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Public-images-osm logo.svg barrier
City wall avila.png
A barrier is a physical structure which blocks or impedes movement. Edit or translate this description.
Group: Restrictions
Used on these elements
may be used on nodesmay be used on waysmay be used on areasshould not be used on relations
Documented values: 60
  • Implied access differs by value (barrier type)
Useful combination
Status: approvedPage for proposal


A barrier is a physical structure which blocks or impedes movement. The barrier tag only covers on-the-ground barriers. It does not cover typical waterway barriers (dams, waterfalls, etc.). However, barriers that are normally found on land (such as fences) can also be found (and thus tagged) in water.

How to map barrier nodes

Place on a highway or a barrier way or at the common node between a highway or a barrier way (if it's part of both). Do not place a barrier tag on a junction between highways.


Key Value Element Comment carto-Rendering Photo

Linear barriers (e.g. along a path or road)

barrier cable_barrier way Also called guard cable. This is a road side or median barrier made of steel wire ropes mounted on weak posts. See also the more extensive wikipedia description.
barrier city_wall way area A fortification used to defend a city or settlement from potential aggressors.

From ancient to modern times, they are used to enclose settlements.

  • Right side is bottom, left side is top.
  • If both sides are same height then add "two_sided=yes".

See also historic=city_gate.

City wall avila.png
barrier ditch way A trench, ditch or ravine, usually with a stream at the bottom, that is not easily crossed, especially if not on foot.

Can be used in combination with waterway=stream or waterway=drain.

Barrier fence mapnik.png
Forest ditch.JPG
barrier fence way A structure supported by posts driven into the ground and designed to prevent movement across a boundary. It is distinguished from a wall by the lightness of its construction. Use fence_type=* to add details.
Barrier fence mapnik.png
barrier guard_rail way A guard_rail, also called a crash barrier. Right side is inner, left side is outer.
Barrier fence mapnik.png
barrier handrail way Is designed to be grasped by the hand so as to provide stability or support.
Barrier fence mapnik.png
Geländer am Kulturhaus im Kinderdorf Dittrichshütte 2.JPG
barrier hedge way area Is a line of closely spaced shrubs and bushes, planted and trained in such a way as to form a barrier or to mark the boundary of an area.
Barrier hedge.png
Daniel Fuchs.CC-BY-SA.Morus nigra.Hedge.jpg
barrier retaining_wall way Retaining walls serve to retain the lateral pressure of soil. Right side is bottom, left side is top.
Barrier fence mapnik.png
Retaining wall.png
barrier wall way area A freestanding solid structure designed to restrict or prevent movement across a boundary. Usually made from solid brick, concrete or stone and almost always built so that it is opaque to vision. Add wall=noise_barrier to tag an acoustic screens located along streets or roads
Barrier fence mapnik.png

Access control on highways (e.g. for blocking a path or road)

barrier block node A large, solid, immobile block that can be moved only with heavy machinery or great effort.

Typically big solid things made of concrete for stopping larger vehicles.

Sometimes natural boulders are used for the same purpose.

Barrier roadblock.jpg
barrier border_control node This is a control point at an international border between two countries. Passports or other forms of ID will be checked.
EU Swiss border post.jpg
barrier bump_gate node See wikipedia:Bump gate. [1]
barrier bus_trap node See wikipedia:Bus trap.
Bussluse 05-04-06 02.jpg
barrier cattle_grid node Bars in the road surface that allow wheeled vehicles but not animals to cross.

Sometimes known as a Texas Gate, even outside of Texas.

Barrier cattle grid-14.svg
Cattle grid.jpg
barrier coupure node (way) An opening in (flood)wall or levee (dyke) for a road or railway. Closable in case of flooding
Coupure Worpdijk Deventer 01.JPG
barrier cycle_barrier node Barriers to bicycle traffic, most typically a pair of staggered steel bars perpendicular to the way itself whose gaps allow pedestrians to pass. Cyclists may pass, but only at very reduced speed. May be installed ahead of a hazard, such as a road or rail crossing.
Cycle barrier-14.svg
473MS Mecklenbeck Bahn Umlaufsp.jpg
barrier debris node A road is blocked by debris with or without ground. This might be for short or long time. Often used as first step in blocking an abandoned road.
Barrier debris.jpg
barrier entrance node A gap in a linear barrier with nothing that limits passing through.

access=yes is implied.

The limitations are the same of the way that crosses it, if there is such.

barrier full-height_turnstile node A full-height turnstile, also called HEET-turnstile (high entrance/exit turnstile), like the ones to access security areas. Note the mix of hyphen and underscore.
Full-height turnstile-14.svg
barrier gate node (way) An entrance that can be opened or closed to get through the barrier. For a permanent opening in the barrier, see barrier=entrance.

Combine with access=* where appropriate.

Barrier gate.svg
barrier sliding_gate node Gates open sideways. Usually automatic

Combine with access=* where appropriate.

