instead

Note that especially for abandoned proposals, while the initially proposal may have been abandoned, the tag may be in active use and have a different status such as de facto or in use. Even some widely used tags began life as an abandoned proposal.

"In use" status

in use status has a wide range of meaning. These tags have not been voted on and discussed like approved features and are not as widely used as de facto tags, but may still be the most common existing tag for a feature. Only a small percentage of in use tags have been added to the list of Map Features.

  • All in use features and attributes are currently being added to new features by mappers, but have not been approved or used so widely to become de facto.
  • Some feature and attribute tags with in use status are fairly widely used, but are too new or not yet common enough to be tagged as de facto. However, they may change to de facto after another year or two of frequent use.
  • Some in use tags are very common, but somewhat debated. There may be another in use tag with a similar meaning, or the tag may be used for several different features with a similar name.
  • Some in use tags may be only used in one country or by a small number of mappers.
  • Some in use tags were rejected when proposed, but are still being used.

Proposal process values

draft, proposed, and voting are used for tags that are currently in the proposal stage. These tags may soon be approved, or the proposal may be abandoned or rejected.

  • draft: the feature has a draft proposal being written, but may not yet have been discussed widely.
  • proposed: the feature has been formally proposed and discussed on the Tagging mailing list and at the proposal Talk page, but it has not yet reached the voting stage.
  • voting: the feature is currently being voted on as part of the approval process, and will soon be either approved or rejected. Recently rejected features might be re-written and resubmitted for approval.

Other values

Some tags do not qualify for any of the statuses above: the tags below have not been approved or rejected, are not commonly being used by mappers, but do have a wiki page and have some examples in the database.

Values include unspecified, undefined, unknown or  (empty)

  • obsolete is used for a tag which is no longer found in the database. It may have been replaced by a new tagging method.
  • import is used for a tag which was added from an external database.