Sliding Gate.jpg
barrier hampshire_gate node A section of wire fence which can be removed temporarily.

Combine with access=* where appropriate.

Wire gate.jpg
barrier height_restrictor node Combine with maxheight=*.
barrier horse_stile node A horse stile allows pedestrians and horses to cross a gap through a fence, but prevents or makes it very difficult for motorcycles and live stock to cross.
Horse stile on the Doncaster Greenway - - 502599.jpg
barrier kent_carriage_gap node A Kent carriage gap is used by local authorities in the UK to prevent motorised vehicles from accessing public rights of way whilst allowing most horse drawn carriages to pass.
These are now becoming common on byways in the UK
barrier kissing_gate node A gate which allows people to cross, but not livestock.
Kissing gate-14.svg
TL0452 stile.jpg
barrier lift_gate node A lift gate (boom barrier) is a bar, or pole pivoted in such a way as to allow the boom to block vehicular access through a controlled point.

Combine with access=* where appropriate.

Lift gate.jpg
barrier motorcycle_barrier node Barriers along paths that prevent access by motorcycles.
Motorcycle barrier-14.svg
Motorcycle barrier.jpg
barrier sally_port node A sally port is used to pass through thick or city walls, and is a type of covered gate with two doors.
barrier spikes node Spikes on the ground that prevent unauthorized access. Can also be removable; e.g., after payment in a garage.
20131208 Istanbul 078 (cropped).jpg
barrier stile node A stile allows pedestrians to cross a wall or fence, but never actually "opens" the barrier

(Unlike a gate, a stile has few or no moving parts).

Barrier stile-14.svg
barrier sump_buster node A sump buster is a concrete slab or steel structure that prevents passing of two-tracked vehicles with less than a minimum track and ground clearance. (Typically stops normal cars.)
barrier swing_gate node Similar to a lift gate but rotates sidewards to open. It is usually made out of metal bars (wood or other material possible) and is intended to prevent cars from access but can usually be crossed by pedestrians and cyclists.
Swing gate.jpg
barrier toll_booth node area A road usage toll or fee is collected here. Used with toll=* and charge=*.
Toll booth.svg
Toll booth.jpg
barrier turnstile node A turnstile (also called baffle gate) is used to allow one person at a time to pass. Use this for small turnstiles like the ones in supermarkets or some subways.
Barrier drehkreuz.JPG
barrier wicket_gate node A wicket gate, or simply a wicket, is a pedestrian door or gate, particularly one built into a larger door or into a wall or fence.
Wicket gate.jpg
barrier planter node A plant box, or simply a planter, is a structure containing plants for decoration, which (in this context) has the primary purpose of preventing large vehicles from passing.
Radijs in a planter, Hillegersberg, Rotterdam (2021) 01.jpg
barrier yes node way area A barrier which nature cannot be determined; typically only used in mapping using aerial imagery. Should be replaced by a specific value.
Bing imagery showing buildings and barrier.png

Linear barriers or access control on highways (e.g. along or for blocking a path or road)

barrier bollard node way Solid (usually concrete or metal) pillar or pillars in the middle of the road to prevent passage by some traffic. See key bollard=*
Bollards To Spare, Langsett Road South, Oughtibridge - - 1239749.jpg
Bollard in residential area.jpg
barrier chain node way A chain used to prevent motorised vehicles.
Barrier fence mapnik.png
Barrier chain.jpg
barrier jersey_barrier node way A Jersey barrier consists of heavy prefabricated blocks to create a barrier. Use material=plastic or material=concrete to express the used material.
Road block.jpg
Jersey barriers.jpg
barrier tyres node way A crash barrier made from tyres stacked on top of each other, commonly found at motor racing circuits.
Tyre crash barrier.jpg
barrier kerb node way A kerb (or curb) is a short solid barrier, usually found at the edge of a road, path or sidewalk, which prevents entrance by vehicles and wheelchair users. The height of the kerb is tagged additionally as height=*, if available. Right side is bottom, left side is top.
barrier log node way Use this when the passage is closed by lumber (trunk of a tree). This kind of barrier is often useful to sit on. This barrier is a penalty to cyclists but can be crossed by lifting the bike over.
Quer auf dem Wanderweg liegender Baumstamm.jpg
barrier rope node way A flexible barrier made of fibres, twisted or braided together to improve strength. As a barrier it is often more symbolic than actually physically preventing pedestrians from accessing.
Black Red Gold Rope at German Bundestag in Berlin 2010.jpg
barrier tank_trap nodeway Static anti-tank obstacles that can take various forms, such as Czech hedgehog (barrier=tank_trap; tank_trap=czech_hedgehog).
Czech hedgehog.jpg
barrier user defined node way area All commonly used values according to Taginfo

This table is a wiki template with a default description in English. Editable here.

See also